The Women's Road Racing Thread 2016

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Yes, I've certainly had something to say about the temperature out there and the riders' suffering. It was also noticeable among those who seemed to suffer most, a lot of the riders who would typically be the best TT engines were the ones suffering among their teams, perhaps because of being bigger than the more lightweight riders, such as Ellen van Dijk and Mieke Kröger (the former struggling to stay with the rest of the team at the end when normally she'd be just about their strongest engine, the latter exploding with fatigue quite dramatically in the second half). Once Kröger dropped and Canyon were down to 5, the victory was I think sealed, Boels still had all six and it was a straight head to head between them and Canyon at that point. That said, at the same time on some teams like Rabo it was their lightest riders that were struggling the most. Unfortunately because they'd already lost Tenniglo and Niewiadoma, Koster wasn't afforded the chance to let go like Kröger was and so she stayed with it until the fatigue caused a pretty violent crash. It's the farewell for Rabo-Liv as a team, their last race as a unit and their last race in those colours, and so it's a sad end to a proud team; also their second Worlds TTT disaster in three years after the huge wipeout that put van der Breggen and van Vleuten in the hospital in Ponferrada.

As per the discussion in the other thread, it is true that the women have faced this kind of temperature before, such as in the early stages of the 2015 Giro Rosa in a heatwave, but at the same time a lot of riders were really struggling, especially the young Italian ones, then, and questions were asked about elements of the organization at the time as well.

Congratulations to Boels on the win, of course, since she's not riding the RR or TT it's a fantastic way for Evie Stevie to sign off on her career. I was really split on this one, because at least once it became clear Rabo weren't going to win, because I wanted the team to go out in style, I was torn between my desire to not see Boels completely bogart all of the success as I fear we're going to get a year of one-sided domination like 2014 next year with ex-Rabo and Wiggle both much weakened, Boels if anything strengthened, and hoping that the changes can make Liv join the top table of super teams, and my desire to see Stevens go out with a win. They were comfortably the strongest team out there and clearly merited it, however. Also quite impressed with the Cervélo performance to follow up from Vårgårda. They've also strengthened and increased the team size in the off-season, including a pretty impressive couple of TT engines, so they could be a legitimate threat in the format going forward.
 
Third attempt at posting:

Has the GP Tania Dejonge been mentioned on this thread? It was on 1 October

1 Eva Van den Born NETH
2 Lenny Druyts
3 Kaat Hannes
4 Lensy Debboudt
5 Gilke Croket
6 Elise Vander Sande
7 Nathalie Verschelden
8 Sarah Inghelbrecht
9 Jaime Gunning AUS
10 Madeleine Fasnacht AUS

http://uitslagen.dewielerbond.be/Kalender_Uitslagen/Uitslag.aspx?id=1354&datum=01%2F10%2F2016

Gilke Croket is a 24 year old trackie/roadie racing for Topsport Vlaanderen just like Lenny Druyts. She hopes to keep her form until the track Euro Champs in Paris, just like Jolien D'Hoore.

She was glad about the way she raced because she was in the right group before mid race. Then three riders caught up and then another 5 of them. The 13 of them sprinted for the win.

It was a hard race because they had to deal with heavy rain. She was totally sodden and (comfortably?) numb.

She's now training for the Euro where she hopes to have good legs for the team pursuit. It's a good way for her to pass winter.

About her road season she admits that the results were not always good but she often raced abroad and at the end of the day it's in the greater race that you get stronger. It wasn't always as easy mentally. She was often a domestique and that way high places were hardly possible but in the few kermesses she raced she noticed she was progressing and she hopes to do so next year too.

source: Gazet van Antwerpen on 5 October:

 
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-under-fire-after-worlds-ttt-weather-conditions/
"The UCI has not really thought this through. It makes no sense!," Knetemann said. "The heat, it's just not to do and certainly not in a time trial. It's like a sauna."
A disgrace really. Feel sorry for those who suffered. Hope all recover.
(How the h**l it'll be when the World Cup soccer is going on in 2022 in Qatar is a good question. Play the matches at 3 in the morning? )
 
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Boels will have Amy Pieters next year too... decent/good year at Wiggle but her favoured spring races didn't go that well and she seems to have wanted a move back to a Dutch team. Shame for Wiggle, good for her and Boels I suspect - she may be their quickest finisher.
 


Article from today's Nieuwsblad/Sportwereld

Ann-Sophie Duyck wants revenge for Rio.

Rio has reverberated. I swear to you that I've learned lessons from it. Of course it was at international level but lagging 4' behind Kristin Armstrong after 30km remains a downer. My problem was that I was too nervous. I used to think that I need a great amount of adrenaline to start the motor but at the Euros I noticed that I could race hard without putting too much pressure on my shoulder. Rio was a major factor in order to reach the norms to get allowed to stay with Topsport. Hence the panic after the rotten result: "damn now I wasted it totally. May I still work next year?" It's an insecurity which many top athletes are confronted with. But at the Worlds I got a better support than at the Olympics and that also gives more mental rest, though I don't know what the heat will cause.
Ann-Sophie thinks it's can be that the podium gets fully coloured with orange: Ellen Van Dijck, Anna Van der Breggen and Annemiek Van Vleuten.
 
For now one thing is sure. The podium won't be fully orange.

Amber Neben leads when 21 riders finished the race. She has a 26 seconds advantage to Annemiek van Vleuten and a 1 minute and 11 seconds advantage to Trixi Worrack.
 
Regarding the world's TTT, why should the women have boycotted and not the men, or other races? Am I missing something, or is it just because this is the women's thread? Or was it actually hotter when the women raced? I don't know.

I have to say I agree to an extent. Having it be nearly 40c is brutal to race in, especially a TT. The organizers could have shortened it, rescheduled for another day, or had them race at dawn, when it would have still been hot, but not that hot. Watching Chloe Dygert vomit like that, and then Koster's crash...I'm astounded they let her get back on the bike, and held up the rule that she had to finish or the entire team would have been DQ'd. That's just dangerous.

CN reported that despite what appeared to be several riders suffering heat exhaustion, and yet at the finish there wasn't enough medical support and support didn't arrive for up to 20 minutes. Inexcusable for any professional sporting event, let alone a world championship.
 
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Some Wiggle High 5 rumoured incomings:

Emilia Fahlin – back after her year at Ale?

Claudia Lichtenberg – seems like a handy replacement, sort of, for Mara Abbot

Julie Leth – rode with ELB, Cordon (and Hosking) at Hitec in 2014, always popular and a handy lead-out.
 
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Regarding the world's TTT, why should the women have boycotted and not the men, or other races? Am I missing something, or is it just because this is the women's thread? Or was it actually hotter when the women raced? I don't know.

I have to say I agree to an extent. Having it be nearly 40c is brutal to race in, especially a TT. The organizers could have shortened it, rescheduled for another day, or had them race at dawn, when it would have still been hot, but not that hot. Watching Chloe Dygert vomit like that, and then Koster's crash...I'm astounded they let her get back on the bike, and held up the rule that she had to finish or the entire team would have been DQ'd. That's just dangerous.

CN reported that despite what appeared to be several riders suffering heat exhaustion, and yet at the finish there wasn't enough medical support and support didn't arrive for up to 20 minutes. Inexcusable for any professional sporting event, let alone a world championship.

As I suggested the boycott in here, I will answer, I was posting in here as it was the women who were 1st and there is no dedicated thread to doha.

But I think all the teams should've boycotted from Junior to Elite, men and women.

It has been a shambles and I only hope no athlete gets hurt or dies.
 
Re:

Alpe d'Huez said:
Regarding the world's TTT, why should the women have boycotted and not the men, or other races? Am I missing something, or is it just because this is the women's thread? Or was it actually hotter when the women raced? I don't know.

I have to say I agree to an extent. Having it be nearly 40c is brutal to race in, especially a TT. The organizers could have shortened it, rescheduled for another day, or had them race at dawn, when it would have still been hot, but not that hot. Watching Chloe Dygert vomit like that, and then Koster's crash...I'm astounded they let her get back on the bike, and held up the rule that she had to finish or the entire team would have been DQ'd. That's just dangerous.

CN reported that despite what appeared to be several riders suffering heat exhaustion, and yet at the finish there wasn't enough medical support and support didn't arrive for up to 20 minutes. Inexcusable for any professional sporting event, let alone a world championship.
It was hotter when the women raced than some of the men, simply as the men were racing on into later in the afternoon. We're talking only small amounts though, although obviously more of the women's TTT will have taken place in the times with the sun highest, plus - although we're not talking by much and of course Boels outpaced the two slowest Men's TTTs, they were on the same course, meaning that, for the most part, the women took longer to complete the course. In addition to the two you mention, I was convinced Mieke Kröger was going to go as well, she looked completely lost on her feet out there after she was dropped. I personally raised the same point on the more general Worlds thread, so I assume the post in here is more about the women because it's the women's racing thread.

As for the women's ITT; yes, a better result than the Olympics, but still a 40+yo who's retired before, though Amber is at least somebody who races year round and, having not attended the Olympics, hasn't had the same level of peak management to do. Van Dijk also gets a bit of a measure of closure for the Olympics where she'd have had a medal without the off-road excursion so she makes up a bit for that. It's also a close run thing as well. Very unusual field as well, plus I'm sure you'd have got good odds on Anna van der Breggen finishing so far down.

As for Wiggle rumours, Claudia would be great, that would shore things up on two fronts, firstly giving Wiggle another weapon for hilly and stage races, another experienced rider to help pass on wisdom to younger riders, plus it would also mean Claudia in a team with stronger depth of support, and with somebody like ELB to play the 1-2 punch attack with, also considering that neither of them have a sprint weapon, so it could be very entertaining. Plus, it would give Wiggle another GC option for the Giro, but still plenty of results year round, which Mara, for all her quality at the Giro, doesn't really offer as most of her best results outside of that come in domestic races where she's often been guesting rather than riding for Wiggle.
 
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Only rumours, but I think the three would be excellent additions. I know less of Claudia than the other two but her record speaks for itself. Leth and Fahlin should fit in seamlessly and immediately.

I'm a little sorry that the GB core of Wiggle is gone, but that's partly because there are other options, like Drops, WNT, Matrix.

On ITT matters, starting to think it's too hot for some of the bigger women to be at their best, and maybe my idea that the RR will be Wild v Dhoore is off the mark. Italy v 'Straya maybe. Or even a wild one like Ting Ying Huang?
 
Now a story I have some conflicting emotions about.

The Thüringen Rundfahrt is as we know one of the most established women's stage races, lasting 7 days and running to 29 editions. It was one of the first women's stage races behind the Iron Curtain, and with its 30th anniversary next year, the organizers have been preparing well ahead of time for the event. However, just two days before the 2017 calendar is due to be released, they've been contacted and advised that unless they want to clash with a WT event they need to move two days (it seems La Course is going to increase in size and become a miniature stage race, like we'd wanted all along). At the same time, Dwars door de Westhoek is being shuffled in to mid-May to make room for a mooted but not yet confirmed women's version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

This has me in two minds. Firstly, La Course becoming more than a flat pseudo-crit is a good thing. And secondly, there are not enough races where the climbers and puncheuses are favoured by the course as part of the World Tour, which is a large part of the reason Boels dominate it so convincingly when if you look on CQ, taking into account the non-WT races riders like Johansson, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma are much more successful than they are in the WWT standings; adding a women's LBL to the mix would be a good step for this, although my thoughts are Liège-Stavelot-Liège, or just Bastogne-Liège, are the most likely outcomes.

However, at the same time, to enforce calendar moves and brush aside long-running races like Thüringen does leave the impression, as I've seen from a couple of respected sources, that in effect, the traditional women's events are seen by the UCI top brass as placeholders for when they can get the top men's races to hold women's equivalents, and that pains me. It pains me because on one hand I use the examples of other sports where the women's and men's events are coterminous as something to aspire to as it enables the women's races to be legitimized and maximise audience potential, and for the audience to become familiarized with the péloton and judge them relative to one another rather than comparing them to the men; yet on the other hand, those people who have supported women's cycling for several years do not deserve to be marginalized in favour of new races that are tacked on to high profile men's events. It would be interesting to ask many of the women's bunch what they'd rather win. I would bet you that if all 3 Ardennes week races run women's equivalents, the women will want to win Flèche Wallonne most, not LBL which is the most prestigious of the three for the men. Similarly, a women's Sanremo (like the old Primavera Rosa) will not be as bright a spot on the palmarès as the Trofeo Binda, because the latter is established.

I want La Course and Madrid Challenge to become legit short stage races and I want RideLondon to become a proper race to actually honour the 2012 road race. I want the biggest and toughest races to have women's versions and enable us to see the women battle out those races. But I have reservations about doing this at the expense of marginalizing or moving more traditional events, and doing it at the last minute like they have done to Thüringen isn't very good for anyone.
 
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It's poor for Thuringen and not what they deserve, for want of a better phrase. The new WWT broom sweeping away some established races seems a possibility.

It seems to be the way the UCI is heading, more women's versions of traditional men's events. If it means more coverage and publicity... well it might not make it ok, but there may be a silver lining of sorts. Despite the presence of quality races like Thuringen, Giro Rosa, Bira etc, the women's game doesn't (imo) currently provide enough stability for teams. They need to be on telly more often.
 
Ann-Sophie Duyck is "flushing the hangover" from Rio (hmm well the translation is quickly done, sorry).

While the 41 year old Alber Neben beat top favourite Ellen Van Dijck, Ann-Sophie Duyck got a nice 8th place and is glad to be back "among the people" (Dutch idiom to say she's back on level) after her 23rd place in 25 at Rio.

After Rio, I was mentally really down. I then also started to doubt. On the other hand, Rio aside, I've always been top10 in the past few years. I did know I could do this, though it the final part I had to go far beyond the pain. The final three k's were frightening.
That also seemed apparent on the finish line when she horizontally laid down on the asphalt for minutes, worn out. :(

http://img4.hostingpics.net/pics/625142ANNSOPHIEDUYCKGvA20161012.png
(Gazet van Antwerpen)
 
Re:

Jonhard said:
It's poor for Thuringen and not what they deserve, for want of a better phrase. The new WWT broom sweeping away some established races seems a possibility.

It seems to be the way the UCI is heading, more women's versions of traditional men's events. If it means more coverage and publicity... well it might not make it ok, but there may be a silver lining of sorts. Despite the presence of quality races like Thuringen, Giro Rosa, Bira etc, the women's game doesn't (imo) currently provide enough stability for teams. They need to be on telly more often.
That's why I say I have mixed feelings. I feel really sad for Thüringen to be one of the races that gets hurt though, as it's such a high profile traditional race and has stood by the women for a long time and carved out a really good niche. Bira's move to April may well be a pre-emptive move, it was about gaining a calendar slot that would be ideal for the preparations for the Ardennes, ahead of Flèche and with a women's Amstel and potentially LBL coming. It also has the benefit of moving it to directly after the Vuelta al País Vasco, which helps with the calendar slot in terms of advertising and marketing the event as well - the race began as a women's counterpart to the Euskal Bizikleta, and has stayed in the Bizikleta's old calendar spot when that merged with the Itzulia until this year. If they can utilize that as well as managing to sell themselves as a legit women's País Vasco (which is what they essentially are of course) and build the race up that way, then all the better. They got better TV coverage for it this year, which was nice, unfortunately the parcours wasn't the race's most inspiring and when we got the live coverage they had passed the biggest mountains of the day and were on the rolling run-in. At the same time, we got an hour's live coverage from the Emakumeen Bira and that is a great step forward. If we'd got the last hour of the last stage in 2015 it could have been phenomenal, with the GC on the line, three great riders within 2" of one another duelling in the climbs, and just following it on Twitter was intense.

I do think there's a possibility that some of the existing races may need to pair with men's races in some way to try to help with that danger or integrate into packages of races around WT events (a bit like the Trittico Lombardo I guess), because at the end of the day, the WWT is only a recent creation, and we have had women's AGR in the past but it died off in the post-van Moorsel days, we don't want to kill off long-established races but integrate them, and alienating the organizers like that is not a good thing; we need there to be races to pick up the pieces if it doesn't succeed and those men's races drop the women's version like AGR and Sanremo did in the past. The Boels Rentals and Lotto Tours are in back to back races, they could feasibly merge into one long stage race and become like a 9-10 day race, like the Eneco Tour deluxe; the Festival Elsy Jacobs is conveniently located not long after Flèche so may be harmed by a full Ardennes week. Trentino is a Giro tune-up so doesn't really need moving, just covering better, same as the Giro itself which is fine in July. California is tied to the men's event (and is pretty new anyway).
 
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Alas, the way the recent Thuringen/La Course news has come out doesn't bode well for a co-ordinated approach the calendar. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

P.s. l'm enjoying the Belgian info :) I can read a little bit of Dutch/Vlaams but I rarely get the idioms.
 
Re:

Jonhard said:
P.s. l'm enjoying the Belgian info :) I can read a little bit of Dutch/Vlaams but I rarely get the idioms.
I got some great interviews of Jolien D'Hoore. ;)


Gazet van Antwerpen, yesterday.

Jolien D'Hoore will only be satisfied with gold.

What Belgium does not have in the men's race they have in the women's race: a top sprinter.

So Jolien is working with a manager who cares for her agenda. It's no consequence of the bronze medal, she's been working with him for about a year but after Rio, he was really needed. However contacts did not come from sponsors. Financially nothing changed for her except the 20,000€ bonus from the Belgian Olympic Committee. In other countries it's different, she says.

Because of the medal, it was very easy for her to focus again on another objective because she's got less pressure now. Her season is a success anyway. Her prep on the track for Rio was ideal for the Worlds. It's a lot different for the women who raced road in Rio and had a damn hard route in contrast with the pan flat Worlds route. She realises that she's made the transition very comfortably. The first two weeks after Rio was a lot of decompression, one week absolutely no bike but she started training back straight after being back home and in the meantime she won that race in Spain, so the good legs are still there.

Last year she also was a top favourite but she's rarely been so disappointed. She and the federation had expected more. In retrospect she realised that the route was harder than expected. This ear it's different. The route is taylor-made for her. It's a unique chance. In Austria and Norway in the next two years, he route won't suit her.

She regrets a lot that women are not making a loop in the desert like men do because she loves good echelon races. They only stay on the local circuit on the Pearl. For them it just becomes a big criterium. Though with women you never know. With the heat it can become a battle of exhaustion whereby only a small group will sprint for the wind. Besides, unlike with the men, there are no big groups capable of controlling the race. If within the last 5k there's an attack, it might not be possible to catch it back. A surprise sure is possible.

She rates the Olympics higher than the Worlds because you have them every 4 years while you have Worlds every year.



Article of De Morgen today.

Jolien claimed that during the Boels Rental Tour she felt every day better. National coach Ludwig Willems said even though she invested a lot on the Olympics ou could hardly talk about decompression, she started training back very hard for the Worlds.

The five teammates are all at her service (multitalented) Lotte Kopecky, Vekemans, Demey, De Vuyst and Van der Meulen. She's hoping for a quiet race in which she can wheelsuck all day long and pop up in the last 200m.

She has never raced in such hot conditions but she trained for it in the Leuven climate chamber. It was suffering, undoable.



(Belang van Limburg, TODAY)

Anisha Vekemans has also trained in the climate room of the Bakala Academy but she could hardly recover from it. A few das after wads she was supposed to race with Junior men in Herk-De-Stad but she retired early in the race. Gerben Thijssen claims that you have to see what it brings in in Qatar because it is different than a climate chamber. Anisha claims that everybody knows her task in the team and that hopefully will bring Jolien to the win. Jolien has the best chances, she's a sprinter and she proved in Madrid that she was preparing okay for the Worlds.
 
van der Meulen has also moved over to Lotto-Soudal along with Annelies Dom and promising Dutch teenager Puck Moonen, who also has one of the coolest names in cycling. They to an extent replace Susanna Zorzi who's moving over to Drops as they look to up their continental program to help with the rider development, especially having kept a hold of Alice Barnes who looks to be developing into a very interesting rider.

So... who are the contenders for tomorrow?

GREAT BRITAIN:
Obvious leader is Deignan/Armitstead, seeing as she is the defending champion. She is of course strong in a group sprint, especially if it's been thinned out a bit, so they'll want the likes of Dani King to hammer the pace to try to burn off some of the sprinters who may suffer in the heat if Lizzie feels good. Form is a bit hard to tell, since the Olympics she's been far from her best, but she was strong in the TTT last weekend. Other options are Hannah Barnes who's a strong sprinter, and her younger sister for whom a flat Worlds has probably come a couple of years too soon.

NETHERLANDS:
Obviously a super-stacked super-team with probably only van Dijk and Knetemann who will be pure domestique engines, although Anna VDB and Annemiek may be used for that purpose as well given how much less this suits them than Rio, however in Annemiek's case at Rio she wasn't expected to be going as well as she was anyhow. Anna VDB managed to fool the bunch in La Course last year in a pan flat short circuit race akin to this, however that was with the benefit of large crashes and horrendous rain, at least one of which is unlikely in Doha. Pieters will probably mark moves, and with Chantal Blaak and Marianne Vos they have two who can win from any selective group that gets away, and with Kirsten Wild they have the purest power sprinter in the field and the queen of the echelon; not for nothing is she one of the absolute favourites.

USA:
The assumption here is that Coryn Rivera is the likely victory hope, being an excellent rider on the US crit circuit renowned for wide open roads, so likely more applicable to Doha than the Dutch/Belgian type of crit with 476 pieces of road furniture in a 3km circuit. Guarnier is capable from a group but tends to prefer hillier and more mountainous terrain, but they have some strong engines to help engineer that finale or make some interesting escape attempts.

ITALY:
An embarrassment of sprinting riches, but the big question is whether any can outmuscle the fastest. With four rainbow jerseys split between three riders in the team, they've got a lot of experience, and also riders who've shown themselves good in heat - both Guarischi and Bronzini won flat stages in excruciating heat in the Giro Rosa in the last two seasons. Also, the longer a race is, the more of a contender Giorgia Bronzini becomes, as she is very much like a female Óscar Freire in her style - he won three rainbow jerseys, could she replicate his feat? The other ace in the hole is Marta Bastianelli, who won the 2007 Worlds solo and has a very storied career, having now reinvented herself since motherhood as a durable sprinter par excellence. Having said that winning the rainbow stripes so young more or less ruined her career as she wasn't ready for what it entailed and made poor choices following it, it would be one hell of a redemption story. She also has some of the best engines in the bunch in Guderzo and Longo Borghini on side.

AUSTRALIA:
The Aussies have rather incredibly chosen some riders who don't ride for Orica. Mainly because their fastest finisher is Chloe Hosking, who rides for Wiggle. She has to be considered one of the absolute contenders for the victory, having won similar styled races like La Course and Chongming. She's a very fast finisher who goes well in the heat, and if she struggles they have Sarah Roy as a backup option who is also a strong sprinter. Rowney also has a fast finish and will probably be a quality leadout unless something happens to the sprinters, but Cromwell and Elvin will be likely to involve themselves in late group moves.

POLAND:
The Poles, despite the fact the majority of their country is flat, don't really have a sprinting option. Bujak and Pawlowska have both won sprints this year, but this has mostly been in rolling and hilly terrain. Bujak's win was at Plouay against a world class field, mind - however while they may at least try to be active don't expect the likes of Plichta and Niewiadoma to play key parts in the race like they did in Rio or Plumelec.

CANADA:
Leah Kirchmann is probably their best shot at this, though she will need a fairly trimmed down group to be the fastest. She went well in Chongming though, so she's not a rank outsider. They have decent domestiques here, Numainville will also offer a potential option, but the strongest helper is Canuel who the course doesn't really suit.

SWEDEN:
Emilia Fahlin won a sprint from a group, rather surprisingly, at Vårgårda, but who am I kidding? Emma J all the way. She will either finish 3rd or way down, and then retire without ever getting that big career defining victory and everybody should be saddened by that.

GERMANY:
The biggest problem Germany have is the opposite to their men: here they don't have a truly world class sprinter to finish the job, even though they have probably the finest corps of time triallists to pull the bunch and set the pace of anybody, with Brennauer, Worrack, Kasper and Kröger. Brennauer will probably have to be reserved as sprinter as she has a very strong kick (winning the 2015 Aviva Women's Tour utilizing the bonus seconds), but she's not a pure sprinter.

FRANCE:
The French, by contrast, have exactly the same problem as their men: a few different sprinting options who need a slightly more selective race and who could potentially get in each other's way in Fournier, Jeuland and Biannic, but only one world class engine to help control the race, in Audrey Cordon.

SOUTH AFRICA:
Will hope that the race is more selective than anticipated and they can do something with Ash, who scored pretty much all of their qualification points.

BELGIUM:
The last of the 6-woman teams, they are all out for the sprint, as per the newspaper cuttings above. Jolien d'Hoore has to be considered among the favourites, over the last 2 years she has shown herself one of the strongest sprinters in the women's field after finally completing studies and devoting herself full time to the sport. The absence of Kaat Hannes, the Belgian champion, is slightly odd, though with Kopecky and van der Meulen they will have a pretty useful leadout.

BELARUS:
Amialiusik is flying solo and the course doesn't suit her. The only other world class rider they have is Tuhai who is about as well-suited to this as Kirsten Wild is to the Mortirolo - she likes the cold and climbing.

RUSSIA:
No sprinting options that I can see here unless Syradoeva who I know little about is one. Some useful TT skills, however, with Vasilieva and Zabelinskaya so maybe they'll try a late flyer.

FINLAND:
The Finns actually have one of the fastest sprinters out there in Lotta Lepistö, however this kind of heat is not something that she's either used to or keen on, and the three riders protecting her will have a pretty tough task through the day, though I think Väinionpää has potential.

SWITZERLAND:
Nicole Hänselmann is flying solo. She got a surprise stage win in the Tour of Norway but competing here alone is a thankless task with the likes of Schweizer and Neff not competing.

LUXEMBOURG:
Christine Majerus has a good finishing kick but could do with this being really selective. Three riders only counts against her too.

UKRAINE:
No sprinters, all time triallists.

SPAIN:
Sheyla Gutiérrez is a half decent sprinter, but the support is limited and she's usually a placements rider through the season anyhow so a medal here would be a hell of an achievement.

DENMARK:
The most interesting of the three-woman teams, with Amalie Dideriksen having shown a turn of pace in the Boels Rentals Tour and excellent strength in the AWT. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is another great prospect although seemingly needing a hillier course after her excellent performances in the Lotto Belgium Tour and the Euros at Plumelec, while Leth is more experienced and reads a race well.

OTHER NATIONS:
Ting Ying Huang is perhaps the first name to jump out at you after her heroics in Chongming, although she's not been able to replicate that when brought into the European péloton in July. Anything can happen in a one-off sprint though, one crash or favourite taking a bad line opens up all kinds of possibilities, and we know she has the speed. Lithuania's Rasa Leleivyte has had a bit of a comeback year following a readjustment to her position in the péloton after her doping ban. She's shown herself to be more adept in punchy terrain, but as a young rider she was a sprinter with Safi so she can finish well, having almost made the reverse career transition to Bastianelli. Croatia's Mia Radotic is a pretty useful sprinter but I would have thought the field is a bit much for her even if she wasn't racing solo.



I fully expect the race to be boring. Sorry to say it, but I do. I really hope we don't see a repeat of København, where the poor quality of the race becomes a stick to beat women's cycling with, because we've seen so much positive progress since then, and we've seen some really great races, some hidden (the Giro stage to Signora della Guardia or Strade Bianche, for example) and some we've been able to watch (Plouay, Olympic Road Race). Back then, that race was given as exhibit A in the "women's cycling is boring!" argument, and given the men's race was equally shingle-inducing, I felt that while I agreed it was a terrible race, it was unfairly seized upon given good races at Mendrisio, Varese and Beijing.

I do feel that people are more happy to agree that poor racing at these Worlds is the fault of a terrible parcours rather than the fault of the riders, however, as understandably during the week the races, the lack of fans and the conditions have understandably faced massive criticism. I do hope I'm wrong, but this is going to be a bunch sprint with a few unsuccessful attempts in the latter third of the race to make something of it.
 
Sep 30, 2014
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I really like Jolien, there's something very straightfoward about her. Thanks for the clippings mijnheer Echoes. I have tipped her for the win but I'm worried it will be too hot.

I fear LS is correct that the race won't be a cracker, just too many strong teams looking for a sprint. But could the heat be a wildcard? If Wild is flagging the Dutch could attempt to rip it up early and get Vos, Blaak, Pieters in a small group. Doesn't seem likely tbh.
 
Re:

Jonhard said:
Alas, the way the recent Thuringen/La Course news has come out doesn't bode well for a co-ordinated approach the calendar. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

P.s. l'm enjoying the Belgian info :) I can read a little bit of Dutch/Vlaams but I rarely get the idioms.
So, Peter van den Veen has been going through the calendar with a fine comb, and from what I can gather, it sounds like we're NOT going to be pleasantly surprised.

They've put Emakumeen Bira's slot directly head to head with Amstel Gold for 2017, which not only doesn't get to be WWT but is potentially going to be killed by the move according to Yolanda Álvarez, a good source on women's cycling in Spain, because they won't be able to bring in any of the big names. They can't move it back a week because it would clash with País Vasco. The race is one of the oldest on the calendar at over 30 years, and the UCI offered them a new date in February as a "compromise", which the organizers understandably thought was a joke (ever been to the Basque Country in February?). They've already invested €300.000 in the upcoming edition to be dicked around like this, and there's a lot of concern amongst organizers of established standalone races that the WWT is basically running roughshod over the calendar to homologate with the men before there's the strength in depth among the teams to be able to run like that. They feel, and not without justification, that long-established races which have shown viability are well-consolidated and should be respected. Along with Thüringen, which is almost as old as the Emakumeen Bira (Bira is one year older), this is pretty sad. Also: La Course is still a one-day race on the Champs Elysées, so Thüringen had no reason to be messed around with in the first place, unless the UCI is just flexing its muscles to keep the ASO happy and prevent races backing too closely in to one another.

There are four new WWT races for next year:
- Amstel Gold Race
- Liège-Bastogne-Liège
- Ladies' Tour of Norway
- Boels Rentals Ladies Tour

So, that's two stage races which are rolling to hilly, and two hilly one-day races, three of which are in the same part of the world, and apart from Liège none of which could really be considered for climbers, instead tipping the balance of the WWT further in the direction it is already heavily biased.

On the plus side, there are the following outright new races outside of the WWT:
- Tour del Sur (one week stage race in Chile in February, probably a replacement for San Luís)
- Vuelta al Comunidad Valenciana (four day race in March)
- Dwars door Vlaanderen (one day race in late March)
- GP Boise (one day race in July).

However, despite it having been long stated as part of the WWT from 2017, it seems no Giro dell'Emilia at that level unless that's still in negotiations.

The following races are missing from the calendar:
- Tour of Udon
- Udon Thani
- Vuelta Feminil (Costa Rica I think?)
- NEA International (Finland)
- all four Venezuelan one day races
- Holland Hills Classic
- Auensteiner Radsporttage
- Czech TT (standalone)
- Tour Féminin de Brétagne
- Tour de l'Ardêche

Some of these may just be registering late - the two French races I would expect to see in some form anyhow. NEA I think will run but not as a UCI race, given the field drawn the cost of the licensing etc. may have been problematic. Also the Holland Hills Classic has been rendered perhaps a little redundant by Amstel Gold. Most of the rest are 'pop-up' races that were announced late last year to enable teams to secure favourable chances of qualifying riders for the Olympics, so it's no surprise to see them fall by the wayside after Rio has passed.

So, yea, the UCI are marginalizing and hurting 30-year-old established hilly and mountainous stage races, including one of the few real climber's races on the calendar, and establishing more races which suit the same type of rider as already has the lion's share of the calendar targeted towards them. Pretty miffed about this, to be honest.
 

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