Guillem Muñoz and Ariadna Rodenas prevail in the Titan Desert queen stage
Garmin Titan Desert 2021 |
Stage 2 |
> Ait Yahya
October 11 th 2021 - 16:26
- “Titan Desert is a race that every cyclist has to do once in a lifetime. I’ve pursued this moment for a long time and here I am. This race is really hard but it’s worth it. I love it and sure I will be back”, Ariadna Rodenas said.
- Guillem Muñoz sprints to victory on a face-to-face finish against race leader Konny Looser.
Ait Yahya, October 11, 2021. It was the queen stage, the one that all cyclists had marked in red on the calendar. The longest stage and the stage with the highest elevation gain. And this stage has not disappointed anyone. A true Titan Desert-type stage: 127 kilometers and 2,600 meters of elevation gain. Riders endurance put to the test. From first to last.
Spaniard Oscar Carrasco was the first to shake the field and broke away from the pack to ride alone for 90 kilometers. A group of 25 riders that hosted the favourites to the race victory started pursuit, but the first big climb of the day made his natural selection and the group became broken and only the top riders in this 2021 Titan Desert remained together. The second climb of the day and the following downhill segment towards the finish line were to decide the stage result.
The top-4 finishers of stage 1, Konny Looser, Pablo Guerrero, Haimar Zubeldia and Guillem Muñoz caught up with Carrasco. Muñoz increased his pace in the downhill segment of the stage and rode to victory. Race leader Konny Looser was the only rider able to keep up with Muñoz’s pace, but Muñoz had enough with a mild sprint to clinch the stage win.
“Our team is very strong. Too bad that Roberto Bou, our anchor, got injured yesterday, because the whole team is a close-knit. Roberto has decided to take the start today and we look forward to his recovery. We do need him. Titan Desert is a day-by-day race. You feel happy and you enjoy today, but everything can happen tomorrow”, said a very tired but euphoric Guillem Muñoz after clinching his third Titan Desert stage win.
Konny Looser keeps the blue jersey as the Titan Desert race leader. No weaknesses are visible on the Swiss rider, either the track goes up or down. Konny Looser’s chances to clinch the race victory will depend on his navigation skills, as the Swiss ace is not used to this at all. “It’s been a very hard day, you must be very careful when riding downhill, but I love this terrain. The longer the stage, the better for me”, said Looser, “and the final part of the stage was very good. Together with Muñoz we broke away and made it to the finish line. We did not sprint for the win, because we both got our own reward. Guillem took the stage win and I’ve managed to widen the gap with many rivals in the overall standings. We both won today.”
The emotion of the winner in the women’s class
Rookie Ariadna Rodenas from Spain has achieved what many riders take years to clinch: a stage win in Titan Desert. Mixed in tears and laughter, she let herself go: “I was very tired. I had been pushing for more than twenty kilometers and, with a single kilometer to go, I thought: ‘The moment is now’, so I went for it and, fortunately, the plan worked out perfectly. This is absolutely amazing. This race is extremely hard, but I’ve done it, I’m a Titan Desert stage winner!”, she shouted. “Every single cyclist should race Titan Desert once in a lifetime, that’s the reason why I am here. And I’m loving it. These two stages have been like two ultramarathons, but I’m enjoying the experience so much that I am sure that I will come back again”, said Rodenas.
Ariadna rode the first part of the stage together with the race leader in the women’s class, Ramona Gabriel, and the girls in the top Mixed Duo teams, Misha Sekulova and Núria Picas. Then Gabriel managed to break away, but Rodenas got back next to her on the descent. The same happened on the second climb of the day, but Gabriel had a puncture and the gap vanished with just 15 kilometers to go. From that moment on, Rodenas kept increasing the pace until reaching the finish line. Gabriel just followed her closely in order to keep her leading gap in the overall. Both riders look as the true contenders for victory in the women’s class.
The marathon stage begins
The first leg of the marathon stage is scheduled tomorrow. Riders will have to carry with them everything they may deem necessary to make it to the finish line of stage 3 –apparel, tools and bike parts included-, sleep there and make it to the finish line of stage 4 on the following day.
It will be a much shorter stage, but it will take the titans into the desert. It will be an unprecedented stage in Titan Desert history, as the race will reach its most southern point so far. In fact, the Algerian border will be very close when titans ride in the vicinity of Tafraoute. A large dry lake will then be crossed southeastbound in order to reach the marathon stage bivouac, the place where titans will spend the most special night of the race.