The Women's Road Racing Thread 2016

Last year we had a thread for the women's half of the sport and it seemed to work better in encouraging discussion than having sporadic comments spread about the rest of the forum as previously. So here's a new thread for the new season.

Coryn Rivera (UHc) won the first stage of the Tour Femenino de San Luis (2.1) today. It was a good win on a tough little finishing ramp, with Martha Tagliaferro (Ale Cipollini) in second and Kelly Markus (Lares - Waow Deals) in third. United Healthcare seem to dominate the sprints at this race every year.
 
Martha Tagliaferro (Ale Cipollini) got her revenge in the second stage, winning the sprint and taking the leaders jersey.

The third stage ended recently. I didn't see it, but it looks like a break must have succeeded because six riders arrived as individuals or pairs spread over 25 seconds, with a peloton of thirty another 10 seconds back. Iraida Garcia (Cuban national team) won and took pink. Garcia won a stage last year too, so it isn't a fluke.
 
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UHC have ruled San Luis for the last couple of years, but they’re weaker this year (in sprints) having lost Hannah Barnes and Alexis Ryan to Canyon.

There’s a bit more buzz around women’s cycling this year with the women’s world tour. If nothing else it ought to mean better TV coverage of the new WT races.

Which are these, according to the UCI’s website:

1 - Strade Bianche, ITA - 05/03/16
2 - Women's WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe, NED - 12/03/16
3 - Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio, ITA - 20/03/2016
4 - Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields, BEL - 27/03/16
5 - Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres, BEL - 03/04/16
6 - La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, BEL - 20/04/15
7 - Tour of Chongming Island, CHN - from 06/05/16 to 08/05/16
8 - Amgen Tour of California, USA - from 19/05/16 to 22/05/16
9 - Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, USA - 05/06/16
10 - Aviva Womens Tour, GBR - from 15/06/16 to 19/06/16
11 - Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, ITA - from 01/07/16 to 10/07/16
12 - La Course by Le Tour de France, FRA - 24/07/16
13 - Prudential Ride London, GBR - 30/07/15
14 - Crescent Vargarda UCI Women's WorldTour, SWE - 19/08/16
15 - Crescent Vargarda UCI Women's WorldTour TTT, SWE - 21/08/16
16 - GP de Plouay-Bretagne, FRA - 27/08/16
17 - LA MADRID CHALLENGE By La Vuelta, ESP - 11/09/16

The city centre crits (La Course, Ride London and La Madrid) are fairly unexciting races and have, I guess, been included because they are already on TV and well publicised. Chongming has never been popular either, but apart from that I’m looking forward to it.
 
While I understand why, I dislike that pointless ASO self-back-slapping crits get WT status and historic races like Thüringen, Emakumeen Bira and the Route de France don't. Especially the RideLondon Crit, which actually IS a crit, not a flat short circuit race like the ASO two. To aid the development of women's cycling there should be more opportunity to encourage specialization, to enable a wider list of potential winners and increase péloton depth. Maybe if they're successful they'll look to expand the WT, but I'm in two minds about some of it. There's a lot of flat and flat-to-hilly racing going on there, only Binda and Flèche as real, genuinely hilly one-day races, and if California doesn't go with a tough parcours only the Giro will have any real mountains in the whole WT, which would be a bit of a shame.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
While I understand why, I dislike that pointless ASO self-back-slapping crits get WT status and historic races like Thüringen, Emakumeen Bira and the Route de France don't. Especially the RideLondon Crit, which actually IS a crit, not a flat short circuit race like the ASO two. To aid the development of women's cycling there should be more opportunity to encourage specialization, to enable a wider list of potential winners and increase péloton depth. Maybe if they're successful they'll look to expand the WT, but I'm in two minds about some of it. There's a lot of flat and flat-to-hilly racing going on there, only Binda and Flèche as real, genuinely hilly one-day races, and if California doesn't go with a tough parcours only the Giro will have any real mountains in the whole WT, which would be a bit of a shame.
If heard that the Women's Giro dell' Emilia will be WT in 2017.
 
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So as you probably know, Rabobank is going to end its sponsorship of both the women's and the development team. According to the manager of the team, it would cost approximately 1,5 million to take over the women's team. Curious to see if they will find a sponsor anytime soon. It seems a bargain for the best team in the world, especially compared to the men. None of the riders on Rabobank would have a hard time finding a new team, I imagine, if they were to fold though.
 
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Wiggle are #1 in the provisional rankings, boosted from 2015 final positions because they’ve signed Emma Johansson and Amy Pieters. The absences of Vos and PFP last year have obviously hurt Rabo’s ranking too, but nonetheless I think there’s a top 3 or 4 (with Boels and maybe Canyon) rather than Rabo being clearly ahead. 2016 might change that.

It will be interesting to see whether Canyon are as strong as Velocio were. On paper I’d say yes, but it’s not a big squad.

Whatever, I certainly hope to see Rabo continue in some form. It may be that they need to adapt a little to new funding and promotion models… if you look at eg Wiggle, they work quite hard at publicity through social media, promoting partner brands, putting together regular little videos covering races and training camps and guff like that. I haven’t noticed so much of that from Rabo-Liv, which may or may not be related to them having such steady sponsor income over the years.
 
Lauren Stephens (Tibco) won the fourth stage time trial at the Tour Femenino de San Luis, and took the leaders jersey. She put in an absolutely dominant performance, finishing 43 seconds clear of second in an ITT that was only 12.8km long. Katie Hall (UHc) was second, which became important on the next stage because for the second year in a row she won the Queen stage, dropping everyone else on the final climb of Mirador del Potrero.

Hall finished 17 seconds clear of Arlenis Sierra (Cuban national team) in second and 23 seconds ahead of Margorzata Jansiska (Ale Cipollini) in third. This puts Hall into a 24 seconds GC lead over second place Jansiska. Nobody has managed to hold on to the leader's jersey for more than one day so far in this race, but tomorrow's final stage is a flat 79 km race around San Luis itself. Even though UHc are down to four riders, including Hall and sprinter Rivera, you'd have to guess that Hall should be able to hold on. Last year she also won the queen stage but came fourth on GC.

This would be the biggest win of Hall's career. Last year, her first as a pro, she won a stage at San Luis, came second in the Tour of the Gila, fourth in the Amgen ToC and fourth at Redlands. How come she seems to have taken up racing so late (she's 29 now)? She looked very impressive on the climb and was pretty decent at the ITT. It'll be interesting to see how she does at the European races now that she has a year as a pro in her legs.
 
To answer my own lazy question, it turns out she's finishing a Phd in molecular toxicology and only took up cycling with a college team while in grad school.

(The different levels of educational attainment between male and female pro cyclists always makes me laugh. There are individual women pros with more degrees than you'd find across three or four men's teams together).

Full footage of the stage here. The finish is at about 2 hrs 21 mins: http://www.tourfemeninodesanluis.com/ First MTF of the year.
 
Arlenis Sierra (Cuba) won the final stage at the Tour Femenino and moved up to third overall. She came second on the MTF and then won a bunch sprint on the next stage, so looks to be quite the all rounder. Looking her up (I'd never heard of her) it seems that she's already twice Pan American Champion at the age of 23, so presumably she'd be considered a huge prospect in women's cycling if she wasn't Cuban. Jasinska would have lost second on GC to her, but herself managed to grab third on the stage and just enough bonus seconds to stay ahead.

Hall held on to win GC, which is by far the biggest win of her career.

Sorry if I've been posting a bit too much about a 2.1 race, but I've been suffering from cycling withdrawal over the winter and this is televised (a bit roughly, but there's a free stream). Also it's been fun watching riders I don't really know battling it out, like Hall and Jasinska from the bigger teams and the Cubans. And there was a proper MTF, which there don't seem to be many of in women's cycling. Hall looked great yesterday, for instance, but when is she next going to get to race a proper MTF?
 
And Katrin Garfoot of OGE wins the first stage of the Santos Women's Tour Down Under. With a breakaway of seven and made a long sprint for home with 500 metres to go.

On another note she's a definite contender to medal in the ITT at The Olympics.
 
Re:

Jonhard said:
There’s a bit more buzz around women’s cycling this year with the women’s world tour. If nothing else it ought to mean better TV coverage of the new WT races.
http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/01/news/wwt_392879

I hadn't realised quite how the Women's World Tour is going to work. According to the above, all of the top 20 teams in last year's UCI ranking are entitled to automatic invites to all World Tour one day races, while the top 15 are entitled to automatic invites to all World Tour stage races. Sensibly, given the small budgets many of the teams have, it is not compulsory for the teams to actually take up any particular invite.

Anyway the teams selected are:

1. WIGGLE-HIGH5 (GB), 3390.5 points
2. RABO-LIV (Nl), 3120.5 points
3. BOELS DOLMANS (Nl), 2929.92 points
4. CANYON-SRAM (G), 2433points
5. CERVELO-BIGLA (G), 1482.17 points
6. ORICA-AIS (Aus), 1330.34 points
7. HITEC PRODUCTS (N), 1275.17 points
8. CYLANCE (US), 854 points
9. TIBCO-SILICON VALLEY BANK (US), 762.67 points
10. LIV-PLANTUR (Nl), 730 points
11. UNITEDHEALTHCARE (US), 688.33 points
12. POITOU-CHARENTES.FUTUROSCOPE.86 (F), 578 points
13. BTC CITY LJUBLJANA (Slo), 531 points
14. BEPINK (I), 530.5 points
15. ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM (Kaz), 464 points


16. ALE-CIPOLLINI (I), 457 points
17. LOTTO-SOUDAL LADIES (B), 454.67 points
18. PARKHOTEL VALKENBURG (Nl), 445.75 points
19. LENSWORLD-ZANNATA (B), 405.5 points
20. TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN-ETIXX (B), 345 points


Obviously the top 10 or so were going to be offered invites to pretty much whatever races they wanted anyway, but below that there are some teams on that list which are suddenly going to be offered a much better calendar than they've ever had before.
 
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Tbh I think any kind of system for race invitations is a step forward, at least for teams.

Quick Santos Women's Tour update... it's much improved this year, UCI for the first time, four stages around Adelaide and two of them decent. The field was heavily Aussie, not surprising but perhaps boosted by a call from Cycling Australia for maximum UCI points before the Olympic cut-off.

Orica dominated with Garfoot winning stage 1 and GC and Lizzie Williams stage 3. Shelly Olds was second in a decent start for new team Cylance, Lauren Kitchen third for Hitec.

Wiggle took a sprint/crit stage 1-2 with their Aussies Edmondson and Hosking, and Dani King took the mountains jersey and fourth on GC. New sprinter Lucy Garner was there along with Peta Mullens, who spent 2015 MTBing but should ride more road this year.

Wiggle and Orica will do the 1.2 Cadel Great Ocean Road on Saturday then it's off to Qatar (2-5 February) the first .1 race of the year and some stiffer competition. The field is looking strong for such an early race: http://www.pelotonwatch.com/calendar/2016/women/ladiestourofqatar/startlist.html
 
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/worldtour-victory-the-key-to-riveras-olympic-games-dream/

Coryn Rivera wants to be a hilly classics rider, says she loves short steep hills and wants to qualify for the US Olympics team by winning a WT race. Not what I'd have expected to hear from someone who is known as a crit racer and sprinter. But then again, she is young, lightweight and only got to ride some of those races for the first time last year, so who knows what she is capable of. Not lacking in ambition anyway.
 
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Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/worldtour-victory-the-key-to-riveras-olympic-games-dream/

Coryn Rivera wants to be a hilly classics rider, says she loves short steep hills and wants to qualify for the US Olympics team by winning a WT race. Not what I'd have expected to hear from someone who is known as a crit racer and sprinter. But then again, she is young, lightweight and only got to ride some of those races for the first time last year, so who knows what she is capable of. Not lacking in ambition anyway.
Coryn is pretty fast, and rode well and aggressively in the Tour of Britain last year, including a nearly-successful breakaway as I recall. That said, Hannah Barnes won a stage for UHC and Coryn did not. I think she could compete effectively with punchy riders but maybe not a power sprinter like Jolien D’Hoore or Kirsten Wild (say). So that seems a sensible approach.

The question I have is whether UHC will provide enough experience of that sort of racing. The WT invitation system should help them with opportunities but they are still a US team that has not traditionally spent that much time racing WC races in Europe. Races like Flanders, G-W, Drenthe, Fleche, Strade need experience, but there are other options I guess, and she is young as you say.
 
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Ladies Tour of Qatar - there's officially no apostrophe - starts tomorrow, Tuesday 2 February and finishes on Friday. If there is any live coverage, I've failed to find it.

It's a flat and usually windy race... hopefully windy might be a better description, as there's not much else to break the race up. Sprinters typically prosper but need power in their teams to deal with the open desert roads, so a fast-ish finisher could challenge too. If it's really windy echelons will happen and a split could decide the race; if not, sprints will.

Start list below, from which we might mention:

Hitec Products
1 Wild, Kirsten
2 Becker, Charlotte
3 Johnsen, Cecilie Gotaas
4 Kitchen, Lauren
5 Leth, Julie
6 Moberg, Emilie

Kirsten Wild has won four times and must be in with a sniff. The Hitec line up is quite strong with powerful TTer Becker there, and Leth and Kitchen fresh from racing in Aus - many of the field are starting their 2016 seasons here.

Wiggle High5
11 Hosking, Chloe
12 Johansson, Emma
13 King, Danielle
14 Longo Borghini, Elisa
15 Pieters, Amy
16 Roberts, Amy

Chloe Hosking leads a medium-stellar Wiggle line up. She's been on the podium for the last three years and Qatar is always a target for her, this year more than ever because of the World Champs later. Hosking, King and Roberts raced in Aus and the other three speak for themselves really. That said, first outing and a new team for Emma J and Amy Pieters, so they'll still be working things out. And ELB's been ill this week. But still, bags of power and Chloe is pretty fast, there or thereabouts with everyone here, except maybe Wild.

Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team
21 van Dijk, Ellen
22 Blaak, Chantal
23 de Jong, Demi
24 Kasper, Romy
25 Majerus, Christine
26 Pawlowska, Katarzyna

No defending champ Armitstead but a really powerful line up. Majerus will probably be their woman for sprints, although Blaak has a kick too.

Canyon SRAM Racing
31 Worrack, Trixi
32 Brennauer, Lisa
33 Cecchini, Elena
34 Cromwell, Tiffany
35 Guarischi, Barbara
36 Kröger, Mieke

First race for Canyon and they've brought a killer sextet. Power galore from the Germans and finishing pace from Cecchini and Guarischi.

Alé Cipollini
41 Cucinotta, Annalisa
42 Bastianelli, Marta
43 Jasińska, Małgorzata
45 Tagliaferro, Marta
46 Trevisi, Anna
47 Muccioli, Dalia

Tagliferro and Jasinska went well in San Luis a few weeks ago.

Orica - AIS
51 van Vleuten, Annemiek
52 Elvin, Gracie
53 Garfoot, Katrin
54 Mcconville, Chloe
55 Roy, Sarah
56 Williams, Lizzie

Another powerhouse team, and probably in the sharpest racing nick of any here having raced so successfully in Aus already this year. From the Aus races they've added van Vleuten, Elvin and (I think) McConville.

Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team
61 Brand, Lucinda
62 Gillow, Shara
63 Knetemann, Roxane
64 Korevaar, Jeanne
65 Koster, Anouska
66 Tenniglo, Moniek

Rabo put out a good team whoever they field, and this is a strong line up despite the obvious missing names like van der Breggen. Vos and PFP are injured/recovering I believe, but usually still 'crossing at this time of year anyway.

Cylance Pro Cycling
71 Olds, Shelley
72 Barbieri, Rachele
73 Gutiérrez, Sheyla
74 Scandolara, Valentina
75 Schweizer, Doris
76 Tetrick, Alison

Might see some sprint fireworks from Olds who was in good form in Argentina, or Scandolara. Tetrick and Schweizer add power.

France
81 Jeuland, Pascale
82 Delzenne, Elise
83 Demay, Coralie
84 Duval, Eugénie
85 Fournier, Roxane
86 Riberot, Fanny

Quite a strong national team. Jeuland and Delzenne have experience and power, Roxane Fournier has a fast finish and might nick a stage.

Team Liv-Plantur
91 Kirchmann, Leah
92 Mackaij, Floortje
93 Mustonen-Lichan, Sara
94 Soek, Julia
95 Stijns, Kyara
96 Weaver, Molly

Liv have brought some of their best riders in Mustonen, Kirchmann and Mackaij after an off season of some upheaval. Sabrina Stultiens still at home after coming 6th in a field in Zolder.

Italy
101 Sanguineti, Ilaria
102 Cretti, Claudia
103 Fidanza, Arianna
104 Sperotto, Maria Vittoria
105 Stricker, Anna Zita Maria
106 Zorzi, Susanna

Not sure - Zorzi probably the leader?

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team
111 Slappendel, Iris
112 Ewart, Annie
113 Peñuela, Diana Carolina
114 Rivera, Coryn
115 Simmonds, Hayley
116 Tamayo, Lauren

Slappendel is a rider who's seen it all. Coryn Rivera for the sprints.

Australia
121 Wells, Kimberley
122 Crooks, Jenelle
123 Hanson, Lauretta
124 Lobigs, Louisa
125 Malseed, Shannon
126 Mundy, Jessica

The Aussies are fresh from their summer and Wells is fast enough to take a sprint here.

Lares-Waowdeals
131 van de Ree, Monique
132 Nessmar, Alexandra
133 Roe, Eileen
134 Van Glabeke, Shana
135 van Hoek, Lotte
136 Vandenbulcke, Jesse

New Belgian team... van de Ree or Roe might place in a sprint but hard to see too much coming from them.

China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling
141 Bai, Yue
142 Chen, Qihang
143 Jiang, Xiu Jie
144 Pu, Yixian
145 Sun, Xue
146 Wang, Wan Tong

Pass on this one.

Tally ho. :)
 
For the Italians, Anna Zita Maria Stricker has a useful finish on her, and Ilaria Sanguinetti can be good in a tough rolling race, not that Qatar is especially rolling. I wouldn't have seen any point in entering Stultiens here for Liv anyway; on the road she's more a puncheur, even a climber on the right type of ascent. Rabo here are probably for Lucinda Brand, but Roxane is another option for them. Vos never normally rides road until March, and PFP, cross or no cross, isn't really suited to the Tour of Qatar, she's nothing like as strong as Marianne in a pure flat race I don't think. Bastianelli is a good finisher in a tough race but would need the field to be reduced a bit to have a chance to take a stage here.
 
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LTOQ update. Bonification seconds for intermediate (3, 2, 1) and final (10, 6, 4) sprints.

Intermediate 1: Wild (3 secs), Hosking (2 secs), Tagliaferro (1 sec)

Intermediate 2: Blaak, Hosking, Tagliaferro

At the finish it's Wild from Cucinotta (Ale Cip) and Lizzie Williams for Orica.

Wild leads GC on the time bonuses.
 
Aviva Women's Tour route unveiled, and while there are still two stages in the East of England and still no stages in Scotland or Wales, it does look significantly more interesting from a parcours point of view, with the Chesterfield and Stoke on Trent stages having good potential for some tricky climbing terrain that ought to make bonus seconds less of a GC-settling factor.

 
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The end of Flanders will just be on Sporza as far as I know. I have managed to stream it from the UK previously, I think, for Het Nieuwsblad, in case that helps.

LTOQ day two:

Splits in the peloton today. A group of four contested the win, with Garfoot (Orica) winning 13 seconds clear of Trixi Worrack (Canyon), Amy Pieters (Wiggle) and Romy Kaspar (Boels). Hosking led the next group home about a minute down, with small groups crossing at intervals thereafter.

Garfoot leads GC from Worrack and Pieters. Previous leader Wild finished nearly 4 minutes down and has dropped to 33rd.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Aviva Women's Tour route unveiled, and while there are still two stages in the East of England and still no stages in Scotland or Wales, it does look significantly more interesting from a parcours point of view, with the Chesterfield and Stoke on Trent stages having good potential for some tricky climbing terrain that ought to make bonus seconds less of a GC-settling factor.

Quite a nice design stage 3. A bit boring perhaps in that will be following A roads for a lot of the route. But the climbing is nicely spread out, with possibly the most punishing being out of Matlock, before a short, sharp descent into Chesterfield. Probably a better parcours than last year's men's TOB stage six, which was too front-loaded in theory, though it turned out to be a killer. In old money, about 7000ft of climbing in 70 miles, so the race could blow up here.

Stage four is flat, following the river valleys untill the final quarter which gets fairly lumpy. Certainly enough to make a difference.

And great news for me, as can easily cycle to watch both stages so I hope Vos is racing it.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Aviva Women's Tour route unveiled, and while there are still two stages in the East of England and still no stages in Scotland or Wales, it does look significantly more interesting from a parcours point of view, with the Chesterfield and Stoke on Trent stages having good potential for some tricky climbing terrain that ought to make bonus seconds less of a GC-settling factor.

The finish around Stratforf upon Avon looks to be explosive as the hills around Chipping Camden are are pretty steep.
 

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