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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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27 Feb 2017 17:18

Wiggle's Hageland tactic was very similar to Flanders 15, except in that case ELB stayed away. She looks very strong right now and I can only hope she is not consistently outnumbered in breakaways as she was both days of the opening weekend.

Not a bad weekend for me personally... Oranje podium sweep on Saturday and black and orange win on Sunday.

Who doesn't love the spring?!
User avatar Jonhard
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28 Feb 2017 11:38

Okay, now I'm embarrased...

I've frequently seen Orica-Scott make references to their rider Alex Manly, and assuming it was a guy. This made me a tad confused when "he" didn't appear on any of the team's roster lists despite riding for the team. Of course - as you probably all know, because you're smarter than I am - Alex is short for Alexandra... :o

This probably stems - in part - from the fact that Orica-Scott has just one FB page, on which they post stuff about both the men's and the women's team. As opposed to a team like Lotto-Soudal, which has both the "main page" and a Lotto-Soudal ladies page, which is sometimes linked by the main page. Personally, I like the first way of doing things better, since it indicates that the two teams (men's and women's) are in fact organisationally one team, just with two "batches" of riders who - obviously - aren't ever gonna compete in the same races. Though Lotto-Soudal did have a shared team presentation...
I also quite like the fact that more-and-more (men's) WT teams have a women's team as well.
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User avatar RedheadDane
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28 Feb 2017 17:32

I think it does make sense for teams (and races) to have a men’s and women’s variety… Sunweb and Parkhotel Valkenburg are two others that spring to mind.

But it’s not so good if suddenly we have BMC, Sky and Movistar women’s teams taking all the publicity and squeezing out the existing supporters of women’s cycling. A similar situation to the new races squeezing out Bira and Thuringen maybe.

Anyway, it’s the Samyn des Dames tomorrow, more Belgian classic stuff. Chantal Blaak won last year, and in 2015. You feel Boels will be up for this, maybe feeling the pressure a little after having such a good start in 2016.

Latest startlist: http://www.cyclingfever.com/editie.html?detp=view&_ap=startlijst&editie_idd=MjgyMzI=

The forecast for Quaregnon is wet and fairly windy and apparently some of the cobbled sections are looking rough as hell. :D


Edit: it seems the Route de France has been cancelled, which is a bad business. My french isn't brilliant but it's UCI/WWT related and, I think, to do with failure to obtain WWT status, for reasons the organisers consider essentially bollocks.

It's on their facebook page.
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01 Mar 2017 00:42

This is why I'm against foisting women's teams on all mens' teams. Because some simply don't care, and I'd rather bespoke, separate women's teams that run independently than satellites of men's teams where the women are an afterthought, only included because they have to be and where their talents are allowed to stagnate, and then leave the combined team efforts to the teams like Sunweb, TopSport, Parkhotel, Lotto and Orica for whom the women do have a key role to play in the team's brand. I don't know what the best approach is regards integration - this will depend on the individual teams' positions I guess.

Put simply, I'm happy to see more Cervélo Test Teams around when it comes to the women's péloton, but we don't need more Garmins. Sky have already shown that the only value women's cycling has to them is as something to take credit for, and something to steal funds from when you need an extra pair of hands without increasing the trade team budget.

Shoe-horning a bunch of brand new races to make the World Tour work is one thing, but if it's really meant to be a sustainable thing, then running the risk of killing off races that have proven their sustainability on much lower budgets is not the way to go about it. I think the Women's World Tour is a great idea that has been handled really badly. Peter van den Veen posted a long thing about how he actually thinks the women's Amstel Gold is a very dangerous thing, as he's concerned that when Boels decide to pull the sponsorship plug, a race which has a profitable men's equivalent will not have the same commitment to retaining the women's race, so these brand new high profile races may not prove so sustainable as the races that they replace. Furthermore, an unintended consequence of finding a one-day race for every weekend in the calendar is that the non-WT stage races struggle for viability because the women's péloton is not yet deep enough to run several strong races concurrently. So if those new races kill off established stage races like the Emakumeen Bira, the Route de France and the Thüringen Rundfahrt, how does one learn the stage racing ropes?

The other thing that van den Veen railed against, which is absolutely fair, is the using of the Women's World Tour not to validate the most prestigious women's races (otherwise many of the races mentioned before would be integral parts of it, not being squeezed out) but to artificially inflate the status of a series of races, especially those produced by ASO, which are theoretically women's versions of major men's races, but could also be seen as patronizing facsimiles thereof, where the women ride ahead of the men's bunch to warm up the crowd rather than as an attraction in their own right. At least they could turn the cameras on (listen to Dan Wright and Sarah Connolly's podcast on La Flèche Wallonne and the endless frustration at the lack of coverage compared to the much slicker and better job done by Flanders Classics). But you know, at least at Amstel, Flèche, Liège, de Ronde, Gent-Wevelgem and so on the women get a proper course. The women's courses at London, Paris and Madrid are just a flat crit that they can televise and then wonder why there's no action. Maybe because you served up a pan-flat crit which isn't conducive to attacking riding!

I always thought that rather than slapping themselves on the back about what great exposure they were giving women's cycling by allowing the women to roll up and down the Champs for an hour or two, ASO should have thrown their money the direction of the Route de France. Instead they decided that they wanted to kill off the Thüringen Rundfahrt so that they could give the women great exposure by letting them ride up part of (not even all of) an anæmic Tour de France mountain stage (not even stage race), and if they can kill off TWO major stage races with one stone, that's perfect. Luckily the Thüringen Rundfahrt organizers are made of sterner stuff than that, but still.

The other thing of course is that the women have precious few decent length stage races and precious few mountainous stage races. The Route de France is not the most mountainous race of all but it's plenty enough - we've had Planche des Belles Filles MTFs in recent years for example - while another race that has been kicked and spat on by the UCI is the Emakumeen Bira, a long-running Basque stage race which, well, you know, it's in the Basque country. It just feels like they're tilting a calendar that was already biased in favour of flatter and rouleur/puncheur one-day races, and getting rid of the stage races, which actually cuts the amount of race days. But hey, the TV cameras can watch them roll up and down the Champs Elysées, so the UCI is doing its job.

Like I say, I'm all in favour of the Women's World Tour. But I think it should reflect not an anorexic facsimile of the men's World Tour but actually reflect the prestige of the races on the women's international racing calendar. And that means long-standing free-standing women's races not just should, but must be integral to it.
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01 Mar 2017 11:26

^This!
I was actually about to suggest that sponsoring a Women's team should be a requirement for all WT teams, then I realised, no. Sponsoring a women's team (just like sponsoring a men's team) should be something sponsors do because they want to, not because they have to.
Besides, as you sorta touch upon, what would happen if a team like Sky were to use their superior budget to sign some of the biggest stars, but then basically ignore the women while focusing on the men?

Loved your comment about a Basque stage race being in the Basque region. :p Yeah, think most people would've been able to figure that.


Right, Samyn des Dames! Where can I watch it? Is it even watchable?
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01 Mar 2017 23:47

Unfortunately no broadcast though I'll keep eyes peeled for whether some short reportage makes its way online.

It's a shame not to see because it sounds like an interesting climax, decided by a five-woman breakaway leading to one of those rare things indeed - a Spanish victory in a Northern Classic. In fairness, Sheyla Gutiérrez (for it was she who won) was probably the fastest sprinter of the five who duked out the finish, although Amy Pieters is similarly quick and is much more proven than the Basque from a small group and in conditions such as these, so it's quite a scalp for Sheyla to have taken. Third place on the podium went to Tiffany Cromwell, the Australian now more or less qualifies as a veteran and though she doesn't get too many wins she's always there or thereabouts and is no slouch in a dash to the line herself. Romy Kasper and Jessy Druyts were the other two in the group to contest the win but, lacking in a sprint weapon, lost a few seconds sitting up at the line. It's the biggest win of Gutiérrez's career, the 23-year-old having previously only tasted victory in the GP Plumelec as a pro in 2015, along with a few domestic events in Spain during her Lointek days.

The next group back was a quartet, with Ellen van Dijk, Hannah Barnes, Małgorzata Jasińska and Janneke Ensing, but although 6th place was on the line it's not a WWT event and so I'm not sure if they contested the minor placing, on the basis that I would anticipate Barnes outsprints Ellen 99 times out of 100 and she didn't... the large group came in around two and a half minutes down, led by Christina Siggaard of Veloconcept, although ahead of Kirsten Wild, Jip van den Bos and Chloe Hosking, so presumably even if it was a bit half hearted they sprinted to the line!

1 Sheyla Gutiérrez Ruíz (Cylance Pro Cycling) ESP 2'40'21
2 Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) NED +st
3 Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) AUS +2"
4 Romy Kasper (Alé-Cipollini) GER +7"
5 Jessy Druyts (Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx) BEL +12"
6 Eleonora van Dijk (Team Sunweb) NED +1'53"
7 Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) GBR +st
8 Małgorzata Jasińska (Cylance Pro Cycling) POL +st
9 Janneke Ensing (Alé-Cipollini) NED +1'56"
10 Christina Siggaard (Team Veloconcept Women) DEN +2'18"

Worth noting the successful start to the season for Cylance after a very slow build last year - perhaps too much reliance on Olds before her injury? Similarly, the new, more cosmopolitan Alé have been very visible, although a) Marta won Hageland last year so they kicked off last year strong too, and b) how could they not be visible in those jerseys? WM3 by contrast have had a very quiet start, though obviously Vos not racing leaves them rather headless in these flatter and rolling races that don't give Kasia the chance to showcase the best of her skills, and with Koster's off-season rather hampered by her Doha crash it seems a fairly benign opening to the season is to be expected from them.
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02 Mar 2017 07:15

Yeah, I'm sad-face more races aren't being broadcast live.
In fact, this is something I think should be a requirement; if a men's and women's edition of the same race is being held on the same day - as with Samyn yesterday and Strade Bianche Saturday - then it should be a required that the organisers also provide live-footage of the women's race, as in; more than just the last 500 metres. Should be quite easy; just send a camera crew along with the women as well, eventually stick to enough motos to be able to cover the front group and the main pack, and every-now-and-then send (one of) the helicopters out the find the woman's race. Then simply cut back-and-forth between the men's and the women's race as appropriate.
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04 Mar 2017 09:06

Well, Strade Bianche is on now, and apparently the last hour is live... on Eurosport player. For people like me who have Eurosport via Sky tv, that still means paying £6 for a day pass. It feels churlish to complain, but that's quite expensive for an hour of streaming. :Neutral:

If you subscribe to the player already, you're in luck.
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04 Mar 2017 09:44

Should be a strong race, last year's was an excellent race which blew up some way from home and left us with an interesting climax with Emma J slightly off her best and with Elisa behind trying to run intereference, and Niewiadoma trying unsuccessfully to get rid of Armitstead on the run-in because she'd lose a sprint to her 100 times out of 100.

Now going by her married name of Deignan, of course, Lizzie is back to defend, but her form is more unknown as last year the race came off the back of her demonstration in Omloop. Boels are down one rider because of van der Breggen having to pull out at the eleventh hour, but they do have the World Champion (although given the parcours it may be domestique duty for her to day), Canuel and Majerus to work, and Megan Guarnier, the WWT overall winner of last year, as a second bullet in their gun. Apart from Anna's missing out though, the race is a veritable stream of big guns. Canyon have Pauline Ferrand-Prévot making her debut with the team, again hard to tell her form given her troubled 2016, but Elena Cecchini will lead and she's a versatile all-rounder with a good racing brain. Worrack will be aggressive, Cromwell is showing form after Le Samyn and Amialiusik is suited to this race. For Orica, it's likely to be all about Annemiek, although Katrin Garfoot by virtue of a strong pre-season in Australia is at the top in respect of the CQ rankings this year. Sunweb are nominally led by Lucinda Brand, though Leah Kirchmann's breakout season began with her great showing here in Strade Bianche, and Floortje's prospects continue to be strong as she comes back from injury. Wiggle are full strength with Elisa and Claudia both here to give them options which are pretty much solely about attacking as it would be a pretty surprising group that would enable either of them to win a sprint, while if the racing is tighter, Giorgia Bronzini is riding and is more versatile than most of her fellow sprinters.

WM3 also have the benefit of the return to the team of Eddy Merckx. Merckx has been absent for a bit however, so like Lizzie and Pauline her form is unknown, but the team also have Kasia who was 2nd here last year. The team doesn't have the same depth as last year, but I would expect Lauren Kitchen at least to be on hand until late in the day, while Anna Plichta's rapport with Kasia is well-known and she has a tendency to produce early moves and attacks to help work the bunch down for her friend. Cervélo have the benefit of providing Ash with some secondary options as they've recruited well, Ludwig is the most likely as she's a real prospect for punchy races. Cylance have started the season well with Jasinska being visible - she was a key attacker from the chase in last year's race and likes the parcours here - and Sheyla Gutiérrez's victory in Le Samyn. Also in case the weather makes the race a bit more tentative, there's a lot of teams bringing frontline sprinters who you wouldn't expect to be all that prominent if the race is aggressive, such as Chloe Hosking for the new-look Alé-Cipollini team and Coryn Rivera for Sunweb.

Lensworld only have four riders, but they include Tatiana Guderzo and Maria Giulia Confalonieri so they may be more competitive than expected, too.
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04 Mar 2017 12:13

ELB!

Bang.
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04 Mar 2017 12:22

Gillow sure didn't wait around when she caught that front group. :D
Great win by ELB.
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04 Mar 2017 12:44

Sounds like she finished on Audrey Cordon's bike, although not seen that confirmed.

Great finish to the race.
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04 Mar 2017 21:51

Wow, Beggin 12th. At 19 with this route and weather.
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05 Mar 2017 01:26

Spectacular finale, helped mainly by the almost ultimate steal from Lucinda Brand, considering we didn't even know she was chasing across with Gillow until she went off the front, and Gillow's move was beautifully executed as well. That final kilometre is a brutal one though, it really feels like it lasts forever, and with those slippy stones in that rain, I'm not surprised riders were pretty circumspect. Last year, of course, it was a head to head with Niewiadoma trying to drop Armitstead there and Lizzie coming back, this year with the group slightly larger, there was less need for the early move. Lizzie was not placed so well, and of course this is the start of her season where she already had a couple of days in her legs last year, so she wasn't quite on the destroyer form she had this time last year. She also wasn't helped by the speed with which they caught Brand as it looks like she was caught out positioning wise by having to move around the ailing Sunweb rider (seriously, I have a major problem with that "#creatingmemories" down the sides of the jersey, the worst kind of corporate drivel) giving a slight amount of space to the front two. Now, Elisa and Kasia are two riders whose sprints are among the least potent of the big guns, so it wasn't until they'd both safely negotiated the final corner that I thought the top two were safe, but we get a popular home winner, last year's winner on the podium and a second runners-up spot for Kasia in consecutive years.

Beggin is a good spot, the Astana team have a few good young Italians. I think Fidanza is the pick of them at present, but Beggin is two years younger and that's a very good result in a tough race here. Also Ludwig going top 10 again in a tough hilly race - takes a fair bit of pressure off Ash as she recovers from injury too.
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07 Mar 2017 20:46

Cyclingnews has a startlist up for the next WWT round, the Ronde van Drenthe in NL this Saturday.

It overlaps the Semana Ciclista Valenciana, a four day 2.2. race that starts with a short TTT tomorrow. ELB was listed to start for Wiggle but has been replaced by Emilia Fahlin... the team is otherwise the one that rode Strade, quite strong and probably the core hilly race squad: Lichtenberg, Hagiwara, Bronzini, Cordon, Roberts. Bigla and Ale Cippolini are at the race too, with contenders, but no Boels, Sunweb, WM3, Canyon, Orica etc. A stretch to put out two sixes for many teams, and the WWT takes priority.

Wiggle will use every available rider on Saturday. Quite impressive that newish teams like Drops and Lares-Waow can field two decent looking teams.

My theory is that ELB has switched to Drenthe to give the WWT leader's jersey an outing by joining up with the flatland squad: D'hoore, Garners L and G, Edmondson, Leth.
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Re:

08 Mar 2017 03:15

Just got to see the last part of Strade Biache now. That was outstanding stuff.
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10 Mar 2017 18:51

I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected
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Re:

10 Mar 2017 21:07

GuyIncognito wrote:I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected


Good show, and impressive from Duyck yesterday too. I'm not seeing much info on the race beyond the results.

People looking at this thread may already know, but tomorrow's WWT race in Drenthe is live from 2pm online at RTVDrenthe. :surprised: I guess that's local time in NL.

Most of the big guns are racing and there are cobbled bits and the VAMberg for lols.
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Re:

10 Mar 2017 23:14

GuyIncognito wrote:I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected


I remember noticing her for the first time at the Tour Feminino de San Luis last year when she was riding for the Cuban national team. She came second on the MTF and then the next day won a big bunch sprint. I looked her up then and found that she was winning metric tonnes of smaller races. She looked like a freak talent but I assumed we wouldn't get to see her on a trade team.

It is interesting to see that the change to a world level doesn't seem to have stopped her from winning. I wonder if it means that the Latin American women's scene is closer in level to the European pros than I would have assumed or if she is just a complete outlier.
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Re: Re:

11 Mar 2017 08:29

Jonhard wrote:
GuyIncognito wrote:I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected


Good show, and impressive from Duyck yesterday too. I'm not seeing much info on the race beyond the results.

People looking at this thread may already know, but tomorrow's WWT race in Drenthe is live from 2pm online at RTVDrenthe. :surprised: I guess that's local time in NL.

Most of the big guns are racing and there are cobbled bits and the VAMberg for lols.


Link?
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