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The Women's Road Racing Thread 2016

Page 31 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
GuyIncognito said:
Rabo are continuing? I thought they were flat out ending.
I was fully expecting Liv to gobble up a few of their riders.
They reported a while back that a sponsor had been found, but the team would have to downsize. However, the reports have gone very quiet on that since the Giro which has led to fearing the worst. The fact we haven't had much in the way of news re Vos, de Jong or Koster and their potential destinations however makes me continue to keep some faith; you would have thought all three are quite attractive to big teams, and if this possible Rabo successor team was able to survive and could keep hold of them, they could still be pretty competitive. I'd be very surprised if Gillow couldn't find a team too, and I'm sure the young riders can at least get a domestic ride if they want one. Obviously Brand, Knetemann and van der Breggen have already moved on, and there are extant rumours about PFP and Katie Unknown. The issue is that Liv would already be fairly full, I can't see them absorbing all of the key names, having already picked up Brand and van Dijk along with resigning Kirchmann, Stultiens and Floortje.
And just as I put that, Jeanine Laudy posts another one in her "I didn't see that coming!" file - Thalita de Jong has signed for Lares-Waowdeals for 2017. This does drive a nail into the Rabo coffin, and signifies that it's likely Lares are hoping to step up somewhat (Thalita must have some decent WT points with her Giro stage win). At least I hope so as, without any intention of being condescending, I would have thought that if they weren't intending to step up in level somewhat that de Jong could have got an offer from a team higher up the WWT rankings, but then I'd also presume that she will likely get the chance to be a leader much more often there, and it may work out for her in much the same way as when Anna van der Breggen was with Sengers. She'd definitely be comfortably the biggest name on the team, whereas at Rabo she's often domestique du jour.
The technical sprint did its job of mixing up the results to an extent. This was perhaps more akin to a men's racing flat stage than we typically see outside of long stage races in women's cycling (you could argue that at 6 stages this IS a comparatively long stage race for the women, mind) in that we got a break which went early, gained over five minutes, and was then slowly reeled back in until being brought back into the fold at around 10km to go. The two hopefuls, contesting the intermediate sprints and sole GPM point available, were Minke van Dongen of SwaboLadies, and Kasia Niewiadoma of Rabo-Liv. It's kind of weird to see Kasia up the road in a stage so clearly not suited to her, but she did win the Ronde van Gelderland, so maybe that was the thinking, or maybe she just hoped to avoid the tetchy péloton in case of crashes. Once they were reeled in, however, it became a key fight for the front of the bunch with Canyon and Boels conducting most of the work (perhaps Rabo were also hoping to tire some of those teams' domestiques ahead of tomorrow's TTT?). With the pace at the end and the concern caused by the technical finish there were few opportunities for late attacks, however the bunch did splinter and need to regroup a couple of times. Boels-Dolmans did have control at 3km from the line, but were then swamped; coming in to the finale however it was part of the orange juggernaut that emerged at the head of the field, with the young Dane Amalie Dideriksen popping up to take the win. Peter van den Veen suggests from her post-race interview she wasn't plan A today, but, finding herself best placed at the end and unable to locate her teammates, sprinted herself - though Blaak and van Dijk did come through for top 10s of their own. She's had something of a breakthrough year, impressing most in the Women's Tour and here she took some significant sprinting scalps, most notably Guarischi.

Some small gaps opening up in the field as well, with the first six gaining a couple of seconds, then further gaps at 0:08 and 0:17. Behind the front few, you have Brennauer, Blaak, Kirchmann, Pieters, Worrack and van der Breggen at +2, Johansson, Armitstead, Niewiadoma, Cecchini, Amialiusik, d'Hoore, Elvin, Kitchen, Knetemann, Canuel and Majerus at +8, Spratt at +17.

1 Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) DEN 2'36'35
2 Sara Mustonen (Team Liv-Plantur) SWE +st
3 Barbara Guarischi (Canyon-SRAM) ITA +st
4 Loren Rowney (Orica-AIS) AUS +st
5 Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) NED +st
6 Emilie Moberg (Team Hitec Products) NOR +st
7 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) NED +2"
8 Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata) ITA +2"
9 Leah Kirchmann (Team Liv-Plantur) CAN +2"
10 Nina Kessler (Lensworld-Zannata) NED +2"
The domination continues as Boels' super-unit wins its second consecutive TTT, opening up a very clear advantage that will make them very difficult to surpass in the GC. Dideriksen obviously retains the leader's jersey, but with the range of options that they have they will be in a very good position to defend a dominant GC position from here as even if Dideriksen is unable to stay with the best in the Amstel Gold stage they've still got Blaaki and Lizzie who can surely limit their losses given the fairly substantial timegaps they've now opened. They've been able to shuffle their cards what with the central part of the season favouring their climbing side, so their strongest riders for this kind of terrain are quite well-rested compared to many, having not expended their energy in the Giro, as well as having several great riders who skipped the Olympics due to course. In fact, the only team that was able to get within a minute of them was Canyon-SRAM, although Brennauer of course has long-established previous at this race, and Elena Cecchini may be one of the canniest racers around given the way she's maximised her palmarès this year with some very astute tactics, so having her so close on the GC may keep the orange machine on its toes. Elsewhere, a particularly impressive showing for Parkhotel Valkenburg, even if this isn't the team of all their young stars and has some established TT competitors like Solovey entered. To be honest, I'm not convinced that a full length TTT is a good thing for this race, although it's a great prep for the World Championships. With the strength Boels have in depth, the best start time due to three in the top 10 yesterday, it could give us a pretty top-heavy GC come the end of the week. That said, teams like Rabo are now under no illusions that they need to go for broke in the Amstel Gold stage to make it as hard to control as possible for the Boels domestiques (also they would likely have expected Amalie to be one of those domestiques, in which case who do they expend to protect her?), and we know that, lacking in a sprint weapon, Rabo are typically very aggressive in the quest for stage wins and GCs, and they have no choice now, ceding over a minute.

1 Boels-Dolmans 30'58
2 Canyon-SRAM +33"
3 Rabo-Liv +1'05"
4 Wiggle-High 5 +1'16"
5 Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental +1'24"
6 Orica-AIS +1'45"
7 Team Liv-Plantur +1'46"
8 Team Hitec Products +2'26"
9 Lensworld-Zannata +2'59"
10 Lotto-Soudal +3'11"

Boels' average speed was a pretty damn strong 51,15km/h!

Jonhard said:
WTAF? Kasia beat Amy Pieters, Leah Kirchmann and Blaaki in a sprint, apparently without a head start and all riding bicycles. Another sign that the revelation isnupon us.
You do know the finish was uphill though, right? Not really much of a long climb or anything but it's one of those typical short Sittard-Geleen ramps to the line. Mind you, even uphill, Kasia winning an sprint against anybody not named "Claudia Lichtenberg" or "Mara Abbott" is pretty mind-blowing. Though she was 4th in Plouay thanks to getting onto Bujak's wheel. After Anna van der Breggen outsprinting people last month and now this, I think it's quite clear that all that we thought was true is gradually being exposed as a lie. She was wrong back in Strade Bianche, it IS possible for her to win from a group, which she thought would never happen!

Still, a small gap for her, Blaaki, Amialiusik, Kirchmann and Pieters, and the rest of the selection of 14 at times ranging to 0:38 with all the major teams represented and all others losing two minutes, looks like some good racing on a bumpy finish and certainly augurs well for the final stage on the Amstel Gold climbs. And Blaak takes the lead of the race off Amalie in exactly the situation RedheadDane describes - riders monitoring moves made by dangerous opposition can often find themselves taking the lead to preserve it within the team.

The amazing bonkersness of the race continues though, as in addition to Niewiadoma outsprinting people at the end, Ellen van Dijk remarked upon the absurdity of her wearing the QOM jersey tomorrow ("it can only happen in Holland" she says). Boels still, obviously, dominate the upper echelons of the GC thanks to the lead built up in the TTT because both Blaaki and Ellen made the decisive selection (along with Canuel giving them a third bullet in the gun, as she may be the strongest climber of the three if we see the likes of Amialiusik, Niewiadoma and van der Breggen going all-out on Sunday), but this could get interesting.

1 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) POL 3'20'21
2 Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High 5) NED +st
3 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) NED +st
4 Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) BLR +st
5 Leah Kirchmann (Team Liv-Plantur) CAN +st
6 Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) NED +8"
7 Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) GER +9"
8 Alice Maria Arzuffi (Lensworld-Zannata) ITA +14"
9 Hanna Solovey (Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental) UKR +16"
10 Audrey Cordon (Wiggle-High 5) FRA +16"

Meanwhile, while many of the strongest riders in the women's péloton are duking it out in the Netherlands, the Tour de l'Ardêche began as well today. Disappointingly the race has had funding issues and the cost of arranging the amount of helpers needed has led to some last minute recruitment drives and changes, and has also affected the quality of field attracted. While the Dutch, German and Anglo pélotons are in Limburg, however, this race has attracted a field of the best of the Italian, French and Spanish pélotons. It's got an interesting mix of teams, considering that apart from today's first stage, not one of the stages is even remotely flat. There are a collection of national teams with stars from elsewhere lining up - Norway have Vita Heine, Miriam Bjørnsrud and Cecilie Gotås Johnsen from Hitec; the Spanish team includes Mavi García, Eider Merino and most notably Alé-Cipollini's Ane Santesteban; speaking of Alé, Małgorzata Jasińska lines up for a very strong Polish team that also includes Anna Plichta and Kasia Pawlowska. Of the trade teams, BePink are perhaps the strongest on paper but with Neben not started they will look to form around their talented young climber Kseniya Tuhai, while INPA have their best riders here, but I've tipped Riabchenko in more or less all of their races and been wrong most of the time so I'll tip Tuslaite this time. French champion Edwige Pitel guests for DN17-Poitou Charentes - not to be confused with the future FDJ team, Poitou Charentes-Futuroscope '86, who contribute a strong overall contender with Eri Yonamine. There are also some out there selections, such as the Mexican club team that includes Erika Varela and - seemingly found under a rock somewhere - Veronica Leal, who disappeared from the full-time péloton in 2012 and is 39 next month, but has still kept her hand in on a part time schedule, but has raced little this season. Lares-Waowdeals also look strong, predominantly off the back of two guest riders, firstly Liv-Plantur's Australian grimpeuse Carlee Taylor, and secondly Flavia Oliveira, continuing her quest to ride for every team in the known universe in 2016. There's also an odd "Selection International" team that includes Cylance's Alison Tetrick and Alison Jackson who raced so well for BePink at the Trophée d'Or, and the Racing Change Foundation, which appears to be a British club team, only with Cylance's Doris Schweizer and Wiggle's Anna Christian competing for them.

Anyway, it is a good name to be a Pole named Kasia, as Kasia Pawlowska made sure we didn't go a day of racing without somebody winning who rides for Boels-Dolmans even if she wasn't representing her trade team. 108 of 115 in the race finished on the same time as Pawlowska, so the stage certainly wasn't as selective as in the Boels Rentals Tour!
On the short finish line video you can see them coming round the corner uphill tho, but I don't think it's anything we can call a puncheur finish for sure, it's more of a fairly complex sprint of the kind that might favour, say, Michael Matthews rather than Marcel Kittel. The time gaps in that sprint being up to 16" are for a reason (also from her interview it sounds like Anna had a late dart that enabled her to sit in late while others' planned leadout was disrupted), and the finish was also a categorized climb, but it really isn't anything that would cause major trouble compared to the Slingerberg which was earlier in the stage.

It's also quite crazy when you think, we're discussing her as a prospect because she's still only 21, but she ranks in the top 10 of the World Tour (albeit only 10th, but then she's skipped almost all the flatter races as they don't suit her) and about 6th on CQ based on the results she can pick up despite this being the largest sized group she's ever won from! Then again, I think Emma Pooley's entire list of career wins are either solo or two-up with deals because of GC status, so Kasia's already got a better sprint than that. And she's certainly got good recovery as she seems to do well in longer races and harder races. She's also holding on to form through the season really well, perhaps skipping those World Cup races not suited to her has been beneficial as she seems to have more left in the tank than many at this point of the season - a shame that the Doha Worlds are about as well suited to her as the Monte Crostis descent is to Mara Abbott.
With a nice pan-flat stage on the agenda today, you'd have been forgiven for expecting the inevitable sprint, but you would have been wrong, because sometimes the smaller teams mean that women's races don't pan out entirely as expected. Indeed, a similarly-sized escape to yesterday formed, with 14 riders - all of whom had dropped several minutes yesterday so were no threat to Chantal Blaak's overall lead - opening up a sizable lead. All of the major teams were represented, so the urgency among the bunch was little, even given that one of the escapees was Emma Johansson, probably as both Boels and Rabo have won stages already so the presence of such a top-level rider was not an impediment to them, and with Canyon having Barbara Guarischi they were happy enough with their sprinting options. A few teams had multiple riders up there - Orica, Parkhotel Valkenburg and Hitec (plus Susanne Andersen was there for the Norwegian team, she's on Hitec's junior squad) so it was in their interest to work.

In the end, they took four and a half minutes out of the péloton, so not enough to become serious threats to the race lead, and with Tayler Wiles having been there to help do her share of the work, Orica's Sarah Roy showcased her sprinting prowess with a fast finish to take the win ahead of two youngsters, Evy Kuijpers of RC Jan van Arckel and Susanne Andersen as mentioned above. They outsprinted some much more illustrious names - Kessler, Guarischi, Johansson - although in fairness to Emma J, having lost 5'19" yesterday, she worked extremely hard in the group as Wiggle's only representative in the group to try to pull herself back into contention, and moves herself to only 2 minutes back on GC, which will be difficult but isn't unprecedented with the Amstel Gold stage on Sunday to come. Majerus, benefiting from the TTT success of Boels, moves back into the top 10 as well. Almost all of the remainder of the riders came in together at 4'39" with the only major losses in relation to this being Lizzie Armitstead, who lost 45 seconds and came in almost last of all.

1 Sarah Roy (Orica-AIS) AUS 2'45'38
2 Evy Kuijpers (RC Jan van Arckel) NED +st
3 Susanne Andersen (Regional Team Scandinavia) NOR +st
4 Nina Kessler (Lensworld-Zannata) NED +st
5 Riejanne Markus (Team Liv-Plantur) NED +st
6 Barbara Guarischi (Canyon-SRAM) ITA +st
7 Jeanne Korevaar (Rabo-Liv) NED +st
8 Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High 5) SWE +st
9 Emilie Moberg (Team Hitec Products) NOR +st
10 Simona Frapporti (Team Hitec Products) ITA +st

Current GC standings (aka The Problem With TTTs):
1 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) NED 9'18'05
2 Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) NED +11"
3 Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) CAN +33"
4 Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) BLR +47"
5 Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) GER +50"
6 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) POL +1'06"
7 Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) LUX +1'14"
8 Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High 5) NED +1'17"
9 Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) NED +1'32"
10 Audrey Cordon (Wiggle-High 5) FRA +1'46"
Meanwhile, we have a short video from stage 2 of the Tour de l'Ardèche, where Pawlowska doubled up on stage wins, with a victory in a sprint from a bunch narrowed down quite heavily over a couple of tough climbs in the first half of the race including the Col de Montivernoux (profile here) before a flatter second half. Although the mountainous terrain did see attempts at forcing a much smaller selection, most notably from national champion Edwige Pitel, eventually all of the contenders came back together to fight it to the line, with Pawlowska for the second consecutive day proving strongest, opening up a small gap on teammate-of-convenience Jasinska as the Poles continue their dominance of the race. Behind them, Soraya Paladin continues to prove Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo's biggest threat while Ane Santesteban also shows some form as well and Sofia Bertizzolo is 5th for Astana.

The GC is still very bunched up towards the top, but that will surely end tomorrow because we have the toughest summit finish of the entire year, and arguably the toughest we have seen in all women's cycling since the Stelvio MTF in the 2010 Giro, because this is tougher than anything we have seen in the race since (San Domenico, Madonna della Guardia, Madonna del Ghisallo, Ceresole Reale)... we have a mountain top finish at - I kid you not - MONT VENTOUX. As a result, it's actually quite sad that the limited budget has hurt the field in the Ardèche because we don't get enough chances to see the truly world class climbers duke it out on the biggest summits - but Niewiadoma, van der Breggen, Guderzo and Amialiusik are in the Netherlands, Longo Borghini, Moolman-Pasio and Lichtenberg are on the downswing of their form cycle and aren't racing this week, Abbott and Stevens are all resting, PFP's ended her season, Cauz is taking a break and Pooley's seemingly back into retirement... so we might see the same kind of colossal time gaps we saw in the Tour de Pologne. All in for Tuhai perhaps? Depends how her recovery is. Based on the Giro performances she's the best climber here, but she's very young and inexperienced and all that brutal climbing in one single brute of an ascent might affect how well she can adapt to it compared to more experienced riders like Tuslaite and Riabchenko (and Pitel).

There's also a new potential cult rider to follow in Astrid Chazal - the 26-year-old is in her first full season as a cyclist after being forced to give up her first sporting career, as a footballer, due to a knee injury (similar but seemingly in a less spectacular manner than Primož Roglič). Seems she was a pretty useful footballer too, playing for the French international team at a range of levels and being part of the Saint-Étienne team that won the French Cup in 2011.
Bunch sprint in Tiel for the women today, although there were attempts to split the race up (as Gracie Elvin points out, she possibly set a record for the number of times you can be dropped then come back and get on the front). No significant changes to the GC as a result of the sprint, however thanks to an impressive burst to the line former TT World Champion and Boels Rentals Ladies Tour defending champion Lisa Brennauer chips ten seconds off her deficit with victory. Loren Rowney and Jolien d'Hoore, who rounded out the podium, missed the key selection in Sittard-Geleen so are unlikely to be GC-relevant unless something very strange happens around Valkenburg tomorrow. It also of course means that despite their dominance of the GC, Dutch riders have yet to take an individual stage win.

1 Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) GER 2'52'30
2 Loren Rowney (Orica-AIS) AUS +st
3 Jolien d'Hoore (Wiggle-High 5) BEL +st
4 Nina Kessler (Lensworld-Zannata) NED +st
5 Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata) ITA +st
6 Anouk Rijff (Lotto-Soudal) NED +st
7 Susanne Andersen (Regional Team Scandinavia) NOR +st
8 Kaat Hannes (Lensworld-Zannata) BEL +st
9 Sara Mustonen-Lichan (Team Liv-Plantur) SWE +st
10 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) NED +st

Meanwhile, the brutal climb of Mont Ventoux took many, many prisoners in the Tour de l'Ardèche, as you might expect. The field was absolutely destroyed by such a monstrous climb, especially given that with many of the péloton's elites racing in the Netherlands, there wasn't the same depth as you would expect of other races where such brutal climbs could be used (here I basically mean the Giro and Trentino, since even if the Emakumeen Bira decided to climb San Miguel de Áralar, it doesn't compare to Ventoux).

We also got quite an interesting surprise winner, 25-year-old Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer. She entered the race last year only to crash out before the serious climbs; this year she's taken it to the house. Kiesenhofer is in her second year as an active cyclist, and has been racking up decent results on the Spanish domestic calendar, podiuming the Vuelta a Burgos and the GP de Cantabria, both times behind national champion Mavi García. Here, on a more sustained climb, however, she took her nemesis apart, along with a large number of pretty well established professionals, taking four minutes out of the field, with a close time spread covering the next few competitors, which included most of the expected favourites - Flavia Oliveira and Edwige Pitel flying the flag for experience, with Kseniya Tuhai leading the charge for youth - although Eider Merino, the young Basque who was top 10 last year, was similarly strong. Riabchenko is also similarly close, but beyond that the gaps become enormous; only 17 riders finished inside ten minutes, with those who lost big time including some I thought would be major protagonists - Jasinska +9'43, Plichta +10'12, Santesteban +11'26, Taylor +16'02, Paladin +42'15 and Tušlaitė abandoning.

1 Anna Kiesenhofer (Mixta-2) AUT 3'40'58
2 Flavia Oliveira (Lares-Waowdeals) BRA +3'53"
3 Edwige Pitel (DN17-Poitou Charentes) FRA +4'01"
4 Kseniya Tuhai (BePink) BLR +4'01"
5 Eri Yonamine (Poitou Charentes-Futuroscope '86) JPN +4'05"
6 Eider Merino Kortazar (Spain National) ESP +4'05"
7 Tetyana Riabchenko (INPA-Bianchi) UKR +4'20"
8 Kathryn Donovan (Mixta-3) USA +5'30"
9 Margarita Victoria García (Spain National) ESP +5'57"
10 Asja Paladin (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ITA +6'49"

Because there are no time bonuses in the race, the GC effectively is the same as the stage results as none of the top 10 missed the selection in yesterday's stage, however Tuhai is ahead of Pitel courtesy of placements.

hazaran said:
Is that the same Anna Kiesenhofer? https://annakiesenhofer.com

Her blog ominously has Mont Ventoux as it's header image. Interesting posts on her power data, too.
Definitely the same rider (results match, Catalan location etc.).

I also note from her post about GFNY Mont Ventoux that she has previous with the climb as well. That also puts a lot of stock towards the race - she felt the GFNY profile suited her strengths (very similar to today's stage) and also having experience of the climb may be beneficial as well. She calls herself a pure diesel climber, which may help to explain a comparative lack of results previously - not high profile enough to have been picked up by a decent pro team where she could develop, and very few pro races suit a pure diesel over an explosive one on the women's calendar. But also without knowing how it went down, there's a great deal of speculation, and given that the coverage hasn't been detailed enough to really understand how the racing on the climb developed, it's hard to draw conclusions from. She may have been in the break and the bunch miscalculated because of not expecting her to have the kind of strength she had, she may have attacked and been forgotten about by the likes of Riabchenko, Oliveira, Tuhai and Pitel while they looked at one another until it was too late, she may have got the diesel into the right gear and just demolished the field; she may be somebody who's an expert in this particular climb and knows it well enough to dose her efforts perfectly so that she may struggle in many other races, or she may be a strong contender for a guest ride at the Giro or a contract at a half-decent team with the hope of competing in races such as this more regularly.
Team Vos/rump Rabo-Liv will retain Niewiadoma as well as Koster, Korevaar, Kastelijn and Tenniglo. Add a few Dutch youngsters, say, and that's a competitive squad for a number of races.
And as if to celebrate this (and to an extent it should be celebrated, I'll miss some of the top all-rounders and domestiques like Knetemann and Brand, but if they keep Vos, Koster, Kasia, Korevaar etc. you've got something to build a team around, if they can keep PFP as well depending on how she wants to go forward - I know she's been linked to Wiggle, but Kasia was linked to Liv and is seemingly staying - then the main identity of the squad can be kept intact), Kasia takes her second stage of the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour in a stage that apes the proposed parcours of the women's Amstel Gold Race to be reinstated to the calendar in 2017! It looks like the key selection was of 19 riders who are spread over a minute over the final circuit, with the rest of the field four and a half minutes back from the Polish grimpeuse. Along with no fewer than four Rabo riders, Boels' trio of riders who made up the podium all made the selection as well as Armitstead, with van Dijk able to make it home second at the top of the Cauberg, three seconds behind Katie X, with another specialist in hilly to mountainous races, Alena Amialiusik, rounding out the podium. Despite several attempts to shed the race leader, Chantal Blaak was able to limit her losses to Niewiadoma to a mere handful of seconds so that the Pole was not a threat to take away her victory in the overall GC, although being outnumbered by the extremely combative Rabo team meant that Canuel, as the most climbing-adept of the Boels riders, was forced to do a lot of chasing work and the time she lost at the end along with the time bonuses at the line meant that Amialiusik was able to leapfrog her to prevent the orange armada from locking out the podium, as she was part of the group that lost a bit of time to the lead six (Niewiadoma, van Dijk, Amialiusik, van der Breggen, Pieters and Blaak) and came in at +21". Lizzie may have been dropped by the selection and been one of the last stragglers from it to make it to the line, but it's a promising sign after a week she'd seemingly rather forget, having really struggled to show any kind of form and been relegated to botillera duty. Johansson made the selection but, in her first race back after a break, is clearly not on ideal form, but because she's Emma Johansson she's still able to know which moves to make and which to follow so as to remain a key part of the race. Many of the sprinters abandoned, with such a hilly stage being the final stage of the race, but if the Amstel Gold plays out in exactly the same manner with the small selections and the top teams' groups splintering next year it will be a great race to follow (and if Niewiadoma can win again, then that's a bonus of course), especially as it will lead directly into Flèche Wallonne so we should hopefully have all the top women for punchy or explosive climbs on top form then.

Also interesting: not one Dutch stage win, but a Dutch 1-2 on GC, with the main deciding factor being the TTT, although Blaaki, van Dijk and Canuel have managed the race really well in the hilly stages to defend those gains. Also worth noting just how much of the front selection of 19 was made up of the biggest teams - 4 Rabo, 4 Boels, 3 Wiggle, 2 Canyon, 2 Liv - worth noting the 2 Parkhotel Valkenburg riders being more than Orica who only had Spratt, while Esther van Veen for Swabo Ladies made up the remaining one.

Final stage result:
1 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) POL 3'24'21"
2 Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) NED +3"
3 Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) BLR +3"
4 Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) NED +5"
5 Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High 5) NED +5"
6 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) NED +5"
7 Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High 5) SWE +21"
8 Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) AUS +21"
9 Hanna Solovey (Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental) UKR +21"
10 Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) CAN +21"

Final GC:
1 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) NED 15'35'01
2 Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) NED +3"
3 Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) BLR +41"
4 Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) CAN +49"
5 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) POL +52"
6 Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High 5) NED +1'17"
7 Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) NED +1'32"
8 Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) GER +1'38"
9 Hanna Solovey (Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental) UKR +2'18"
10 Leah Kirchmann (Team Liv-Plantur) CAN +2'23"

Meanwhile, in the Tour de l'Ardèche, interesting questions were being asked, most notably, how was a mixed thrown together team going to go about defending the maillot rose given that Kiesenhofer had opened up a huge and somewhat unexpected lead on Mont Ventoux? The answer, so it seemed, was "not particularly well" as Edwige Pitel attacked early on and was joined by Flavia Oliveira, Kasia Pawlowska and Mavi García as they fought their way over the HC Col de Finiels (a legit cat.1 climb in men's racing, 11,6km @ 5,7%, so debatable but given how few climbing-intensive races there are in true high mountain terrain I guess HC is ok for this in a women's race) around three minutes ahead of the reduced group around Kiesenhofer and four minutes ahead of the bunch. With two cat.2 climbs at the end of the stage to a summit finish at the Chalet du Mont-Lozère, actually partway down the descent of the Col de Finiels, only being climbed in the opposite direction at the climax of the stage, Oliveira pounced, and with Pitel looking for help from a spent García, by the time the 49-year-old got into a rhythm to chase the Brazilian, it was far too late. Having raced most of Mont Ventoux solo and not really having much of a team connection to call upon for support, yesterday's surprise victor lost all her gains and more, enabling Oliveira to pass her for the maillot rose and take the lead of the race.

Stage result:
1 Flavia Oliveira (Lares-Waowdeals) BRA 4'10'21
2 Edwige Pitel (DN17-Poitou Charentes) FRA +3'06"
3 Margarita Victoria García (Spain National) ESP +4'22"
4 Kseniya Tuhai (BePink) BLR +5'14"
5 Hanna Nilsson (Jos Feron Lady Force) SWE +5'39"
6 Ana Kiesenhofer (Mixta-2) AUT +5'42"
7 Tetyana Riabchenko (INPA-Bianchi) UKR +5'42"
8 Eri Yonamine (Poitou Charentes-Futuroscope '86) JPN +5'42"
9 Asja Paladin (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ITA +5'42"
10 Eider Merino Kortazar (Spain National) ESP +5'42"

Oliveira now leads with 1'49 of advantage over Kiesenhofer, 3'14" over Pitel and the rest of the field led by Tuhai at +5'22.
Bonus: Here is a 5 min video of highlights of the last stage of the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour, linked by perpetual women's cycling source Sarah Connolly. Looks like the decisive move was formed by the merging of an earlier attack move with Armitstead, Cecchini, Knetemann, Koster and a few others with the chasing group which included Blaak, Niewiadoma et al.. Armitstead was, like at the Giro Rosa, pressed into domestique duties; her form since the Olympics has nosedived, so she's trying to ride back into form for the defence of her rainbow jersey and doing a lot more grunt work for the team than has been seen for some time, controlling the moves of Knetemann, van Veen and Markus. We don't really get to see the finish though as the camera focuses in on Blaaki and her dropping a bit of time to van Dijk which could be key to the GC, so as it looks up the road we can see van Dijk and Amialiusik contesting places but when it picks up the action on the Cauberg Niewiadoma is already gone.
I know filming a bike race isn't easy, but you'd think they might catch the winner finishing! Better than nowt.

Also, no idea how Pitel does it at 49.

I'll miss Emma J when she goes, so often entertaining. She is contracted for 2017 but there's flexibility with Wiggle to "stay involved with the team". At least, this was the talk when she signed around this time last year, and she's got the qualities whether it's DS type stuff or marketing/PR. Coming back after Rio, which was mentioned as her retirement point last year, suggests she might have one more goal in mind. Or is just riding for the team, Wiggle being somewhat depleted at the moment.
Very briefly, Annemiek's back tomorrow for the Lotto Belgium Tour and no doubt looking at thd opening 4km prologue. She won in 2014 but probably won't this year, with her four-rider national team.

No Boels, Liv-P, or Parkhotel, perhaps oddly for a localish race for the Dutch, and no Orica or Bigla. Wiggle, Canyon, Rabo, Hitec and Ale-Chip are there in some force, as are the Belgian teams.

After the prologue there are three days featuring some cobbles and the Muur in Gerardsbergen. (I did say very briefly :D )

Emma J defends her title... one last "home" ride for the Swedish ambassador to Flanders?
Yes, somewhat strange to see those teams missing, perhaps something to do with the Madrid Challenge at the weekend?

In the Ardèche, the organizers somehow figured a 7,7km chrono would counterbalance Mont Ventoux - and of course it didn't. It did, however, allow Pitel to gain her first win since winning the French jersey, in the first race day she's done without it (since she's only the RR champion of course). She pipped INPA's Lara Vieceli, who is no fewer than 26 years younger than her, by just 2", with Ålerud and Plichta at +15". The gaps at the top of the GC are pretty big though, so she was unable to threaten Flavia Oliveira's GC lead, but she moves a lot closer to Kiesenhofer in 2nd. This was then followed by a hilly semi-tappe with a cat.2 climb around 15km from the line, but not an especially steep one. Alison Jackson managed to escape, continuing her strong late summer with a solo win, eventually pulling out over a minute of advantage over the chasing bunch. Experience paid as well, as both Pitel and Oliveira were able to take advantage of a split in the bunch to gain a few seconds on the line, most notably Kiesenhofer missed the split on the climb and lost another 48" to the rest of the contenders, thanks to the vagaries of thrown together mixed selections.

With one stage to go therefore the GC looks like this:
1 Flavia Oliveira (Lares-Waowdeals) BRA 16'58'26
2 Anna Kiesenhofer (Mixta-2) AUT +2'12"
3 Edwige Pitel (DN17-Poitou Charentes) FRA +2'15"
4 Kseniya Tuhai (BePink) BLR +5'10"
5 Eri Yonamine (Poitou Charentes-Futuroscope '86) JPN +5'26"
6 Eider Merino Kortazar (Spain National) ESP +6'02"
7 Margarita Victoria García (Spain National) ESP +6'05"
8 Tetyana Riabchenko (INPA-Bianchi) UKR +6'38"
9 Kathryn Donovan (Colavita-Bianchi) USA +9'24"
10 Asja Paladin (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ITA +9'41"

There are three serious climbs, culminating in the Chalençon cat.1 climb 25km from the line, for Edwige and Kiesenhofer to drop Flavia, unlikely as it sounds.
Aug 6, 2011
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Jonhard said:
I know filming a bike race isn't easy, but you'd think they might catch the winner finishing! Better than nowt.

Here's a better video of the finish by the Dutch National Broadcaster (NOS): [http://nos.nl/artikel/2129881-blaak-houdt-stand-en-wint-ladies-tour.html]Blaak houdt stand en wint Ladies Tour[/url].

I was there at the Cauberg and really enjoyed the experience. There was a nice bit of action on the last Cauberg sprint and it was a very accessible event. Also, there were really big differences in level between the top riders and some of the lesser-known riders, especially those lesser-known riders who specialize in flat/sprint races. That's something I wasn't accustomed to from the men's peloton.
Yes, that seems to be quite a recurring theme from race attending - very accessible and easy, nice in-race action, but the lack of depth in the péloton does mean that the gap between the strongest and weakest riders in the races - especially in a race like this where you don't have a full WWT péloton - is much bigger than you'd find at most men's races; here you've got development and U23 Dutch teams racing alongside the likes of Armitstead, Johansson and van der Breggen. Good to know you enjoyed yourself as well - the Netherlands is a real hub of women's racing so there could well be plenty more for you to see nearby too.

RadReporter has a longer video too mixing static cams, some in-race action and interviews. Nice to hear from a few riders as well, I will definitely miss Rox in Rabo colours.