Log in:  

Register

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.

Moderators: Irondan, Eshnar, Red Rick, Valv.Piti, Tonton, Pricey_sky, King Boonen

28 Apr 2017 20:01

They have actually introduced Podium Boys at a couple of races, mainly in the Netherlands. They've met with a decidedly mixed reaction - is it amusing, admirable, or patronizing? Cases can be made on all sides. I would say there's a few wintersports where the women's events get similarly equal treatment to that you see in tennis - Alpine skiing and biathlon in particular, where the women's competition is in some cases similarly strong or even stronger. XC skiing is another case, although there is a more limited field of competition relative to the men when compared to Alpine and biathlon. Hell, even track cycling, there's much greater equivalence between the women's and men's events' perceptions than on the road. The problem is less that there's a discrepancy - as you say even in these sports where the women's events are equally prestigious, there are divides (3 sets vs. 5 in tennis, race distances in XC and biathlon - mostly set so that the duration of the race is equivalent rather than the distance) - and more that there's a discrepancy to an extent that there doesn't need to be.

But that's also part of the cognitive dissonance created by the instigation of women's versions of elite men's races. On one hand, it is great that we have comparable events and the women getting to do the same course on the same day means they get to race for much larger crowds and the TV cameras are already there and can provide better footage than would likely be available for a standalone women's event. But at the same time, the revamping of the calendar to make room for a full Ardennes week entailed shunting the Emakumeen Bira around the calendar - one of the longest running stage races that has underpinned the women's calendar for 30 years. All of the prestige inherent in Liège-Bastogne-Liège is entirely because of being conflated with the men's event - the women's race has no history at all, whereas Bira has been a high value stage race for many years. But at least with LBL it IS a proper challenge, a tough hilly classic. La Course doesn't provide anything comparable, it doesn't really have much in the way of prestige and in whatever format it presents itself it remains one of the most divisive races on the calendar, and in order to accommodate ASO's whims the UCI have run the risk of alienating or damaging the Thüringen Rundfahrt, again one of the most prestigious and long-running standalone women's events. At the moment, although the situation is improving, the women's péloton doesn't have the depth to sustain several high prestige races simultaneously while maintaining strong fields and there are a lot of mixed feelings - it's good to see the women get to ride for bigger crowds in bigger races, but at the same time it's regrettable that organizers and regions who have worked hard to scrape together races for several years on shoestring budgets are being cast aside into the trash in order to accommodate these events.

Anyway: the full Classics season is over, and so we're onto the next phase of the year: stage races are upon us.

At the moment, the European péloton is divided into two, as ever at this time of year, with several of the top WT names resting up after a busy few weeks in Classics season, but two significant stage races going on simultaneously. First up, Graciá-Orlová in the Czech Republic features five stages in four days. The field features a few top teams but a lot of the bigger names are shored up via national selections. The largest team is WM3, and they have started strongly, winning the first two stages. The first stage was won by Riejanne Markus, who took the victory solo to double up on victories (she at the time accounted for both the team's victories in the year) although the next riders on the road were her teammates Anouska Koster and Moniek Tenniglo. Cervélo's Christina Perchtold, here representing her national team of Austria, was the fourth remnant of a large escape group, with Scandolara leading home the remainder of the bunch 2 minutes behind Markus; the Dutch team doubled up their successes with a stage win in a bunch sprint from Anouska Koster, ahead of a succession of Poles - Katarzyna Wilkos and Marta Lach of the MAT Atom team, and Daria Pikulik of the national team, fresh from the omnium at the track world championships. There are a few other WT riders here - much of the BTC team is split between various national selections, for example, as well as Cervélo's Clara Kloppenburg, Sunweb's starlet Liane Lippert, established CX star Pavla Hávliková, Hitec's experienced Charlotte Becker, Aromitalia's main star, Rasa Leleivyte (the former sprinter arrives off the back of a surprising result in the GP Della Liberazione-PINK where she and Marta Bastianelli, the two strongest sprinters in the field, escaped and led home the bunch, though Marta beat Rasa to the line in the battle of riders with Clinic history in the attempts to make themselves more stage-race friendly), and a few riders from teams like Lensworld scattered in the Belgian team. And it's also the first time we've seen volatile climber Francesca Cauz race in almost a year after taking a break for personal reasons last June, so while the race isn't really suited to her, just seeing her back on the bike is a step in the right direction.

At the same time, we have the Festival Luxembourgeoise de Cyclisme Elsy Jacobs, otherwise known as the GP Elsy Jacobs, a three stage mini-Tour in Luxembourg, which was created out of the merging of a group of one day races. The race features a prologue, a flattish rouleur stage and a hilly stage for the puncheurs, so like a Critérium International format without the split day. Defending champion Kasia Niewiadoma is not in attendance, however, with the main body of her team in the Czech Republic and with the downsized WM3 team heavily reliant on her for results she is resting up after the Ardennes. In fact, the extension of the Ardennes week has meant many of the top hilly Classics riders are taking a season's break, so the field doesn't have any of last year's podium, with van der Breggen and Garfoot also skipping the event; the field is also hurt by the presence, of course, of the Tour de Yorkshire, though the overlap with hilly specialists is fairly limited given the women are racing only the flattest of the three days in England.

They do have a very strong field, however, with several top teams. Orica, Sunweb and WM3 are notable absences, but Boels are here. Like WM3 in Graciá-Orlová many of the stars are absent, but Megan Guarnier continues to ride herself back to form, while world champion Amalie Dideriksen adds some star power and the team rides for local heroine Christine Majerus, often the dedicated domestique who for one weekend becomes the team leader. Cervélo are arguably the strongest team, with Ash Moolman-Pasio and Lotta Lepistö both in attendance, though WWT young rider leader Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig rests, although strong young time triallist Lisa Klein is back. Lares bring Oliveira and Lensworld have a very strong team with Guderzo, Riabchenko, Hannes and Confalonieri. The race may be missing last year's top 3, but last year's 4th place went to Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, and she started in impressive style, taking the race lead in the prologue ahead of Klein for a Cervélo one-two. It's close between Cervélo and Sunweb as to "most improved team", it must be said! Boels have options available with four riders in the top 10 - Majerus 3rd, Dideriksen 5th, van den Bos 7th and Guarnier 9th - with British track/road crossover Katie Archibald in 4th place the first interloper from the two top teams' personal battles. Time bonuses and strength in depth will be Boels' friends, as dropping Ash will not be easy here.

Finally, the women's Tour de Yorkshire is tomorrow, a one-day race which once more picks the least inspiring stage of the men's race to ape (another gripe - good coverage of disappointing courses, poor coverage of exciting courses). There are more of the superstars here than in the other two races of the weekend, with Kirsten Wild lining up as defending champion for Cylance in a strong squad also including Dani King, Sheyla Gutiérrez and former youth phenom Rossella Ratto, and hometown heroine Lizzie Armitstead leading an undersized Boels team that counters its lacking numbers with super strength, with Olympic champ van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters and Nikki Harris-Brammeier in attendance. Wiggle-High 5 are also skipping both of the week's stage races to line the A-squad up here, fuelled by a UK-based sponsor; their main weapon is likely to be Jolien d'Hoore, but also look out for two-time former World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, since the other star names in their squad, Elisa Longo Borghini and Claudia Lichtenberg, are two of the least suited riders to the likely sprint outcome (again, curse the choice of this particular stage). Sunweb also have most of the A-team (Brand and Stultiens are out) with Ellen van Dijk, Floortje Mackaij and the season's revelation, Coryn Rivera, whose fast finish will make her one of the favourites. Canyon will focus on British champion Hannah Barnes most likely, though Cromwell and Guarischi both have good finishes if called upon. Alé still miss Hosking, so Marta Bastianelli will sprint; she's also a former World Champion of course, though that predates... well, a great many things in her career and it seems an eternity ago. Alice Barnes will lead Drops, while FDJ have their full strength lineup in town, and Hitec contribute a potential wildcard sprinter in Nina Kessler.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

29 Apr 2017 22:19

Well, a good day for Boels for sure. The Tour de Yorkshire women's race is one that Lizzie can tick off the bucket list now, having been somewhat critical of her local race in the past (the poor crit-type 2015 course got a scathing review in her inimitable style, while last year's race passed through her hometown, making it in her own words hard for her to turn down) but taking the win today in a long form solo. The mixed péloton led to a more broken up race than might have been expected from the parcours, with all the obstacles early on, although the chasing group of 16 behind her lacked cohesion, with two Boels riders (Amy Pieters and Anna van der Breggen) able to disrupt it, although it's still notable that she kept up such a gap with Ellen van Dijk and Juliette Labous chasing for Coryn Rivera and Audrey Cordon and Claudia Lichtenberg chasing on behalf of Giorgia Bronzini; the two sprinters paid their teammates' work back by rounding out the podium, outsprinting Pieters at the line.

In the GP Elsy Jacobs, more joy for Boels-Dolmans as the péloton split in two, with around a third in the front group and the remainder around 5 minutes back. Most of the key names made the selection, and from that group, local star Christine Majerus took the win in the technical sprint, and with the bonus seconds that come with it took the lead of the race over from Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, who came in 3rd so picked up a few bonuses of her own. Eugenia Bujak, who thrives on these reduced sprints, split the two in second. The technical nature of the sprint meant that after Klein in 7th a small time gap emerged - it looks from the results that Lepistö, rather than sprinting for the win, was charged with leading out to try to protect Ash's position given the unfavourable type of sprint for the Finnish speed queen.

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, Riejanne Markus continued her, and WM3's, winning streak, stretching her GC advantage by taking victory in the ITT by 8" over teammate Moniek Tenniglo. Martina Ritter and Clara Koppenburg were next in line ahead of Anouska Koster, but the WM3 presence at the top of that GC looks very ominous now. The experience of Ritter paid in the afternoon's semitappe, however, when the WM3 stranglehold on the race was broken when she spearheaded - and won from - an escape group of six also including a few other major players in the race, including Ewelina Szybiak who went well in an earlier stage, Polish track convert Daria Pikulik and experienced Slovene Polona Bagatelj. The WM3 team marshalled themselves well to protect Riejanne's GC lead, however, and Markus gained a few seconds herself by marking Asja Paladin's late move from the group. With one stage remaining the likelihood of the Dutch team's podium sweep being broken seems slim; Markus leads Koster by 41" and Tenniglo by 1'24", but Ritter in 4th needs nearly a minute just to depose Tenniglo, let alone the others.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

30 Apr 2017 23:49

In Graciá-Orlová's final stage, WM3 carefully marshaled the moves, with the main attack from 21yo German prospect Gudrun Stock being joined midway through the stage by a group of six additional riders. Eventually splintering of the group formed a front trio of Stock, Swede Ida Erngren and Pole Ewelina Szybiak, with the Swede proving the strongest in the final sprint. None of the trio were any threat to the top of the GC - indeed Erngren and Szybiak remained on the fringes of the top 20, over six minutes down - and with Gafinovitz and Scandolara carefully working the pace of the bunch, they came in just under a minute behind the leaders, thus protecting the team's podium lockdown, with an all-Dutch all-WM3 podium of Riejanne Markus, Anouska Koster and Moniek Tenniglo. 9 days ago Riejanne had no professional wins in her career; today she has four - Omloop van Borsele, two stages and the overall here. Behind the podium, Martina Ritter is 4th, then another young rider in Cervélo's Christina Perchtold, also with the Austrian national team, and then 22-year-old Russian Nastya Iakovenko, and in 8th there's another youthful Cervélo prospect on ringer duty with Clara Koppenburg there for the German team.

Over in Luxembourg, the usually decisive hilly stage around Garnich that typically provides the basis of the final result in the GP Elsy Jacobs followed the format we're starting to see more often, like at the Trofeo Binda - Boels worked very hard to nullify moves in order to take aim at the first ever home win in the event, with Christine Majerus trying to defend the leader's jersey. With Guarnier, Canuel and Pawlowska attentive to everything, eventually it was a group of around 35 that contested a sprint at the line. While Majerus was unable to repeat the previous day's heroics and could only manage third on the day, she was still able to defend the jersey and take the overall win as those who were in the position to unseat her were unable to take any further bonus seconds, as Lotto's Élise Delzenne was able to take the win, narrowly pipping Eugenia Bujak of BTC City-Ljubljana. The bonus seconds leapfrogged the Pole in to 2nd place ahead of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, one of BTC's best ever GC positions in a race of this stature, while the youthful Lisa Klein fell from the podium as a result. Cervélo managed to put three riders in the top six, with Lepistö in 6th also at the forefront of proceedings.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

01 May 2017 09:11

WARNING! Silly content:

How come it's VéloCONCEPT Women, but Lotto-Soudal Ladies? Alliteration Appeal?
Aka The Ginger One.
User avatar RedheadDane
Veteran
 
Posts: 7,317
Joined: 05 May 2010 13:47
Location: Viking Land! (Aros)

06 May 2017 09:16

The worst World Tour race of the year, the Tour of Chongming Island, is underway. Being as it is so far removed from the rest of the calendar geographically, it already has the issue of suffering in terms of field because of that, but with a lot of the stars having just come off the back of a long classics campaign, few of the biggest names have been willing to make the trip. In fact, the best placed rider on the World Tour rankings to make the trip to China is Jolien d'Hoore, who lay 13th in the standings - although a few top sprinters for whom the Ardennes triple bore little interest have made the journey, and they will be the ones expected to duke out the GC, given that Chongming Island is not an ideal place for an interesting bike race, owing to being extremely small, completely and utterly flat and with enormous wide roads that mean positioning is little challenge.

Defending champion Chloe Hosking is here but inexplicably doesn't get dorsal #1, as Alé-Cipollini are numbered in the 30s. The list of top teams missing isn't exhaustive, but somewhat reflective of the vagaries of the calendar and the lack of appeal for the race - Boels-Dolmans, Cervélo-Bigla, Sunweb, Lotto-Soudal, FDJ-Futuroscope and Canyon-SRAM are all major teams who haven't travelled. And among those top teams that have, several are missing key names - for example WM3 have left not only Niewiadoma and Vos at home but also the in-form Riejanne Markus, Orica enter just 5, leaving van Vleuten, Spratt and Elvin at home, while even BTC City-Ljubljana are leaving Bujak, on paper their best suited rider to the race, in Europe.

We do, however, have some decent competition in the sprints. Wiggle have their flat engine team built around helping Edmondson and even more so d'Hoore in the duel for the line as they seek to reclaim their position at the forefront of the sport after a comparatively quiet season opening, Elisa aside, Orica have Sarah Roy who's no slouch, Alé-Cipollini have two extremely good options in a bunch kick with Marta Bastianelli and defending champion Chloe Hosking, Cylance have echelon queen and power sprinter Kirsten Wild, along with rapidly improving Sheyla Gutiérrez, Bepink have Alison Jackson plus also are perhaps the best suited to breaking up the expected three-bunch-sprints status quo with Olga Zabelinskaya, Hitec have Nina Kessler and Emilie Moberg, Servetto have last year's revelation, stage winner and 2nd on GC Ting Ying Huang.

The first stage is already in the books; Kirsten Wild triumphed ahead of a procession of Aussies - Hosking 2nd, Roy 3rd, Edmondson 4th - after a crash restricted a number of athletes late on, including Jolien d'Hoore, although she was able to get back into the group and finish 10th. Only a small number of riders lost significant time, including three of the WM3 riders (Gafinovitz, Korevaar and Scandolara), however a few riders were forced to abandon, including the potentially dangerous Zabelinskaya and Marta Tagliaferro. By virtue of bonus seconds collected along the route, however, Hosking was the one that took the leaders' jersey.

The second stage just finished, though strict adherence to schedule on the online coverage meant they pulled coverage with 3km remaining (!) to much consternation seeing as the sprint was the only part of the stage liable to cause any intrigue! Anyhow, before her crash on stage 1 Jolien d'Hoore had been diligently also collecting bonus seconds like Hosking, and so when she took the win in the second stage the lead of the race came as an unexpected bonus with it; Wild finished 2nd to continue her strong week, while Änna Zita Maria Stricker brought BTC up onto the stage podium, also thereby denying Hosking the chance for bonus seconds at the line.

Meanwhile over in North America, in Santo Domingo the Pan-American Championships are going on at present. Yesterday saw the ITT, which the Americans unsurprisingly won - their two woman entry list of Chloe Dygert and Tayler Wiles the clear class of the field, with only three others in the field in UCI categorized teams (all with Weber-Shimano), although plenty with some higher level experience. Dygert may only be 20, but her engine is already formidable and she obliterated the field over 20k here, with Wiles the only one within a minute and the podium completed by the Cuban Marlies Mejía, just over a minute and a half back.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

07 May 2017 11:24

Chongming finished with (surprise) another sprint stage, with Jolien d'Hoore backing up yesterday's success with another one to seal her overall victory, outsprinting Kirsten Wild and Chloe Hosking - the three, along with Sarah Roy who was 4th, have clearly been the class of the sprinting field here, what with the likes of Rivera and Lepistö not in attendance. The GC is as bunched up as ever in this kind of race; after the top 3, there's a gap down to the collection on 23-26" who have picked up time bonuses, many in breakaways, followed by some 50 riders tied on 27", so placements within the bunch have settled a lot of positions - which could have some impact in the World Tour overall, although many of the placement riders here are unlikely to be settling the overall WWT unless they go ballistic in the second half of the season of course! Quite a few riders from the class of '94 going well, they are now out of the reckoning for the WWT youth jersey (probably a good thing, as otherwise Niewiadoma would be pretty untouchable) so maximum youth points go to Maria Vittoria Sperotto of BePink, ahead of the Russian Anastasiia Iakovenko (not on a pro team) and Jelena Eric, the Serb on BTC.

Final GC:

1 Jolien d'Hoore (Wiggle-High 5) BEL 9'24'09
2 Kirsten Wild (Cylance) NED +5"
3 Chloe Hosking (Alé-Cipollini) AUS +6"
4 Sarah Roy (Orica-Scott) AUS +23"
5 Christina Siggaard (Team Veloconcept Women) DEN +23"
6 Änna Zita Maria Stricker (BTC City-Ljubljana) ITA +23"
7 Emilie Moberg (Hitec Products) NOR +24"
8 Kseniya Dobrynina (Servetto-Giusta) RUS +24"
9 Maria Vittoria Sperotto (BePink-Cogeas) ITA +25"
10 Annette Edmondson (Wiggle-High 5) AUS +25"

Back in Europe, part of the Lotto Cycling Cup, the Trofee Maarten Wynants is going on at present in Belgium. The course around Houthalen-Helchteren is mostly flat, as you would expect from a route around a town neighbouring Zolder and Genk. A significant break of Eva Buurman (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Isabelle Beckers (Lotto), Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld), and what's variously being reported as Valérie Demey (Sport Vlaanderen) or Coralie Demay (FDJ-Futuroscope) joined Eddy Merckx (WM3) at the head of the race, with Lotte Kopecky (Lotto) trying to chase on. Cooperation wasn't great, so Merckx tried to go solo, but the teams keen on a sprint brought it back together again, with a few casualties of the pace along the way. Which seems strange to me as I would have thought Kopecky and Confalonieri would have been two of the strongest sprinters in the field and they were already up the road, although some other sprinters - Cucinotta, Hannes and so on - may have felt their chances of success were greater with them having expended energy in the breakaway. Anyway, once all was together again, despite the best efforts of Jessy Druyts to escape, they couldn't prevent a reduced bunch gallop, and the riders who'd formed that selection proved to be the strongest in the sprint as well as over the obstacles, since Marianne Vos took her first win of the season to continue a hot streak for WM3 after Markus' and Koster's wins in the last couple of weeks, outsprinting Confalonieri and Buurman for the win. Although she's managed a number of them in national event races, this is I think Eva's first podium in an international UCI-point-paying race.

In the Pan-American Road Race, Paola Andrea Muñoz of Chile took the victory; she usually plies her trade in Spain for Bizkaia-Durango and proved a force in the South American "pop-up" races last year ahead of the Olympics. 21-year-old Brazilian Wellyda Regisleyne Santos took second ahead of the even younger (18-year-old) Skylar Schneider for the American team. The most renowned rider in the field, Cuba's Arlenis Sierra, took 4th, which given her sprinting success in the European scene so far since her move to Astana suggests to me that the break took it. Most of the other well-known riders in the field seem to have come in in the bunch with little fanfare - Alison Tetrick, Tayler Wiles and Chloe Dygert were buried in the pack, the latter two of course having done their jobs in the TT, while Caro Rodríguez, Sierra's trade teammate, was in a quiet 20th.

Mexico were missing arguably their strongest rider, Ingrid Drexel, because she's busy racing the Redlands Cycle Classic in the States, thanks to her US trade team prioritising the event and the course in Santo Domingo not being to her liking. It's a relatively minor event, but draws a good field of the US domestic scene thanks to being located in a lull in the European calendar enabling the stronger riders for teams like United Healthcare to compete. World TT champion Amber Neben won the opening 11km TT, not in her trade colours but as a guest rider, with a clear gap ahead of Leah Thomas and Ruth Winder. Some tough climbing on day 2 tore the field apart, with Katie Hall, a strong climber who came to the sport late (although she's now 30, she was still the youngest in the winning selection by a clear 5 years, mind), taking a clear win and opening up a small gap ahead of Neben and Visit Dallas-DNA's Kathryn Donovan. Only 11 riders stayed within 5 minutes of Hall's time. Stage 3 saw a slightly uphill finish in a circuit race so gaps in the small numbers of seconds were the order of the day; the stage was won by Lauren Stephens ahead of Leah Thomas and Rushlee Buchanan, but the most significant thing of GC relevance was that Hall took another second out of Neben as she bids to slowly pull that time gap from the opening TT back. Stage 4 was won by Claire Rose, another latecomer to the sport, who soloed in 5" ahead of the bunch, which most remarkably was led home by Megan Jastrab - if CQ and CyclingArchives are to be believed, she is just 15 years old.

The other minor race I thought I'd mention is the Giro della Campania, mainly as Dalia Muccioli won, having had her career rather meander and regress since that surprise national championship win a few years ago.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

Re:

07 May 2017 14:38

RedheadDane wrote:WARNING! Silly content:

How come it's VéloCONCEPT Women, but Lotto-Soudal Ladies? Alliteration Appeal?

Why do they have to add the gender tag at all?
jmdirt
Member
 
Posts: 1,833
Joined: 06 Dec 2013 17:33

12 May 2017 18:56

So this week we have, due to the cancellation of the Philadelphia International Criterium, the only North American excursion of the Women's World Tour in 2017, the Amgen Breakaway From Heart Disease Women's Race Empowered By SRAM.

But those ridiculous sponsor names are both joyless and a complete mouthful, so like everybody else I'm just going to say Tour of California.

In the absence of the two American riders with the biggest US fan lobby, Kristin Armstrong and Mara Abbott (perhaps to do with their loyalty to the domestic scene, but they always seemed to get a much bigger patriotic fan cheer than the likes of Guarnier, Wiles, Neben and so on), the race has looked to focus a lot of its home interest around reigning champion Megan Guarnier, and recently deposed leader of the WWT, Coryn Rivera. In the absence of both Annemiek van Vleuten and Kasia Niewiadoma, whose teams have not made the trip across the Atlantic, Rivera has a good chance to recover the overall lead, but the course would seem more favourable to Guarnier with a few significant climbs. The former WWT overall champion has played down her chances, given that she's been recovering from injury and while she's getting back to form, she's not sure how close to peak she'll be, plus after an arduous classics campaign several of the elites will be on a downturn form-wise.

The absence of Armstrong may be a factor behind the lack of a TTT this year, but that also may be due to the disproportionate effect it had on the GC given the short nature of the race; however it must be said that the inclusion of the TTT was a major factor in her high GC position which was also a key part of the consideration that took her to Rio of course, in that most heated of debates, pitting the unfairness of handing a selection to somebody who contributed nothing to the qualification points at the expense of somebody who'd worked a much fuller season versus the unfairness of not allowing the defending champion the chance to protect her crown (which of course, she ultimately did). In its place, we have a criterium (of course, US crits being where Coryn Rivera cut her teeth before her transition to the much more all-round rider we know her as today).

A few major teams are missing; WM3 and Orica I already mentioned, but also Alé-Cipollini are absent, as are FDJ-Futuroscope and Cervélo-Bigla, while Wiggle line up with an alarmingly light line up including just four riders - though those do include popular powerhouse Audrey Cordon and two-time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini. As a result, the strong Boels team around Guarnier would seem like overkill, with van der Breggen and Pieters alongside strong domestique hands in Majerus and Canuel and the young prospect Jip van den Bos. The strongest opposition is likely to come from Rivera's Sunweb team, who have also brought Leah Kirchmann and Lucinda Brand, but the other half of the team consists of their youngsters, such as Liane Lippert and Juliette Labous, both of whom are potential future phenoms, and Canyon who are led by Amialiusik, but have two sprinting options with Hannah Barnes and Barbara Guarischi along with Alexis Ryan on home roads and the veteran aggressor Trixi Worrack. Also of note in the international field will be Cylance, with Jasinska, Ratto and sprint queen Kirsten Wild, and Astana who have just four riders, but one of them is Arlenis Sierra who has caught a lot of attention this season, the Cuban having really done a good job of backing up her Latin American performances as she adapts to Europe.

Within the domestic péloton, there are plenty of challengers too. Perhaps chief among them (at least if there's any justice in the racing) will be Katie Hall, the late convert to the sport who is a very strong climber in good form - winning Redlands - and has a strong UHC team around her. UHC are a WT team of course, but we have seen relatively little of them in the European races this season. Tibco have a good few strong names as well, while Visit Dallas-DNA have British latecomer Claire Rose who, though smarting at the lack of a TT, is coming off an excellent solo victory last week.

Official highlights from stage 1 are here - although some relatively strong riders - Rushlee Buchanan, Alison Tetrick, Ingrid Drexel - attempted lengthy breakaways, but Boels kept things on a leash as an indicator Megan was feeling good. And if you have Anna van der Breggen domestiquing for you, then breaks are not likely to get all that much of a leash. Apart from those three, most of the attacks came from the domestic péloton, and while some gained time, Boels maintained good control, so as to make the final climb up to Heavenly Ski Resort the decisive part of the stage. Moves from the likes of Canuel and Katie Hall set up proceedings before van der Breggen continued her super-domestique role, prising Guarnier away from the field and setting her up for the final burst that meant the Stars and Stripes jersey could be cheered onto victory in the same stage she won similarly last year. Van der Breggen continued the current trend for Boels 1-2s, but perhaps most interestingly Arlenis Sierra managed 3rd in the understrength Astana team. US domestic teams made up most of the rest of the top 10, with Winder, Doebel-Hickok and the Tibco duo of Lauren Stephens and Lex Albrecht leading home Coryn Rivera, while Katie Hall was 9th and Alena Amialiusik 10th. Interestingly, Tiffany Cromwell DNFed, which hurts Canyon's chances, while Amy Cure also climbed off, reducing Wiggle to just three riders. Also we lost Laurel Rathbun, whose ultimately unsuccessful solo battle against the time cut was one of the enduring stories of the Tour of Britain last year.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

13 May 2017 09:56

The second stage in California was the queen stage. The stage finish was identical to stage 1, but the route by which they got to that finale was significantly tougher. As a result, in-form grimpeuse Katie Hall launched the decisive move on the big cat.1 climb with Anna van der Breggen in tow, and an intriguing tactical game broke out. Boels were committing to a home win with Guarnier after her stage 1 performance, so the Olympic champion refused to collaborate with Hall, while the chase splintered into two groups which, once united, totalled 12. Tayler Wiles and Ruth Winder were there for UHC and obviously weren't going to contribute with Hall up the road, but most of the others cottoned on to Boels' lack of collaboration up front, so were happy to sit on and expect Guarnier to do her own work to pull back Hall, or sacrifice the GC to van der Breggen as long as they managed the gap.

Arriving at the final climb, van der Breggen swiftly attacked and opened up a gap, but this isn't the Anna we know from the Ardennes; her form is far from peak now and she was unable to sustain it. With UHC no longer guaranteed invites in the European calendar, by contrast, Hall is on absolute peak form, and she was able to reel the Dutchwoman back in and put time into her which, with the benefit of the bonus seconds for the stage win, puts her into the new GC lead, just 3" ahead of Anna but opening up some daylight to Guarnier and the other chasers, as with Winder and Doebel-Hickok able to put some time into Megan's spent chase on the final climb the defending champion came in at 49", pulling Sierra and Rivera to the line with her.

With only a flat stage and a crit to come, the upper echelons of the GC look set, but bonus seconds could well come into it, depending on how Boels want to play it. After all, sprinting has not been one of Anna van der Breggen's strong points, but she has improved this aspect of her game in recent years; Hall is not renowned for it either.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

Re:

13 May 2017 15:37

Libertine Seguros wrote:The second stage in California was the queen stage. The stage finish was identical to stage 1, but the route by which they got to that finale was significantly tougher. As a result, in-form grimpeuse Katie Hall launched the decisive move on the big cat.1 climb with Anna van der Breggen in tow, and an intriguing tactical game broke out. Boels were committing to a home win with Guarnier after her stage 1 performance, so the Olympic champion refused to collaborate with Hall, while the chase splintered into two groups which, once united, totalled 12. Tayler Wiles and Ruth Winder were there for UHC and obviously weren't going to contribute with Hall up the road, but most of the others cottoned on to Boels' lack of collaboration up front, so were happy to sit on and expect Guarnier to do her own work to pull back Hall, or sacrifice the GC to van der Breggen as long as they managed the gap.

Arriving at the final climb, van der Breggen swiftly attacked and opened up a gap, but this isn't the Anna we know from the Ardennes; her form is far from peak now and she was unable to sustain it. With UHC no longer guaranteed invites in the European calendar, by contrast, Hall is on absolute peak form, and she was able to reel the Dutchwoman back in and put time into her which, with the benefit of the bonus seconds for the stage win, puts her into the new GC lead, just 3" ahead of Anna but opening up some daylight to Guarnier and the other chasers, as with Winder and Doebel-Hickok able to put some time into Megan's spent chase on the final climb the defending champion came in at 49", pulling Sierra and Rivera to the line with her.

With only a flat stage and a crit to come, the upper echelons of the GC look set, but bonus seconds could well come into it, depending on how Boels want to play it. After all, sprinting has not been one of Anna van der Breggen's strong points, but she has improved this aspect of her game in recent years; Hall is not renowned for it either.


That's a very big win for Hall. Hopefully she will hold on - in theory she should, but 3 seconds isn't a lot.

If I remember correctly, she first came to prominence in the same race as Arlenis Sierra, last year's Tour de San Luis. Hall won the overall and both Sierra and Coryn Rivera won stages. Rivera was well known then already, but all three are much more established figures now than when they were dominating that race.
Zinoviev Letter
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4,947
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 13:18

13 May 2017 15:55

Another good ride from Rivera. She was in the break with Hall and vdB for awhile.
User avatar jaylew
Veteran
 
Posts: 5,269
Joined: 19 Mar 2009 05:46
Location: ATX

Re: The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

14 May 2017 03:26

I would have loved to watch Stage 2 live. They do put up a nice highlights package later, but I wish they would broadcast or stream the raw video during the stage, even if it lacked commentary.

Neat to see (or hear, for now... the seeing will come later tonight) VdB contesting sprints to claw a few seconds back in Stage 3. Should make the Stage 4 crit a bit more exciting with the GC still on the line.
Califootman
Junior Member
 
Posts: 106
Joined: 19 May 2010 17:39

14 May 2017 10:33

Meanwhile, the remainder of the Chongming Island péloton took on the Tour of Zhoushan Island, which was dominated by the Hitec Products team. Astana, BePink, BTC City-Ljubljana, Véloconcept, Servetto-Giusta and the Eastern European teams provided the main competition. Emilie Moberg won the first stage in a sprint, before Charlotte Becker used her experience to best the 22-year-old Russian prospect Anastasiya Iakovenko, coming off a 6th place in Graciá-Orlová, in a two-up sprint at the end of stage 2. Moberg completed a whitewash for the Norwegian team by also winning the sprint in the final stage, taking 3rd on the GC behind the two escapees from the second stage. To complete the team's glory, the rest of the GC came down to bonus seconds, with Simona Frapporti, another Hitec rider, having collected sufficient intermediates to hop into 4th place, just ahead of Ilaria Sanguineti of BePink.

The other UCI-categorized race we've had this weekend was the 7 Dorpenomloop Aalburg, a typically fast paced Dutch course over 120km. Although Sunweb had a bare bones lineup led by Floortje Mackaij (with several of their big guns racing in California at present of course), it was mostly left to Parkhotel Valkenburg and Lotto to try to intervene in WM3's party, and with the Dutch squad not having gone to either China or the USA, they had a lot of firepower for this type of race, eventually pulling a 1-2 from the break with Marianne Vos taking the win ahead of Moniek Tenniglo. It seems this year that this is the role Marianne has settled into, flexing her muscles in the smaller races but serving as a superdomestique in the larger and hillier ones. Demi de Jong and the evergreen Nathalie van Gogh of Parkhotel were able to take 3rd and 4th from the remainder of the escape, over 2 minutes down, but they were able to prevent WM3 from locking out the podium by dropping Riejanne Markus. The other four to evade the clutches of the péloton were very young - Mackaij, Danique Braam, Yara Kastelijn and Mareille Meijering, the latter being the eldest of the quartet at just 22 years of age.

Today there's Dwars door de Westhoek in Belgium, WM3 are again one of the top teams, though this time Markus and Vos are resting. Lensworld and Lares-Waowdeals enter which means some stronger opposition as well, and a Belgian national team that includes both cyclocross world champion Sanne Cant and sprint queen Jolien d'Hoore.

This week is the new calendar spot for the Emakumeen Bira too, which has drawn a decent enough field. A bit disappointed at no WM3 as they have Kasia and Ania training in Catalunya right now, but with a number of small Dutch races going on that are of interest to the sponsor that may well be a factor, even if Kasia's a former winner of this race, and with an MTF at San Miguel de Áralar and a stage aping the finale of the old, better route of San Sebastián this could have been a good route for her. However, there are some world class climbers here, most notably Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, who leads a Cervélo squad also including current WWT U23 leader Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, and a multiple-threat Orica lineup including Annemiek van Vleuten, Katrin Garfoot and Amanda Spratt, all of whom are capable when the road heads for the skies. Alé-Cipollini have a few options with Carlee Taylor a capable climber, Soraya Paladin having gone well in Trentino last year and Ane Santesteban motivated on home roads, while BePink have Kseniya Tuhai who was top 10 of the Giro last year and is a one-dimensional escaladora, although the support team around her is relatively inexperienced. Giusfredi have the most flaky and inconsistent climber of all, Francesca Cauz, although the San Miguel stage may suit her with no descending or flat to harm her. Parkhotel have Pauliena Rooijakkers who isn't a slouch uphill as well as Hanna Solovey, the controversial Ukrainian who was top 10 in this race last year but has been quiet thus far in 2017. For FDJ, Shara Gillow is a more than useful rider for this kind of terrain, while Eri Yonamine has sprung to attention in the last 12 months as well. I think the San Miguel de Áralar climb will be too much for Rasa Leleivyte, but the other stages are well within the Lithuanian's grasp, she has been good in punchy terrain and is a strong descender to recover if dropped. Among the local teams, latecomer Mavi García is the national champion but hasn't been too visible so far this season; Eider Merino is having a very good season and is in good form, having just dominated the Vuelta a Burgos, as well as coming second in the Emakumeen Aiztondo Sari Nagusia warmup race last week, behind Lorena Llamas - both were on the edges of the top 20 in last year's GC.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

14 May 2017 22:53

Even when she's not on her best form, Anna van der Breggen is a threat, and while Boels' initial plan of a home winner, going all in for the defending champion, may have been derailed, Anna is a very effective plan B. Located just 2" down on the GC, Boels stole a march on United Healthcare, sneaking Anna away to pick up the bonus seconds in the only intermediate of the day, creeping her up ahead of Katie Hall on the GC, knowing full well that the American climber had little chance of contesting the sprint in a hard-fought crit, and indeed that proved to be the case, meaning that the bonus seconds decided the overall of the race, and extends van der Breggen's World Tour winning streak following her trifecta in the Ardennes. I suspect, with van Vleuten, Niewiadoma and Deignan not present, this will make it an interesting battle between Anna and Coryn Rivera over the WT leader's jersey.

For her troubles, Coryn picked up second place in the final crit, gaining herself six bonus seconds and raising her to 6th on the final GC, so with the stage win and the GC position she is well placed in the WT overall again once more. However, despite the US criterium circuit being what she made her name on, she had to yield supremacy in the final stage to a much more experienced hand, two time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini taking the victory ahead of Coryn and Kirsten Wild. Astana's Arlenis Sierra managed a strong sprint position which helped her push up to the GC podium - the Cuban has been a very shrewd purchase by the Kazakh-Italian lineup and has done a lot to safeguard their World tour position. Likewise, the points scored by Katie Hall and Ruth Winder here in California will be vital to UHC's bid to reclaim those automatic invites, considering that the other US event, the Philadelphia International Criterium, has been withdrawn from the World Tour after its cancellation.

Back in Europe, Dwars door de Westhoek was settled from a group of 14 which splintered into subgroups late on. WM3's prominence in these Benelux .1 and .2 races continues as they had four in the group, which enabled them to use the numbers game to their advantage, with Valentina Scandolara the ultimate benefactor, taking the win solo, so after a slow start the team is now starting to rock and roll. Nathalie van Gogh, 42 years young and going strong, took 2nd for Parkhotel, with Maria Giulia Confalonieri of Lensworld pipping young baroudeuse Valérie Demey of Topsport to the last spot on the podium. The remainder of the group trailed in a few seconds behind the duo, led home by Lotte Kopecky, outsprinting Monique van de Ree and Jolien d'Hoore.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

14 May 2017 23:21

I can't say that I'm particularly pleased to see the fastest on the road lose because of bonus seconds, particularly when they were bonus seconds from intermediate sprints that were mostly irrelevant to the actual sprinters. It seems like Van Der Breggan wins for being about the fortieth best sprinter rather than Hall's eightiest best sprinter even though Hall beat her at the part they are actually the best in the field at. The rules are the rules and everyone knows them going in, so I don't think it's some huge injustice, but it leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth.
Zinoviev Letter
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4,947
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 13:18

15 May 2017 12:44

As I see it UHC lost the jersey as a team, through being unable to control the race as effectively as Boels. Anna is not exactly quick, and getting her into the intermediate bonification spots can’t have been that easy. Hall was the fastest on one day, but that wasn’t enough to take the race. You can argue about bonus seconds but without them stages 3 and 4 would have been irrelevant to GC, at least it kept the thing open.

Pleased and slightly surprised to see Bronzini take the final sprint from Wild and Rivera. It was an impressive turn of speed.

Wiggle had three riders, having started with four so soon after China. Boels and Sunweb, strong in Cali, skipped Chongming altogether. That’s three of the larger teams unable (or unwilling) to cover the whole WWT programme… not a brilliant look.
User avatar Jonhard
Member
 
Posts: 300
Joined: 30 Sep 2014 11:13

Re:

15 May 2017 14:55

Jonhard wrote:As I see it UHC lost the jersey as a team, through being unable to control the race as effectively as Boels. Anna is not exactly quick, and getting her into the intermediate bonification spots can’t have been that easy. Hall was the fastest on one day, but that wasn’t enough to take the race. You can argue about bonus seconds but without them stages 3 and 4 would have been irrelevant to GC, at least it kept the thing open.


There's an artificiality to keeping a GC going after it has been settled on the road through offering bonus seconds rather than more opportunities to create a separation. It's particularly artificial when the ability of either of the protagonists to compete for those bonus seconds at all depends on most of the sprinting field not bothering to contest them. If a few more fast women for whatever reason decide to contest them, Van Der Breggen has no chance because she's mid pack at best when it comes to sprinting. Whether she can compete or not is determined by factors entirely beyond her control. As it turns out, the race was determined by the equivalent of an archery contest between two blind women.

The only circumstances under which I care about which of two non-sprinting climbing specialists is the less slow sprinter is if they come to a stage finish in a small group.
Zinoviev Letter
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4,947
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 13:18

Re: Re:

15 May 2017 19:04

Zinoviev Letter wrote:
Jonhard wrote:As I see it UHC lost the jersey as a team, through being unable to control the race as effectively as Boels. Anna is not exactly quick, and getting her into the intermediate bonification spots can’t have been that easy. Hall was the fastest on one day, but that wasn’t enough to take the race. You can argue about bonus seconds but without them stages 3 and 4 would have been irrelevant to GC, at least it kept the thing open.


There's an artificiality to keeping a GC going after it has been settled on the road through offering bonus seconds rather than more opportunities to create a separation. It's particularly artificial when the ability of either of the protagonists to compete for those bonus seconds at all depends on most of the sprinting field not bothering to contest them. If a few more fast women for whatever reason decide to contest them, Van Der Breggen has no chance because she's mid pack at best when it comes to sprinting. Whether she can compete or not is determined by factors entirely beyond her control. As it turns out, the race was determined by the equivalent of an archery contest between two blind women.

The only circumstances under which I care about which of two non-sprinting climbing specialists is the less slow sprinter is if they come to a stage finish in a small group.


Fair points and it wasn't the best of races, although I think blind archery is a tad harsh.

On the other hand, all bike races are artificial to some degree and the acid test is whether the race is interesting. And I do think that if Boels had been defending one second, they would have kept UHC out of the bonuses.
User avatar Jonhard
Member
 
Posts: 300
Joined: 30 Sep 2014 11:13

Re: The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

17 May 2017 06:10

I'm with Jonhard. I thought the continuing battle for the GC made the last two stages more exciting. Katie Hall and Anna van der Breggen weren't the only ones battling for the intermediate sprints, Arlenis Sierra also used them (as well as the finish sprints) to gain enough bonus seconds to get onto the final GC podium. I thought it was intriguing to see two teams with decent sprint trains try to get riders with not-so-decent sprints to the line first.

Hey, not every race can have all the drama of the Tour of Chongming Island...

Maybe next year the organizers can include another separate invitational time trial, run it up Mt. Diablo, and only invite sprinters! Hey, I'd watch it. I think it can be interesting, and at times even insightful, to watch athletes take on something outside their wheelhouse.
Califootman
Junior Member
 
Posts: 106
Joined: 19 May 2010 17:39

17 May 2017 19:31

Back in Europe, we have the Emakumeen Bira, popular with fans and a nice short stage race with some serious climbing including a mountaintop finish at San Miguel de Áralar and a climb of the Jaizkibel on the final day. And even when it's relatively flat, it's only just about classifiable as so, since obviously this is the Basque country, and Euskadi's gonna Euskadi.

Before the Bira, however, was its traditional predecessor, the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria. This tricky hilly one-day race uses many of the same climbs as the men's Klasika Primavera Amorebieta, and is appended to the race in the same way as the Subida al Naranco used to precede the Vuelta a Asturias before being subsumed in 2011, and Amorebieta typically follows País Vasco, or Almeria preceding the Ruta del Sol. Anyways, the race was broken up almightily by the strength in depth of the Orica team, which enabled them to place three of their riders in the key move, from which the all-important move for the victory was made by one of the most established superstars on the start line, Annemiek van Vleuten, with one of her customary solos, daring the outnumbered riders behind to chase her down while utilizing her time trial and climbing skills to make the gambit ever more threatening. The chasing duo of Shara Gillow and home favourite Eider Merino, the Basque riding for Lointek who is in excellent form on the domestic scene, having just won the Vuelta a Burgos, came in just shy of 30" behind the Dutchwoman, ahead of two other Orica riders, Katrin Garfoot at around a minute back, and Amanda Spratt sprinting away from Ane Santesteban for 5th. Merino's performance is the best result by a Spaniard OR Basque at the race since Gernika native Joane Somarriba won the 2004 edition. Keep an eye out for Nikola Nosková too - the Czech teenager joined the BePink team just last week and was 7th here showing impressive climbing talent. The Czech Republic has had a distinct lack of female talents in recent years on the road, with speed skater Martina Sábliková taking the national title year upon year, but Nosková's development could be interesting in years to come.

1 Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-AIS) NED 3'03'22
2 Shara Gillow (FDJ-Futuroscope) FRA +24"
3 Eider Merino Cortazar (Lointek) ESP +26"
4 Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) AUS +59"
5 Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) AUS +1'20"
6 Ane Santesteban González (Alé-Cipollini) ESP +1'23"
7 Nikola Nosková (BePink-Cogeas) CZE +1'31"
8 Pauliena Rooijakkers (Parkhotel Valkenburg) NED +1'31"
9 Margarita Victoria García Cañellas (Bizkaia-Durango) ESP +1'31"
10 Hayley Simmonds (Team WNT) GBR +1'31"

In the first stage of the Bira proper, a super short and sharp stage around Iurreta, the race's spiritual home but a small town which has to all intents and purposes been swallowed by its larger neighbour Durango (similar to Etxano having been subsumed by Amorebieta) over just 50km but with a short murito 12km from the line, we saw a bit of distinct action as the short climb saw some attempts to get away and the riders you might feasibly expect to be the strongest climbers moved away from the group. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio led over the climb by a wheel from Annemiek van Vleuten, with the intriguing Nosková hoovering up the remaining point. While hard work especially from the Alé team brought the group back together, it had been shorn of approximately half its weight, with only 48 riders contesting the final sprint when the group returned to Iurreta. In the end, as arguably the strongest sprinter in the whole field anyway, and certainly the strongest durable enough to deal with climbs of this kind, it was former World Champion Marta Bastianelli who took the victory, pipping WNT's Hayley Simmonds and Gracie Elvin in the battle for the line. Christina Siggaard just missed out on the stage podium, but was usurped in the GC by her fellow Dane Cécilie Uttrup Ludwig, thanks to the Cervélo rider hoovering up some bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint, as did her teammate Moolman-Pasio. Rasa Leleivyte and Annemiek van Vleuten were also up in the top 10 on the stage so they are looking ominous in terms of form as well, while lower down but still well within the pack, the likes of Garfoot, Yonamine, Paladin, Tuslaite, Gillow, Ludwig, Merino, García and Spratt are all lurking. Out of those who lost time, most notably two real pure climbers - Francesca Cauz, although she has had precious little racing since this time last year after her break for personal reasons; she missed the split and came in with the second péloton at +1'45", and most surprisingly Kseniya Tuhai - last year she was top 10 of the Giro, the Route de France and the Tour de l'Ardêche based almost entirely on climbing form since that's more or less the sum total of her skillset (she was 5th in the MTF at Trentino, then fell way down the GC after an abysmal short semitappe on day 2), but has barely finished a race this year suffering from illnesses, and was the last finisher of all today, almost 10 minutes back, which suggests either she crashed or there's something wrong with her health.
User avatar Libertine Seguros
Veteran
 
Posts: 18,538
Joined: 20 Feb 2010 11:54
Location: Land of Saíz

PreviousNext

Return to Professional road racing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BeagRigh, Dr. Watson, Escarabajo, Eshnar, Eyeballs Out, Google Adsense [Bot], infeXio, Jaunty Monty, liamito, portugal11, Rollthedice, Samamba, Strawberry_Jams, Valv.Piti and 63 guests

Back to top