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The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Unfortunately no broadcast though I'll keep eyes peeled for whether some short reportage makes its way online.

It's a shame not to see because it sounds like an interesting climax, decided by a five-woman breakaway leading to one of those rare things indeed - a Spanish victory in a Northern Classic. In fairness, Sheyla Gutiérrez (for it was she who won) was probably the fastest sprinter of the five who duked out the finish, although Amy Pieters is similarly quick and is much more proven than the Basque from a small group and in conditions such as these, so it's quite a scalp for Sheyla to have taken. Third place on the podium went to Tiffany Cromwell, the Australian now more or less qualifies as a veteran and though she doesn't get too many wins she's always there or thereabouts and is no slouch in a dash to the line herself. Romy Kasper and Jessy Druyts were the other two in the group to contest the win but, lacking in a sprint weapon, lost a few seconds sitting up at the line. It's the biggest win of Gutiérrez's career, the 23-year-old having previously only tasted victory in the GP Plumelec as a pro in 2015, along with a few domestic events in Spain during her Lointek days.

The next group back was a quartet, with Ellen van Dijk, Hannah Barnes, Małgorzata Jasińska and Janneke Ensing, but although 6th place was on the line it's not a WWT event and so I'm not sure if they contested the minor placing, on the basis that I would anticipate Barnes outsprints Ellen 99 times out of 100 and she didn't... the large group came in around two and a half minutes down, led by Christina Siggaard of Veloconcept, although ahead of Kirsten Wild, Jip van den Bos and Chloe Hosking, so presumably even if it was a bit half hearted they sprinted to the line!

1 Sheyla Gutiérrez Ruíz (Cylance Pro Cycling) ESP 2'40'21
2 Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) NED +st
3 Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) AUS +2"
4 Romy Kasper (Alé-Cipollini) GER +7"
5 Jessy Druyts (Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx) BEL +12"
6 Eleonora van Dijk (Team Sunweb) NED +1'53"
7 Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) GBR +st
8 Małgorzata Jasińska (Cylance Pro Cycling) POL +st
9 Janneke Ensing (Alé-Cipollini) NED +1'56"
10 Christina Siggaard (Team Veloconcept Women) DEN +2'18"

Worth noting the successful start to the season for Cylance after a very slow build last year - perhaps too much reliance on Olds before her injury? Similarly, the new, more cosmopolitan Alé have been very visible, although a) Marta won Hageland last year so they kicked off last year strong too, and b) how could they not be visible in those jerseys? WM3 by contrast have had a very quiet start, though obviously Vos not racing leaves them rather headless in these flatter and rolling races that don't give Kasia the chance to showcase the best of her skills, and with Koster's off-season rather hampered by her Doha crash it seems a fairly benign opening to the season is to be expected from them.
 
Yeah, I'm sad-face more races aren't being broadcast live.
In fact, this is something I think should be a requirement; if a men's and women's edition of the same race is being held on the same day - as with Samyn yesterday and Strade Bianche Saturday - then it should be a required that the organisers also provide live-footage of the women's race, as in; more than just the last 500 metres. Should be quite easy; just send a camera crew along with the women as well, eventually stick to enough motos to be able to cover the front group and the main pack, and every-now-and-then send (one of) the helicopters out the find the woman's race. Then simply cut back-and-forth between the men's and the women's race as appropriate.
 
Well, Strade Bianche is on now, and apparently the last hour is live... on Eurosport player. For people like me who have Eurosport via Sky tv, that still means paying £6 for a day pass. It feels churlish to complain, but that's quite expensive for an hour of streaming. :Neutral:

If you subscribe to the player already, you're in luck.
 
Should be a strong race, last year's was an excellent race which blew up some way from home and left us with an interesting climax with Emma J slightly off her best and with Elisa behind trying to run intereference, and Niewiadoma trying unsuccessfully to get rid of Armitstead on the run-in because she'd lose a sprint to her 100 times out of 100.

Now going by her married name of Deignan, of course, Lizzie is back to defend, but her form is more unknown as last year the race came off the back of her demonstration in Omloop. Boels are down one rider because of van der Breggen having to pull out at the eleventh hour, but they do have the World Champion (although given the parcours it may be domestique duty for her to day), Canuel and Majerus to work, and Megan Guarnier, the WWT overall winner of last year, as a second bullet in their gun. Apart from Anna's missing out though, the race is a veritable stream of big guns. Canyon have Pauline Ferrand-Prévot making her debut with the team, again hard to tell her form given her troubled 2016, but Elena Cecchini will lead and she's a versatile all-rounder with a good racing brain. Worrack will be aggressive, Cromwell is showing form after Le Samyn and Amialiusik is suited to this race. For Orica, it's likely to be all about Annemiek, although Katrin Garfoot by virtue of a strong pre-season in Australia is at the top in respect of the CQ rankings this year. Sunweb are nominally led by Lucinda Brand, though Leah Kirchmann's breakout season began with her great showing here in Strade Bianche, and Floortje's prospects continue to be strong as she comes back from injury. Wiggle are full strength with Elisa and Claudia both here to give them options which are pretty much solely about attacking as it would be a pretty surprising group that would enable either of them to win a sprint, while if the racing is tighter, Giorgia Bronzini is riding and is more versatile than most of her fellow sprinters.

WM3 also have the benefit of the return to the team of Eddy Merckx. Merckx has been absent for a bit however, so like Lizzie and Pauline her form is unknown, but the team also have Kasia who was 2nd here last year. The team doesn't have the same depth as last year, but I would expect Lauren Kitchen at least to be on hand until late in the day, while Anna Plichta's rapport with Kasia is well-known and she has a tendency to produce early moves and attacks to help work the bunch down for her friend. Cervélo have the benefit of providing Ash with some secondary options as they've recruited well, Ludwig is the most likely as she's a real prospect for punchy races. Cylance have started the season well with Jasinska being visible - she was a key attacker from the chase in last year's race and likes the parcours here - and Sheyla Gutiérrez's victory in Le Samyn. Also in case the weather makes the race a bit more tentative, there's a lot of teams bringing frontline sprinters who you wouldn't expect to be all that prominent if the race is aggressive, such as Chloe Hosking for the new-look Alé-Cipollini team and Coryn Rivera for Sunweb.

Lensworld only have four riders, but they include Tatiana Guderzo and Maria Giulia Confalonieri so they may be more competitive than expected, too.
 
Spectacular finale, helped mainly by the almost ultimate steal from Lucinda Brand, considering we didn't even know she was chasing across with Gillow until she went off the front, and Gillow's move was beautifully executed as well. That final kilometre is a brutal one though, it really feels like it lasts forever, and with those slippy stones in that rain, I'm not surprised riders were pretty circumspect. Last year, of course, it was a head to head with Niewiadoma trying to drop Armitstead there and Lizzie coming back, this year with the group slightly larger, there was less need for the early move. Lizzie was not placed so well, and of course this is the start of her season where she already had a couple of days in her legs last year, so she wasn't quite on the destroyer form she had this time last year. She also wasn't helped by the speed with which they caught Brand as it looks like she was caught out positioning wise by having to move around the ailing Sunweb rider (seriously, I have a major problem with that "#creatingmemories" down the sides of the jersey, the worst kind of corporate drivel) giving a slight amount of space to the front two. Now, Elisa and Kasia are two riders whose sprints are among the least potent of the big guns, so it wasn't until they'd both safely negotiated the final corner that I thought the top two were safe, but we get a popular home winner, last year's winner on the podium and a second runners-up spot for Kasia in consecutive years.

Beggin is a good spot, the Astana team have a few good young Italians. I think Fidanza is the pick of them at present, but Beggin is two years younger and that's a very good result in a tough race here. Also Ludwig going top 10 again in a tough hilly race - takes a fair bit of pressure off Ash as she recovers from injury too.
 
Cyclingnews has a startlist up for the next WWT round, the Ronde van Drenthe in NL this Saturday.

It overlaps the Semana Ciclista Valenciana, a four day 2.2. race that starts with a short TTT tomorrow. ELB was listed to start for Wiggle but has been replaced by Emilia Fahlin... the team is otherwise the one that rode Strade, quite strong and probably the core hilly race squad: Lichtenberg, Hagiwara, Bronzini, Cordon, Roberts. Bigla and Ale Cippolini are at the race too, with contenders, but no Boels, Sunweb, WM3, Canyon, Orica etc. A stretch to put out two sixes for many teams, and the WWT takes priority.

Wiggle will use every available rider on Saturday. Quite impressive that newish teams like Drops and Lares-Waow can field two decent looking teams.

My theory is that ELB has switched to Drenthe to give the WWT leader's jersey an outing by joining up with the flatland squad: D'hoore, Garners L and G, Edmondson, Leth.
 
Re:

GuyIncognito said:
I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected

Good show, and impressive from Duyck yesterday too. I'm not seeing much info on the race beyond the results.

People looking at this thread may already know, but tomorrow's WWT race in Drenthe is live from 2pm online at RTVDrenthe. :surprised: I guess that's local time in NL.

Most of the big guns are racing and there are cobbled bits and the VAMberg for lols.
 
Re:

GuyIncognito said:
I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected

I remember noticing her for the first time at the Tour Feminino de San Luis last year when she was riding for the Cuban national team. She came second on the MTF and then the next day won a big bunch sprint. I looked her up then and found that she was winning metric tonnes of smaller races. She looked like a freak talent but I assumed we wouldn't get to see her on a trade team.

It is interesting to see that the change to a world level doesn't seem to have stopped her from winning. I wonder if it means that the Latin American women's scene is closer in level to the European pros than I would have assumed or if she is just a complete outlier.
 
Re: Re:

Jonhard said:
GuyIncognito said:
I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected

Good show, and impressive from Duyck yesterday too. I'm not seeing much info on the race beyond the results.

People looking at this thread may already know, but tomorrow's WWT race in Drenthe is live from 2pm online at RTVDrenthe. :surprised: I guess that's local time in NL.

Most of the big guns are racing and there are cobbled bits and the VAMberg for lols.

Link?
 
Re: Re:

RedheadDane said:
Jonhard said:
GuyIncognito said:
I was expecting Sierra to do well in Europe, but 2 wins in the first 3 races is more than I expected

Good show, and impressive from Duyck yesterday too. I'm not seeing much info on the race beyond the results.

People looking at this thread may already know, but tomorrow's WWT race in Drenthe is live from 2pm online at RTVDrenthe. :surprised: I guess that's local time in NL.

Most of the big guns are racing and there are cobbled bits and the VAMberg for lols.

Link?

http://www.rtvdrenthe.nl/sport

Dutch only, but I remember it being fairly easy to use last year.

Also a live ticker (will appear) here, if you want to follow the first half...

http://www.rondevandrenthe.nl/programma/dames/women-s-world-tour-ronde-van-drenthe

Edit - it's not really a ticker, just one of those things that shows where the peleton is on the route.

Should be live in 20. Alternative host here http://www.rtvoost.mobi/uitzendinggemist/uitzending.aspx?uid=423774
 
Pretty good day for the Danish ladies. :cool:
What with Dideriksen winning Drenthe and Ludwig - if my calculations are correct - winning the overall in Valencia. She had a 16 seconds buffer to Sierra and finished in the same time as her. (Though Vilmann may have dropped off the podium...)
 
Good effort Amalie to be in the attack that stuck. She was fastest on paper of the four I'd say, but fastest after 150km was not a certainty.

At the time i was thinking Dhoore could have given them in turn in the chase, because ELB was always likely to finish 4th from that group. But I think Wiggle also had an eye on the Wwt leader's jersey, having switched up her schedule to defend it here. She'll keep that, and the next round is Cittiglio which she's won before.
 
Because the unkind and unloving gods scheduled the races to clash with the Holmenkollen 50, I have just been catching up with the race and watching the footage. We got a fairly nice little Classics climax, with a few different compositions of final move until the one that stuck was made. Naturally it was a move containing Elena Cecchini, because she has almost unparalleled instinct for the right moment to make an attack to compose such a group, or to know which attack is the one that she needs to follow. With Boels having 5 riders in the selection of 15 made by the tough part of the course, it was pretty inevitable they'd get somebody in there, and after Pieters had been the one to follow most of the earlier moves it was the World Champion they got into the one that stuck. The group behind always had them in sight but couldn't get them because you had a classic Classics paradox; the strongest engines for pulling the group back don't want to tow the likes of Hosking and d'Hoore to the line, so want them to do the work, but d'Hoore isn't going to do a turn to pull back her teammate, plus with two Boels riders in the group - both of whom have a pretty decent finish, plus with 5 in the 15 have done less work foraging alone than most of the others, plus with the fastest sprinter in the front group are under no obligation to contribute - that created further dead weight in the group. The sprint of the quartet played out as expected as well; the fastest finisher won, after the one without a sprint tried to take them by surprise in to the final corner, then Brand tried a long one to try to capitalise on the longer distance of the race in the hope that the younger Dideriksen would have less in the tank.

The real warning shot, however, was fired by the race's attrition rate. Boels stuck 5 in the final 15, and this without Deignan or Guarnier, their two highest scorers last season. WM3 only had Vos at the business end, and she sits out Drentse 8 tomorrow too, and many teams were down to only a couple of finishers what with the short finishing circuit. Annemiek's little dig at the end is a smart move - without much cooperation in the chasing group and with a number of strong sprinters in it, that was a nice way to secure some good World Tour points, and we know that Annemiek excels in short technical courses with 1000 pieces of road furniture because of her prologue domination. Drops should be super excited by Alice Barnes' performance as well, stronger than her more decorated older sister, although we've known for a while Alice is a real prospect, getting where she did in today's lengthy race with such an attrition rate is quite the day in the saddle. Also, with Anna VDB and Amy Pieters being among those dropped in the group, that 2 of Boels' 3 at the front are just 20 (Dideriksen obviously, and also Jip van den Bos) is a scary thought for their longevity as well. With the race not really suiting the same people as Strade Bianche, the fact that Longo Borghini has good rouleur chops as well helps her retain the WT leaders' jersey - although in fairness the type of rouleur skills she has aren't that transferable to the run-in at Drenthe, more the cobbles and short hills bit...

Happy to see the semi-return of the Semana Ciclista Valenciana (really a Media Semana Ciclista Valenciana of course) and also quite pleased with the results. Obviously a TTT in a short race with a mixed field between the pro teams and the lower level national and international péloton has the potential to skew things but it was pleasingly short, favouring sprint and short distance specialists and preventing the stacked lineups of teams like Wiggle from running away with things. The biggest shame, really, is that the Spanish homegrown péloton doesn't really have the strength to compete here, and the strongest Spanish women's rider this season so far has been Sheyla Gutiérrez who was racing in Drenthe. BePink won the TTT, giving veteran Silvia Valsecchi the first race lead, but they only just squeaked past the Cervélo-Bigla team, who had their hilly arm in Spain now that they've expanded the team to give themselves the option of two races at once (last year running with just 9 riders, this was not possible of course).

The second stage, around Gandia, was the most decisive one, a hilly trip of 101km that was won in a break of two by Belgian time trial specialist Ann-Sophie Duyck for the British Drops team, another team that has upgraded itself for 2017 taking on more athletes and looking very competitive in the early season. It seemed like a mutually beneficial agreement with Cervélo's Danish puncheuse Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, another promising young talent who caught a lot of eyes last season with her late season performances, and she took the race lead as a result, ahead of a splintered group of 20 which was led home in the sprint by Marta Bastianelli, although the group mainly contained most of the strongest riders for hilly terrain in the race - Lichtenberg, Moolman-Pasio, Ritter, Leleivyte, along with versatile sprint types like Bronzini. Nobody from the BePink team made the selection so they tumbled down the standings leaving the Cervélo girls locking out the podium. It was at this point I realised that Svetlana Kuznetsova is Svetlana Vasilieva under a married name, and therefore she doesn't have a team for 2017 and this is bizarre to me.

Stage 3 was a short and fast blast around Alicante, which went to a sprint although the group was trimmed down to around 60. Arlenis Sierra, the Cuban who won more than anybody else last year, although much of it in Latin American and "pop-up" races, imposed herself on the sprint, for her first pro win with Astana (she won a national calendar race last week, outsprinting Bastianelli) ahead of Bronzini and Katie Archibald for the WNT team. Having won the Tour de Brétagne last year, she's shown a better propensity for adapting to the European péloton than most who come across from the minor calendars in Latin America already.

Finally, on today's stage, the last day of the race, WNT capped off a pretty successful short excursion to Spain with a stage win from Irish national champion Lydia Boylan, who just held off a charging péloton by three seconds. I believe it's her first UCI win other than her nationals. Also, Kelly Druyts surprised us all by finishing ahead of all the big guns in the sprint, with Archibald (who turns 23 tomorrow) popping up for 3rd ahead of the two ex-World Champions, Bronzini and Bastianelli. Cecilie was safely tucked inside the péloton with her Cervélo teammates alert to any and all moves, to enable her to win her second pro stage race after the Tour de Féminin Krasná Lipá last year. The time bonuses meant it wasn't a lockout for the team, however, as Sierra managed to squeeze her way into the middle of the Cervélo party, while Duyck will be ruing not taking that extra second or two from the chasing bunch in the Gandia stage, as this could have put her on the podium, as it was she had to settle for 5th. The top ranked Spanish rider is Eider Merino, the 22-year-old Basque for Lointek finishing 21st.

1 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla) DEN 7'08'41
2 Arlenis Sierra Cañadilla (Astana) CUB +11"
3 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla) RSA +20"
4 Marie Schousbø Vilmann (Cervélo-Bigla) DEN +20"
5 Ann-Sophie Duyck (Drops Cycling) BEL +21"
6 Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High 5) ITA +27"
7 Lara Vieceli (Astana) ITA +29"
8 Claudia Lichtenberg (Wiggle-High 5) GER +33"
9 Marta Bastianelli (Alé-Cipollini) ITA +42"
10 Kelly van den Steen (Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx) BEL +44"
 
It was at this point I realised that Svetlana Kuznetsova is Svetlana Vasilieva under a married name, and therefore she doesn't have a team for 2017 and this is bizarre to me.

Sure it's not the tennis player? :p

But, yeah. If it's the fact that she changed her name that's the reason she doesn't have a team that is bizarre. After all, Elizabeth Deignan (Armitstead) and Nikki Brammeier (Harris) still have teams despite changing their names...
 
No, it's more that I thought Vasilieva justified a contract, but because she'd changed her name when I saw her on startlists I hadn't realized Kuznetsova was her. I simply found it bizarre that nobody had offered her a contract, or that if she had been offered one she'd turned it down.

Anyway, following the Ronde van Drenthe we have the smaller Drentse 8 van Westerveld, which uses much of the same area and two climbs of the VAM-Berg over a slightly shorter route than the more illustrious neighbour. Local TV had a short summary which was posted by prominent women's cycling source and magpie Sarah Connolly.

The race featured much of the same péloton as the WWT race, obviously, though a couple of key names such as Vos were missing. Although a bit more suited to the bunch than the Ronde van Drenthe, the group did splinter and come back several times and attrition paid for many, which allowed opportunities for key breakaways. The most important came with around 4km to go when the bunch somehow allowed Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen, two of the toughest time trial engines out there, to escape together, but they eventually pulled them back and the reduced péloton fought out the sprint.

In said sprint, Chloe Hosking was the clear class of the bunch, opening up a very significant gap which serves as an imposing warning to the other sprinters in the women's bunch that she means business - Lotte Kopecky managed to squeeze ahead of Dideriksen for 2nd, but yesterday's winner managed to get the rainbow jersey on to the podium for a second time in the weekend.