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Race Design Thread

Page 349 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Thanks a lot but it says I don't have permission to view it.
Weird. Here's the links to all the stages:
 
Weird. Here's the links to all the stages:
Thanks a lot!
 
I'm ready to start my third and most likely last Fraustro Tour.

In this fantasy scenario, the first two editions have been successful. Since other ambitious races like the Women's Tour (of Britain) and the Tour of Scandinavia (of Norway and Denmark) have been in difficulties in recent years, the FT organisers have seen an opportunity to swoop in and become the most prestigious stage race for women outside of the GT equivalents. In order to achieve that, they've entered in a partnership with the people from the Tour of Austria to create the 7 day Fraustro Tour of Austria.


Fraustro Tour of Austria III

Stage 1: Niederkreuzstetten - Wiener Prater, 35 km, ITT


I have already mentioned her multiple times during the other two races, but it would still be an insult not to fully dedicate a stage to Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer, who grew up in the Kreuzstetten township in Niederösterreich.

Having started out as a runner before trying her luck in triathlon and duathlon competitions, an injury in 2014 made her switch her sporting focus entirely to cycling. Among her results in 2015 were a second place in the Glockerkönig Gran Fondo and a victory in a Gran Fondo to the top of Mont Ventoux. In August that year she took part in and won the 6-day Semaine Cantalienne amateur race in the French region of Auvergne. The third stage was held in Cantal alongside the Critérium de Marcolès, which had Chris Froome, Romain Bardet and the then surprising French champion Steven Tronet among its starters.

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Kiesenhofer getting eyed up by Froome. The pair later got to ride together during at least one Israel training camp.

In 2016 while finishing her PhD in mathematics in Barcelona, she took part in the Spanish Cup, which she went on to win. In the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, which was still only an amateur even at the time, she was able to follow Mavi García on both stages, and I think she only lost out on the overall win because García won a stage.

In that year's Tour Feminin l'Ardèche, she had unfinished business after a crash had ruined her debut in 2015. On stage 3 to Mont Ventoux, she ended up in the breakaway before the start of the climb, with among others Anna Plichta (now Lafourte) who was also a part of the breakaway in Tokyo five years later. After catching the Pole who had launched an early move, Kiesenhofer didn't look back and ended up beating climbing Flávia Oliveira by almost four minutes, but the Brazilian took over the lead on Mont Lozère the next day and kept it until the end.

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After her first pro/elite season at Lotto in 2017 had made her give up on a full time career in the sport, Kiesenhofer made her return to professional races in 2019 when she became national champion in both ITT and RR and represented Austria at both the European and World championships. In 2020 she once again took part in Ardèche, this time ending up in 3rd pace.

When she took the start for the Olympic road race in Tokyo, she was still fairly unknown, especially among the very best riders, who hadn't necessarily competed much against her in the past. She however was aware of her own strength and weaknesses and knew that her best, possibly only, chance of a succesful result would be to end up in an early move and avoid the hassle in the peloton behind. Together with the aforementioned Plichta, Vera Looser of Namibia, the South African Carla Oberholzer and Israel's Omer Shapira, she did indeed manage that.

After dropping Plichta and Shapira on Kagosaka Pass, she continued solo the last 41 km towards the line. Annemiek van Vleuten had attacked behind, but as we know the Dutch tactics and teamwork were not on point that day. The gap was still 5 minutes when Kiesenhofer entered the Fuji Speedway circuit with 24 km to go, and not even Plichta and Shapira had been caught yet. An attack from Juliette Labous made the group of favourites keep its pace up for a longer period of time, but when Van Vleuten got away after a series of attacks from herself, Anna van der Breggen and Kasia Niewiadoma, Kiesenhofer still had an advantage of 2 minutes. And although the Dutch legend thought she had made it, she crossed the line 1:15 behind the new Austrian sensation.

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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuyTEO2YW_Y


The victory in Tokyo opened new doors and sponsorship opportunities for Kiesenhofer, and in 2022 she decided to join the Soltec team for that year's Ceratizit Vuelta Challenge. On stage 3 she came very close to another win from a long breakaway, but she was eventually caught with less than 2 km left. In 2023 she signed with Roland (then in a partnership with Israel). Since then she has won some more Austrian titles as well as last year's Chrono des Nations, but she has continued to struggle in bigger road races. However it sounds like she is satisfied with her preparation ahead of her Olympic title defence, so I hope we'll see the best version of her in Paris over the next couple of weeks.

Back to my race. After the Thüringen Ladies Tour had a 31 km ITT this year, it's possible we're gonna see longer time trial distances in women's races in the future. Due to the format of the Tour de Suisse, we've already seen multiple time trials longer than 30 minutes in that race. 35 km is still quite a bit, but there will be opportunities for the weaker time trialists to claw back time during the rest of the race.

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Having visited the Wurstelprater amusement park as a child, I found a finish in front of the Wiener Riesenrad to be a perfect location. The Ferris wheel was constructed in 1897 and was with its height of 64.75 m the tallest in the world between 1920 and 1985.
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