Carmen Small before Emakumeen Bira: We will do the stages as if they were one-day races

Saturday the northern Spanish stage race Emakumeen XXXI. Bira, that is a part of the women’s World Tour-calendar, will start.

And even though Team VIRTU Cycling is heading for the race with a strong line up, sports director Carmen Small does not expect a top position in the general classification, as she predicts that the climbs in the northern part of Spain will be too difficult.

“We do not have the strongest climbing team for this race, which means that our expectations for the general classification are not to big. The injury of Katrine Aalerud was a big hit for the team in regards to our climbing abilities,” says Carmen Small.

The six riders from Team VIRTU Cycling that are doing the race are Doris Schweizer, Katarzyna Pawlowska, Louise Norman Hansen, Trine Schmidt, Mieke Kröger, and Claudia Koster.

Already on the first stage that moves 108,5 kilometers around the city of Legazpi, there will be climbing to do for the riders, and Small is excited to see, how the stage will develop.

“I don’t know how the first stage will develop. It is always hard to predict, especially when there is no time trial or prologue to start the race and to get the general classification settled. The first 50 kilometers of todays stage is straight forward, but after that there are a few difficult climbs, and it will be interesting to see, how the teams will handle the race from that point,” says Carmen Small, who will seek to take advantage of the opportunities that each stage offers.

“When we don’t have ambitions to win the general classification, we will try to exploit our possibilities on each stage and try to do each stage as if, they were a one-day race,” says Small.

It is the 31st edition of the race, but not until recently has the race become a part of the women’s World Tour.

“It is a good stage race, and I am sure that we will get something out of it. I have done it my self once, and the race has a long history. Usually there are some very well planned stages, and this year there is a long time trial on the second stage, and there are not many of this kind on our calendar, so the TT will be a good test for our riders”, says Carmen Small.

Emakumeen-Bira ends on Tuesday.