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The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

A place to discuss all things related to current professional road races. Here, you can also touch on the latest news relating to professional road racing. A doping discussion free forum.

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Re:

20 Mar 2017 07:53

Ricco' wrote:Just saw the finale of the race and that was some powerful sprint from Rivera, all out from far! I don't know why Sierra celebrated in the end, the difference to Rivera was enough to make sure that the north-american had won, even from the perspective of two riders battling for the win. Maybe she was just happy for a 2nd place on a WWT race.


You know how Astana riders are in italian classics
Image

Seriously though, she was just over the moon at 2nd. It's understandable, she spent a while winning in american races which a few have done over the years without getting chances in europe. She gets one and breaks through almost immediately. Anyone would be over the moon
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Re:

20 Mar 2017 08:16

Libertine Seguros wrote:To tell the truth as last year wore on, I was starting to think that Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was overtaking Dideriksen in the "young Danish prospect" stakes, having had an excellent second half of the season and come to real prominence in hilly races. Although Amalie has clearly wrestled that crown back by virtue of, oh, I don't know, winning some colorful jersey or another, Cecilie's still got plenty of chops, and Vilmann was signed along with her because Cervélo loved the way the two worked with tactical and personal chemistry...


Just fair that Cecilie got the WWT Best Young Rider back from Amalie. After all; Amalie's got a pretty nice jersey already, no need to be greedy.
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20 Mar 2017 17:41

Orica Scott animate these races but struggle to win without a class sprinter - The cycle continues.
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Re:

21 Mar 2017 13:22

yaco wrote:Orica Scott animate these races but struggle to win without a class sprinter - The cycle continues.


Well maybe... people said Boels didn't have a sprinter last year and it worked for them well enough. If you've got the strength to dominate the front end of a race, maybe you don't need a sprinter so much?

I don't see them signing a big name, and I'm not sure Chloe Hosking would ever sign for them. I seem to recall she has not always been a massive fan of the AIS system that rejected her early doors. I may be wrong but isn't there a fairly close link with Orica?

With fine weather and light winds in Waregem tomorrow, it'll be interesting to see how the likes of Boels, Sunweb and Orica race it. They don't have their quickest riders but strong teams with some sharp finishers so will presumably want to drop D'Hoore, Hosking, Lepisto et al.
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Re: Re:

21 Mar 2017 16:58

Jonhard wrote:
yaco wrote:Orica Scott animate these races but struggle to win without a class sprinter - The cycle continues.


Well maybe... people said Boels didn't have a sprinter last year and it worked for them well enough. If you've got the strength to dominate the front end of a race, maybe you don't need a sprinter so much?

I don't see them signing a big name, and I'm not sure Chloe Hosking would ever sign for them. I seem to recall she has not always been a massive fan of the AIS system that rejected her early doors. I may be wrong but isn't there a fairly close link with Orica?

With fine weather and light winds in Waregem tomorrow, it'll be interesting to see how the likes of Boels, Sunweb and Orica race it. They don't have their quickest riders but strong teams with some sharp finishers so will presumably want to drop D'Hoore, Hosking, Lepisto et al.


My post comes from the context that Orica allegedly have a bigger budget for the women's team next year, and they have 2 gaps on their roster, which are a pure sprinter and pure climber - Hence, why I suggested Didrieksen - Orica has always had one quality overseas rider on their roster, and at times a second developing/worker type rider - Yes, Orica's recruitment is strongly influenced by the AIS - Yes,Hosking has issues with the AIS, and its unlikely she will ever join Orica - Reckon between LS and myself we could write an essay about the failings of the AIS, especially its role in influencing recruitment of riders for Orica and Olympic selection.
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Re: Re:

21 Mar 2017 19:52

yaco wrote:
Jonhard wrote:
yaco wrote:Orica Scott animate these races but struggle to win without a class sprinter - The cycle continues.


Well maybe... people said Boels didn't have a sprinter last year and it worked for them well enough. If you've got the strength to dominate the front end of a race, maybe you don't need a sprinter so much?

I don't see them signing a big name, and I'm not sure Chloe Hosking would ever sign for them. I seem to recall she has not always been a massive fan of the AIS system that rejected her early doors. I may be wrong but isn't there a fairly close link with Orica?

With fine weather and light winds in Waregem tomorrow, it'll be interesting to see how the likes of Boels, Sunweb and Orica race it. They don't have their quickest riders but strong teams with some sharp finishers so will presumably want to drop D'Hoore, Hosking, Lepisto et al.


My post comes from the context that Orica allegedly have a bigger budget for the women's team next year, and they have 2 gaps on their roster, which are a pure sprinter and pure climber - Hence, why I suggested Didrieksen - Orica has always had one quality overseas rider on their roster, and at times a second developing/worker type rider - Yes, Orica's recruitment is strongly influenced by the AIS - Yes,Hosking has issues with the AIS, and its unlikely she will ever join Orica - Reckon between LS and myself we could write an essay about the failings of the AIS, especially its role in influencing recruitment of riders for Orica and Olympic selection.


British Cycling are making everyone else look a bit better at the moment :) but have often made some baffling calls too imo.

Annette Edmondson is pretty fast, not far off Chloe I reckon.
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Re: Re:

22 Mar 2017 16:11

Jonhard wrote:
yaco wrote:
Jonhard wrote:
yaco wrote:Orica Scott animate these races but struggle to win without a class sprinter - The cycle continues.


Well maybe... people said Boels didn't have a sprinter last year and it worked for them well enough. If you've got the strength to dominate the front end of a race, maybe you don't need a sprinter so much?

I don't see them signing a big name, and I'm not sure Chloe Hosking would ever sign for them. I seem to recall she has not always been a massive fan of the AIS system that rejected her early doors. I may be wrong but isn't there a fairly close link with Orica?

With fine weather and light winds in Waregem tomorrow, it'll be interesting to see how the likes of Boels, Sunweb and Orica race it. They don't have their quickest riders but strong teams with some sharp finishers so will presumably want to drop D'Hoore, Hosking, Lepisto et al.


My post comes from the context that Orica allegedly have a bigger budget for the women's team next year, and they have 2 gaps on their roster, which are a pure sprinter and pure climber - Hence, why I suggested Didrieksen - Orica has always had one quality overseas rider on their roster, and at times a second developing/worker type rider - Yes, Orica's recruitment is strongly influenced by the AIS - Yes,Hosking has issues with the AIS, and its unlikely she will ever join Orica - Reckon between LS and myself we could write an essay about the failings of the AIS, especially its role in influencing recruitment of riders for Orica and Olympic selection.


British Cycling are making everyone else look a bit better at the moment :) but have often made some baffling calls too imo.

Annette Edmondson is pretty fast, not far off Chloe I reckon.


I was nearly made to eat my words with Elvin the closest of seconds to Lepisto - Though it was a reduced sprint.
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22 Mar 2017 22:05

Short video here.

Interesting in this kind of race to see the composition of the break, Janneke Ensing is having a very strong start to the season since her move to Alé, and a trio of Ellen van Dijk, Annemiek van Vleuten and Kasia Niewiadoma alongside makes a very imposing quartet to have allowed up the road. The race is a bit too flat for Kasia to get away from TT engines as strong as those, though, especially as the others all had somebody in the chase and she didn't. Plus of course Canyon had no fewer than 4, although it was pretty bizarre that once the quartet was caught and made into the group of 15-20 that eventually contested the win that the one to try their luck solo was Hannah Barnes, probably the strongest finisher of the four. Luckily their blushes were saved thanks to Brennauer's putting them on the podium regardless, but still. Lepistö did have a helper in the group, although Lisa Klein is the least experienced of the riders to make it, the 20yo German doing a very good job however. Also quite a statement from Lotta to still be there in such a reduced bunch when most of her sprinting adversaries - d'Hoore, Hosking, even more durable ones like Bastianelli - were over 2 minutes back. Wiggle had all their eggs in the Jolien basket, at least Alé had a couple of riders up front. And this makes 4 top 5s in 5 racing days for Lucinda Brand, so she's starting very well - though if Coryn continues on her move towards being more durable for hilly races they may find themselves also in the hunt for a pure sprinter, even if Brand, Rivera and Mackaij all have a pretty good turn of pace.
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28 Mar 2017 19:05

Shows how well Gent-Wevelgem went that there's not one single, solitary comment about it.

As it was, the great start to the season for the strengthened Cervélo-Bigla team continued apace as a group of just short of 50 duked out the final victory after a disappointingly tame race, with the wind not blowing and the group intact at the base of the first ascent of the Kemmelberg. It seems a more complex array of obstacles might be needed in such events as this was easily the least interesting edition of the women's Gent-Wevelgem to date, despite Orica's attempts to shake it up with Annemiek van Vleuten and Katrin Garfoot.

It's quite positive to see Boels' domination far from the feared brutality considering the strength in depth that they have; with both Guarnier and Lizzie having very little race mileage in their legs at this point; at this time last year, if you'd said that Boels would strengthen with Pieters and van der Breggen AND have Dideriksen step up in the rainbow jersey, then only have won 1/4 WT races and their best finisher 8th here, I'd have looked at you funny. That's not an anti-Boels thing, but more relief as there was a lot of fear they would just run roughshod over the calendar with Wiggle losing their most reliable points-scorer and Rabo (now WM3) downsizing. Having Dideriksen miss the group was fatal for their chances as she was no doubt the logical sprinting option.

And also for the race, it might have seemed more promising for the spectacle to see on the 2nd ascent of the Kemmelberg with Garfoot, Moolman-Pasio and Niewiadoma up at the front of the race, but with Ash coming off a long-term injury and Lepistö climbing comfortably over the obstacles of the Heuvelland, Cervélo having 5 of their 6 riders in the group meant the chances of a group getting away were drastically reduced as they needed enough riders to feel confident of taking it home; with Wiggle also riding to protect Elisa Longo Borghini's WT overall lead and having Jolien d'Hoore in the bunch as well as Sunweb putting the formidable engine of Ellen van Dijk to bring a sprint together for Coryn Rivera, attacks seemed doomed - and indeed the sprinters took it, in that order - Lepistö, d'Hoore, Rivera. Too many of those who wouldn't have fancied the sprint were flying solo or heavily outnumbered in the group - for example Tatiana Guderzo and Olga Zabelinskaya - one interesting feature is Lisa Brennauer sprinting rather than Hannah Barnes for Canyon, however, makes me wonder if the versatile German has designs on the overall at some point, being very good in a reduced sprint and an incredibly powerful engine.
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Re:

28 Mar 2017 19:38

Libertine Seguros wrote:Shows how well Gent-Wevelgem went that there's not one single, solitary comment about it.


Wondering the exact same thing, decided to post. Finish writing, click submit. "There's been a reply, still want to submit?"

With very little wind, it was likely to not be a very busy race.
Don't let that detain you, I enjoy your comments as well as those of everyone else in here

Anyway, the gist of what I was about to post is that Lepisto's a bit like Guarnier. Clockwork step by step improvement every year
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28 Mar 2017 20:38

Yes, although Guarnier has dialled up her climbing ability from a better starting point than Lotta :)

Definitely though, Lotta can get over more obstacles than she used to and given her finishing burst that makes her quite the threat. Especially with the new, revamped, stronger Cervélo team having sufficient engines to control races (last year with only 9 riders - even 8 for a few months - they were often entering races short-changed or hoping to surf others' trains) as well as at least two viable options for punchier, hillier races with Ash and Cecilie, they're looking very much like the most improved team of the winter.

Rivera also has improved the number and severity of obstacles that she can get over, although she always said this was her intention since moving to Europe - she's looking to more follow Leah Kirchmann's progression but with a faster finish it seems.
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29 Mar 2017 10:14

Well, another reason - actually, two other reasons - we haven't heard much from G-W could be:

1: No live footage.
2: The ladies didn't turn into a bunch of bitches during/right after the race.

---

Err... got a bit of a question: So Amalie Dideriksen is ahead of Cecilie Uttrup in the Senior ranking on the WWT, yet Cecilie is ahead of Amalie in the Best Young Rider ranking? How's that possible? I thought the BYR ranking was simply the overall ranking, just for riders under a certain age (23? 25?), bit like the BYR ranking in a stage race.
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Re:

29 Mar 2017 10:35

RedheadDane wrote:Well, another reason - actually, two other reasons - we haven't heard much from G-W could be:

1: No live footage.


It's getting frustrating that we only get highlights, race after race.

RedheadDane wrote:2: The ladies didn't turn into a bunch of bitches during/right after the race.


Funny you should mention that. Just yesterday I heard an interview with a former Wiggle DS where part of it was about the differences between coaching a male/female team and he mentioned the greatest difficulty as knowing which riders you can rely to on to work for others because they're all friendly face to face even when they hate each other so you often you've got a "locker room problem" and a bad team mood that the DS doesn't even realize is there. While with the men it'll be very obvious when there's riders who don't get along.

(And calling "those two" bitches is giving them too much credit IMO)


RedheadDane wrote:Err... got a bit of a question: So Amalie Dideriksen is ahead of Cecilie Uttrup in the Senior ranking on the WWT, yet Cecilie is ahead of Amalie in the Best Young Rider ranking? How's that possible? I thought the BYR ranking was simply the overall ranking, just for riders under a certain age (23? 25?), bit like the BYR ranking in a stage race.


As far as I understand it, if X finishes 3rd and Y finishes 7th they get:

X: 3rd place points for the world ranking, 1st place points for the youth ranking
Y: 7th place points for the world ranking, 2nd place points for the youth ranking

Diederiksen has a ton of points for a an outright win while Uttrup has a ton of youth points for 1st and 2nd youth places
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Re:

29 Mar 2017 20:36

Libertine Seguros wrote:Shows how well Gent-Wevelgem went that there's not one single, solitary comment about it.


I was too sad after Jolien muffed her sprint ;)

I do like the variety on the podiums this year so far. Looking at the Flanders start list, there is quality all over the place.

Annette Edmondson won Pajot Hills today, winning the (uphill) sprint from a group of 60 odd. It wasn't a top, top sprinting field, and was a drag made for the power sprinters, but she had two lengths on Guarischi in second which is a good show.
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30 Mar 2017 15:14

I think its funny how politically correct some reporters/journalists are trying to be when they are including the women's race in a preview of a men's race, even though you easily can tell they are giving a rats *** about it and just want to get it over with so they can talk about the men's racing.

Anyone else noticed that?
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Re:

30 Mar 2017 16:38

Valv.Piti wrote:I think its funny how politically correct some reporters/journalists are trying to be when they are including the women's race in a preview of a men's race, even though you easily can tell they are giving a rats *** about it and just want to get it over with so they can talk about the men's racing.

Anyone else noticed that?


I've found previews to be so low in quality (men or women, any of the sports I follow) that I gave up reading any.
Even from authors whose post-race pieces or general articles I very much enjoy, I don't find any previews insightful or interesting.

Again, that's just me.
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02 Apr 2017 09:06

Longest and toughest RVV yet coming up for the women, 15 obstacles and over 150km. Same run-in as the men, but the length is more reflective of the exceptional status of the race as a major event now. As a result, there's an all-star lineup with the only real top names for the race not in attendance being those who have little choice because of illness or injury (Guarnier, Vos).

Boels as ever are mighty strong given their stacked lineup. They're led by Lizzie, which is only fair given that she's kind of the defending champion. She's had a quiet start to the year, but was 3rd in Strade Bianche so she's hardly lost it - it's just she started last year alternating periods of illness with brutal dominance and stamped her authority all over the early season. The #2 option is likely to be Chantal Blaak, who was 3rd in this race last year, riding the wave of the riders trying to chase Lizzie and Emma J down to take the sprint, which Boels managed several times last year to use to get multiple riders on the podium. Anna van der Breggen missed the top 10 last year but had four in a row before that, so she's a dangerous weapon also. Amalie Dideriksen is in the rainbow jersey, but it's her first Ronde so expectations aren't as high as they sometimes are, while Amy Pieters has settled into a role of break maker and monitor using her strong sprint from that position, and Christine Majerus is one of the toughest helpers out there. Six riders who can all make a key selection makes a formidable team.

Wiggle's lineup is interesting mainly because they seem to be geared up for this one to stay relatively fast and well together. Elisa Longo Borghini is logical option A, bearing in mind her excellent start to the season and the intention of defending the WWT leader's jersey, and indeed with her punchy climbing style and strong TT skills she has won the race before, in 2015 when she escaped solo. That year, Wiggle did a 1-2, with Jolien d'Hoore making the remaining selection and outsprinting them after being fresher from not chasing her teammate (Jolien would have won the sprint of that group most times anyway, mind). That will likely be the modus operandi here as well, as Jolien transitions back to a full-time road calendar. Giorgia Bronzini is a two time former World Champion renowned for her sprinting, but ahead of Rio reinvented herself as a versatile hard-worker for all terrains; her sprint is less than it used to be, although she's always been at her best in longer races with a few obstacles to drop the specialist sprinters, and this race is long and has a few obstacles (probably too many for her to actually win, however I may be wrong). Nettie Edmondson is their third fast woman, having won Pajot Hills. A group of that size is unlikely in de Ronde but she'll give a lot of power on the flats, as will Elisa's twin, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, a popular and monstrously tough helper. Finally, Claudia Lichtenberg, who won't be anywhere in any sprint, but that's part of why she's so great. She was top 10 here last year, foraging alone with Lotto, she's good on the climbs but probably needs some more sustained ones to be able to get away from the opposition and rely on the likes of Elisa breaking up the chase.

The Vos-less WM3 will be a much less visible factor as a result of the leader's absence, and their main hope will seemingly be that the race is really broken up to enable them to use attacking weapons like Anouska Koster and Kasia Niewiadoma. Koster has been racking up top 20s in the Benelux races so far this season and has decent form; Kasia is one of the world's best, but though she's improving in that respect the fact nobody needs to fear her sprint is a problem because with the team not having the same strength in numbers in the chase, the chances of one of her characteristic attacks being pulled back are higher. Nevertheless, the more hills the better for Katie Unknown, and we know from experience that she won't die wondering, so certainly if she has the legs she'll try something. Lauren Kitchen is a useful weapon but failed to finish either Binda or Gent-Wevelgem so unsure about her form.

Sunweb are strong. Very strong. The nominal leader is Ellen van Dijk, which makes sense as she's a former winner of this race (back in 2014) and has podiumed it outside of that too. She was 6th last year while domestiquing for Armitstead and she's one of the most powerful TT engines in the péloton, and has started the season well. Lucinda Brand is their other primary weapon, and she's started the season even better, winning Omloop solo (with van Dijk running interference behind), finishing just off the podium in Strade Bianche and making 3rd in Drenthe. She is tireless, keeps coming back for more punishment, will attack tactically but still have a good sprint at the end, her biggest problem is perhaps being too all-round to specialise in any one area, but for the women more so than the men the Ronde has that mixture of features that means that may be a benefit in this particular event. Then you have the team's North American contingent - Leah Kirchmann, who came over to a permanent base in Europe last season and reinvented herself as a strong all-rounder to sprint from the group in all terrains, before re-reinventing herself as a top level puncheur by the end of the season given her showings in races like Plouay. She's had a quiet start to the year, but it's ok because Coryn Rivera has followed her lead, going from queen of the US crits to an all-terrain reduced-sprint star in the World Tour péloton, winning the Trofeo Binda which was somewhat unexpected. She's a relatively light and small woman for a sprinter which may count against her on the cobbles, but she was in the top 20 last year and if grimpeuses like Lichtenberg and Niewiadoma can make the top 10 here there's no reason Coryn can't - and if she can make the top 10, she'll have a chance to win because not many as quick as her will make it. Rozanne Slik is a good domestique and Floortje Mackaij has been poised to break out for a while, just can't stop getting hurt, which may move her down the hierarchy a bit now the team has strengthened so well.

Canyon's leader, at least nominally, is Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, but she's starting the season quietly as she eases into her new surroundings and tries to recover a bit from an absolute annus horribilis in 2016. However, this was one of her best races of the year last season, making the penultimate selection, looking strong but not strong enough in the chasedown of Lizzie and Emma at the end and scoring a top 10 finish. PFP's perhaps the ultimate victim of her own success, as if she picked a form of cycling and stuck to it she'd be unstoppable, but continued success at all has led her to take on way too much of a workload and the success and expectation hasn't been kind on her. Luckily Canyon have two other real shots at victory, with Lisa Brennauer - a former ITT World Champion with a fast sprint finish and the power to make most selections on very good form with 5th at Dwars and 3rd at Gent-Wevelgem in the last couple of weeks - and Elena Cecchini, the smartest tactical brain in the women's péloton. She's not the strongest sprinter, she's not the most powerful rouleur, she's not the most punchy climber... but she does always have the knack of making the right break, or knowing which is the right move to follow. She hasn't been out of the top 10 once in the World Tour this season. If you want to know the chance of a late move making it to the line, you can judge it based on whether Cecchini has made the group. Elsewhere Canyon have British sprint option Hannah Barnes, Tiffany Cromwell as a further option, the Australian has a long history of strong placements and can get over most terrain, and Trixi Worrack will be on the attack at some point, because Trixi is as Trixi does (and so it is written and so it shall come to pass).

Orica are the only other team with a former winner of the race, in Annemiek van Vleuten who took the win all the way back in 2011. She was in the group behind the lead duo last year too, and everybody knows Annemiek is tough as nails that have been reinforced to make them tougher. She's been all over the front page of the results sheet this year, so we can expect her to be very visible. Orica's main other weapon on paper would likely be Amanda Spratt after her great last couple of seasons, but she's been quiet in Europe this year, with most of her results coming in the Aussie mini-season. Gracie Elvin is perhaps more likely on form, having just missed the top 10 last week and having been 2nd in Dwars door Vlaanderen a couple of weeks ago.

Cervélo are the revelations of the season, having strengthened massively in the off-season to improve their position in the bunch. Lotta Lepistö is becoming increasingly persistent and a sprinter you can't get rid of is a real weapon in a race like this, because they'll always have the chance of a free ride if somebody else on the team wants to attack, nobody will want to tow somebody of Lotta's class to the line, and she just won Dwars AND Gent-Wevelgem and now ranks #1 for the year on CQ! AMP is getting closer to full strength after her injury over the winter, but this isn't a race she's especially fond of, her best result being 10th in 2015. The terrain may suit the punchy Dane Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig though - the 21-year-old podiumed Binda and won the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana and while she's probably a couple of years away from challenging for the win here, she will want to defend the U23 jersey.

Among other teams, Alé perhaps have the most obvious threat, with Marta another of those sprinters who can get over many obstacles that the group will want to be rid of, and Janneke Ensing having been very visible through the season to date. Hosking is their other sprint option, she has better top end speed I think but less likely to get over the obstacles than Marta. Cylance have plenty of potential, but after her win in Le Samyn Sheyla Gutiérrez has been a bit more tightly marked and gone back to her placement sprinting modus operandi (though that has yielded top 10s in her last two races), while Rossella Ratto is always a question mark because of how good she was a few years ago. It really feels like the Estado de México fallout has destroyed her, though whether that's a psychological thing or if there's something physical that just hasn't come out in to the open I don't know - she still shows glimpses of the rider she was, sporadically, so she's always a threat if she's on a good day. For Véloconcept, the team is fairly small since BMS' best riders were all pilfered last year, but Christina Siggaard is promising and was 5th in Pajot Hills so she's no scrub. Olga Z will probably be on the move for BePink, while Sanguineti is a former winner of Brétagne so bumpy rolling-to-punchy terrain is her thing. Hitec aren't as strong as they have been in the past, but the likes of Vita Heine are aggressive racers and Nina Kessler, though unlikely to make an elite selection, is a very useful sprinter from the reduced group so if a small group gets away they could get a very nice result out of her.

For Lares, Thalita de Jong is starting to find her feet in the new surroundings, with a top 10 in Dwars, but the rest of the team is a very strange odds-and-sods collection, and surprised at no van de Ree or Rivat in their selection. Flavia Oliveira is a complete question mark, never any idea what to expect from her. The Lensworld team looks nice and strong but maybe not for a race like this - Guderzo generally needs a more hilly race and although she's been rediscovering herself of late still isn't quite the same woman that won the Worlds in Mendrisio, while Riabchenko similarly is more of a climber and Kaat Hannes, the current Belgian champion, is quick but probably not durable enough for this race in this field. And FDJ have some strong and tough legs for the race with Roxane Knetemann and Shara Gillow.

Other names spread among the teams you'd expect to play minor roles in the race would be Bujak (winner of Plouay last year of course) for BTC, Kopecky in a sprint or Élise Delzenne on the attack for Lotto, the in-form Sierra for Astana, Alice Barnes for Drops who's getting stronger all the time, Rasa Leleivyte for Aromitalia, and any one of Team Druyts (aka Sport Vlaanderen).
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02 Apr 2017 11:41

Amy Pieters, Elisa Longo Borghini, Annemiek van Vleuten, Ash Moolman-Pasio and Ellen van Dijk the first five on the Kapelmuur...

On the way back towards the last set of climbs, Rozanne Slik solo, with around a minute's lead over Élise Delzenne who's in a chasse-patate with the bunch at 1'40"...

A couple of tentative moves from secondary contenders and the Pottenberg has halved Slik's advantage, but all of those moves have been pulled back. We now have a much more concerted effort however, with Niewiadoma attacking on the Kanarienberg, a major move which is being followed by Longo Borghini, Cecchini, Moolman-Pasio, Deignan and Gutiérrez. Van Dijk, Kopecky, Blaak, (Hannah) Barnes and Anna VDB chasing on. The pace seems to be going out of the attack now the group is getting larger again. Pieters stretches it out, 3 climbs to go and the group numbers around 25.

Brand attacks, pulls Dideriksen with her... which kills the move, Brand doesn't want the company.

Van der Breggen and Longo Borghini on the Kruisberg! This is where Elisa went when she won the race, van den Veen points out on Twitter. Race breaking up massively now. Van Vleuten and Niewiadoma join, and that's now a monstrous quartet with four of the big player teams represented. Sunweb have missed the move though, so will be leant on in the chase!

van Dijk leads a counter with Deignan, Moolman-Pasio, Brennauer and Blaak but the presence of the two Boels riders makes her desist and they're caught again, the lead quartet gaining a bit of a gap now, up to 15"! PFP joins the pacing with van Dijk. Lizzie disrupting the chase I think.

Heading towards the Kwaremont, Anna's stopped collaborating, pointing out Boels have 3 in the group behind, and the gap is tumbling as Sunweb charge on the chase! They're caught on the Kwaremont, but ELB goes again with Kasia on her wheel! Who's chasing? It's ... the same quartet going away as van Vleuten and van der Breggen make the junction! These seem to be the strongest climbers of the day, but the time is running out to make that pay with only the Paterberg to come, and also we don't know if any of the free-riding Wiggle or Boels riders in the group behind have been sandbagging and have an attack in them if needed! ELB leading van der Breggen, slight gap opening before Kasia and Annemiek. van Dijk trying to bridge with Kopecky, Moolman-Pasio and Deignan.

Right, situation coming to the Paterberg:
Group 1 - Longo Borghini, van der Breggen, van Vleuten, Niewiadoma
Group 2 - van Dijk, Deignan, Moolman-Pasio, Kopecky, Elvin, Blaak, Ensing
Group 3 - Ferrand-Prévot, Barnes, Cecchini
Group 4 - Rivera, Pieters

The climbing difference shows, the quartet move further up... now splits in two as per the top of the Kwaremont - Longo Borghini and van der Breggen in front, Niewiadoma and van Vleuten behind. 2 against 2. Looks like this will settle it. You would expect the front two to stay away (Annemiek is a great short time trialist but less good in long form, Niewiadoma is no slouch against the clock, but ELB is very strong and Anna vdB is one of the very best) unless they play games with one another.

Paterberg and the quartet reunites! great effort from Kasia and Annemiek... but Annemiek pays for it and is spat off the back. ELB stringing out the pace but can't get rid of the Dutchwoman or the Pole! Three together over the summit, 45" over the bunch - but no reason for any of them not to work now. ELB has the WWT lead to think about, Anna is the best sprinter in the group (yes, you read that right) and Kasia doesn't have any teammates behind.

Annemiek chases back on on the descent! That woman is a machine! We all love Annemiek! Chase is Deignan, Kopecky, van Dijk, Rivera, Barnes, Pieters, Elvin, Blaak, Ensing. The Canyon girls are dropped. No Wiggle riders there, so both ELB and Niewiadoma are on their own.

10k and the gap is holding, but Annemiek is slightly easing up following her effort to chase back on. Van der Breggen also now stops giving her all, with the strong Boels presence in the group behind. Annemiek contributing again, she only has one in the group behind.

Canyon have got back into the chase with Cecchini and PFP and are working to pull things back, but also for Sunweb Rivera is doing a lot of work for the chance to sprint this out. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig for Cervélo has made the junction too, after not being mentioned all day.

6km remaining, 24", this is going to come right down to the wire!!! The straight run-in could hurt things for the attackers in group 1, because they'll be in visual range...

3,5km, 15"... going to come back together I think. Van der Breggen trying to decide what to do having shirked her turns for the most part in the last few kilometres... Peter van den Veen has spotted Maria Giulia Confalonieri in the chase - like Ludwig not mentioned all day but she has a fast finish... Leleivyte too has managed to hitch a ride on the Canyon chase back into group 2... 3km, 12"... it's the Olympics all over again!

1500m and they're going to be caught. FML. Yep, there's the catch, right at the red kite. Boels now set up a leadout with their not having needed to contribute with Anna up front.

CORYN RIVERA WINS DE RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN!!!

Wow. Now, you have to question a bit whether the depth of péloton increasing means that the courses need to reflect that, given that Binda, Gent-Wevelgem and now Flanders have resulted in reduced group field sprints... but that's a question for future years. And they already did toughen the course up here, I thought it would be too much for Coryn once that quartet were away but I was proven resoundingly wrong. The straight run-in did play a big role in dooming the front group, but those were big names that got pulled back, and Coryn sure as hell earnt herself the right to sprint for that win, and Sunweb knew it was their best chance once they missed the move. If they'd had Brand or van Dijk make that move, it wouldn't even have been close to the catch, but with such a strong team with such a vested interest in the chase, it kept things exciting right to the last.

1 Coryn Rivera (Sunweb)
2 Gracie Elvin (Orica)
3 Chantal Blaak (Boels)
4 Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica)
5 Lotte Kopecky (Lotto)
6 Elena Cecchini (Canyon)
7 Rasa Leleivyte (Aromitalia)
8 Anna van der Breggen (Boels)

And how about Annemiek managing 4th in the sprint after all her heroics in the attack group?
User avatar Libertine Seguros
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02 Apr 2017 15:32

d'Hoore was saying pre-race that just from 2015 to 2017 the increase in quality of the peloton is massive.
User avatar GuyIncognito
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Re: The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

02 Apr 2017 16:48

I was glad to see some 15' highlights on Sporza. Is it the first time they show highlights of the women's race or did they do it before? It should have been a great race to watch live but of course so was the men's race. Elisa seemed the best on the climbs and in the end I'm glad that young Lotte Kopecky was in contention in the sprint. :)
Echoes
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