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The Women's Road Racing Thread 2017

Page 27 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
My spidey-sense tingled correctly, Rooijakkers to Waowdeals as in Molteni made much more sense, and indeed the 24-year-old has made the jump to join the former WM3 squad. She's a good but not elite climber, but 4th on San Miguel de Áralar and a top 10 on GC at the Emakumeen Bira, 9th in the Giro del Trentino and a stage win on Mont Lozère in the Tour de l'Ardêche point to decent prospects for the former Parkhotel Valkenburg rider who was cut by Boels-Dolmans as a 20-year-old when they started building the current super-team. With Niewiadoma gone they will obviously not have any major leader besides Vos, so Rooijakkers and Stultiens will likely have plenty of freedom in the races for escaladoras.

The team has also brought in Monique van de Ree, confusingly enough from the Lares-Waowdeals team. She's a 29-year-old rouleuse with a fast finish, who has bounced around the Benelux scene for a few years but has been racking up countless top 10s on the Dutch and Belgian domestic races in the last two years, as well as a decent 7th place in the Madrid Challenge in 2016. I suspect given her powerful burst she may be utilised in many races as a leadout for Vos or Markus, but in some races she'll be the team's preferred sprinter too - there is a slight concern that they may do an FDJ (either the men a few years ago or the women more recently) or Alé-Cipollini and have two or even three riders each contesting the finish for their own goals and getting placements.
 
Dani K has changed her twitter to Dani Rowe, so I guess so.

Two Druyts have gone to Lares after all that hilarious bantz.

Wiggle have announced Katie Archibald this morning.

And Audrey Cordon-Ragot won the Chrono des Nations, and in her French TT champ kit too.
 
It’s Kelly and Demmy to Lares (I’m leaving out Waowdeals, too confusing)…

Still a few names with 2018 team to be decided. Plichta and Scandolara are leaving WM3/Waowdeals and you’d think they could find decent teams. Back to BTC for Plichta maybe?
 
Skylar Schneider to Boels - super talent but only 19. Bit of a surprise (to me at least).

Edit – Danny Stam is quoted as saying she could be a trump card in sprints. How d’you like them apples Amelie?

(Actually she seems fine judging by her twitter, but I do feel Boels underplay her sprinting a bit.)
 
Here's a (maybe somewhat crazy?) idea:

Okay, I know the route for next year's La Course has already been announced, so this isn't gonna happen. However, would it have been completely impossible to simply have both the men, and the women ride the route of stage 17 of the TdF? 65 is pretty short for a women's race as well.
Heck, you could even have the men start first, and make sure there's enough time between the two "starting groups" that if a man gets caught by the women, then he'd probably be HD anyway.
 
To be fair on the Schneider signing, she has shown a lot of talent and Boels, despite their very strong position in the sport, have to do a bit of keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to bringing in young talent as, because of their super-strength lineup, they have the problem of needing workhorses, because they are seeing top talents either running out of opportunities for themselves and wanting to move on, as has happened with van Dijk and Pawlowska recently, while the team's workhorses of choice such as Canuel and Majerus merit plenty of freedom for themselves; a couple of years ago Dideriksen was a domestique du jour development project, but her winning the Worlds meant she had to be accommodated as a potential leader as well; having riders like van den Bos and Schneider who have a good turn of pace and are young enough that they still have plenty of learning to do means they will be well-served - especially in Skylar's case because she's a good time triallist too - serving their apprenticeship with the team, while for them it has the benefit of the team not placing any undue expectations on them this early in their careers either. The team has been very quiet in the transfer market, not without reason of course - they have a team which is already flush with incredible talents and a good mix that can cover almost all races with a legit option for victory - so with Pawlowska having a decent turn of pace that she seldom needed to use and being used primarily as a domestique by the team you could even argue it's a like-for-like replacement but with Schneider having much much better room for improvement as a 19-year-old who is hotly tipped. When you look at some of the more active teams in the transfer market, Boels' leadership is a bit more experienced and they want to make sure they have young riders coming through to take up the mantle of leadership.

La Course... mixed feelings as usual. The actual course is pretty good, you know. It's back to having a proper length, and it includes the Romme and Colombière, giving us a genuine climbing race, plus also with the Tour being arranged a week later they have moved it forward in Le Tour. So, first up, my issues with it. I'm a bit concerned by the race being just one rest day after the finish of the Giro Rosa; I think this may affect the startlist simply from a logistic point of view, although admittedly before we know the Giro Rosa route this could be premature - if the Giro is taking a route across the north like in 2015 and we're going to end somewhere in, say, Piemonte, then it will be fine as it's drivable, although obviously it might mean the Giro is reluctant to finish with a major climbing stage in case it affects their startlist or riders whose GC bids aren't going well drop out to focus on La Course. The fact that this move of the Tour to accommodate the World Cup also has a minor problem to me which is that La Course is somewhat buried in the middle of the race (also, it's the first mountain stage of the Tour, so will inevitably garner the majority of the attention) as opposed to at a focal point, as well as being a midweek race again, limiting potential audience. The fact that it's been reduced back to a one day race doesn't in and of itself raise my ire, however the absolute BS justification about the unpopularity of the pursuit suggesting that there isn't the clamour for a longer race absolutely does. Boiling blood level. What absolute level 10 BS. The pursuit race was unpopular because it was announced late in the day, meaning riders and teams didn't have the organization and accommodation all sorted until quite late in the day; the race was unbalanced, omitted several of the riders who might have made for an interesting pursuit, the pursuit didn't pay WT points so was seen as a bit of an exhibition race, and the cameras didn't follow the places where there was an actual fight for positions, because they were far down enough that they weren't really relevant to the result. Of course, that Annemiek won at Izoard was a problem for them because of the strength of her TT, but the problem was not that there wasn't the interest in a multi-day women's race, far from it. The problem was that ASO experimented with a new format in front of one of the biggest audiences the women will see all year, and clearly there were some teething problems that continuing to run the format in smaller races might be able to resolve, or might not, and that they brought it in late in the day, and screwed over organizers of long-standing and long-running women's races to accommodate their event. I'd say that actually, there's plenty of clamour for a longer race. They just didn't do a great job of the one they put together last year. That isn't an issue in and of itself; not every idea you have will be a great one. But the problem was not the women's racing. The problem was the particulars of last year's La Course, and ASO should learn from that and produce a better race by tweaking the format or revisiting how they operate the format, rather than say "that didn't work, so we'll give up" and return to a one-day race, because that reeks of token gestures rather than any actual commitment to developing the sport, which when you consider the coverage for La Flèche Wallonne compared to the Flanders Classics is not a difficult accusation to level at ASO sometimes.

Now for the positives. This is the best one-day race parcours the women have had since... possibly ever. Certainly as long as I can recall. It's a bigger climbers' race than any Worlds in living memory, than any of the one-day editions of the Giro del Trentino. The climbs are markedly steeper than those in the Trofeo Binda and longer than any in the Emakumeen Saria and the Ardennes. There's more than the one, so it has more sustained climbing than we saw in the Rio Olympic road race. And it's not just a mountaintop finish either, so it benefits all-rounder skills which gives an added dynamic since often descending skills are more important in the women's péloton than the men's. It's like a Lombardia, but tougher. The climbing is also sustained enough that team trains are unlikely because the absence of a large number of such mountains in women's racing mean that there aren't really the opportunities to develop a climbing train of the kind we see in the men's races all too often, and a lot of domestiques are likely to disappear as soon as they hit the Romme properly. What's more, the proximity to the Giro does potentially mean that form will not have the chance to wane; this year Anna van der Breggen took a break directly off the Giro and didn't grace La Course, will we see the Giro winner seek to put an exclamation point behind their triumph by winning in a super-tough mountainous one-dayer straight after? Another real benefit of La Course being held like this is that a 120km race with genuine tough mountains will mean that the Giro has to produce something proper to assert its importance as the biggest test of climbing in the women's sport; 2017's Giro was roundly criticised as too lacking in decisive climbing by both fans and riders alike (Annemiek van Vleuten in particular asking the organizers for more selective and harder climbing in the 2018 edition) and they will need to pull out the stops to make sure they don't see some of their prestige eroded. A Romme-Colombière double is going to need some stops pulling out to beat it, so the impact of a good parcours for La Course could go further than just ASO's race in its implications.

Oh yea, but one final negative point: they give us this course after Pooley, Abbott and Lichtenberg have all retired :(
 
...although there is still the Taiwan KOM challenge to take into account of course. A great day for nostalgia, since we got to see Emma Freaking Pooley raise her hands in celebration which is so beyond great it's unreal. It was in fact an all-British podium at the Wuling Pass since she finished ahead of Hayley Simmonds and Emily-Grace Collinge. Not familiar with the latter but it seems she's an endurance and cross-country runner, and she came in just ahead of Claudia Lichtenberg (!).

Emma won by like fourteen hours or something absurd like that, because she's Emma Pooley and we all love that.
 
Re:

yaco said:
As predicted, Australian rider Lucy Kennedy joins the WT with Orica. A recent convert to cycling, 29 year old Kennedy should fit seamlessly into the squad. HER forte will be big engine and ability to at least ride Ardennes typecourses.

Kennedy's season certainly put her on the radar for WWT teams but wasn't 100% sure that Orica would be her destination. However, Neylan's move certainly created a vacancy and she does appear to be a good potential fit skills wise.
 
Re: Re:

dirkprovin said:
yaco said:
As predicted, Australian rider Lucy Kennedy joins the WT with Orica. A recent convert to cycling, 29 year old Kennedy should fit seamlessly into the squad. HER forte will be big engine and ability to at least ride Ardennes typecourses.

Kennedy's season certainly put her on the radar for WWT teams but wasn't 100% sure that Orica would be her destination. However, Neylan's move certainly created a vacancy and she does appear to be a good potential fit skills wise.

I actuaĺlt thought Kennedy would go to another team. But as you say, Neylan leaving created a vacancy. Interested to see if Malseed gets a gig at WT level.
 
Kirsten Wild to Wiggle confirmed, leaving them looking arguably a bit stronger than 2017, although still lacking any obvious replacements for Lichtenberg or Hagiwara as climbing support for ELB. Some of the 2017 is not confirmed as going or staying, notably the Garners, Amy Cure, Edmondson and Bronzini. The latter two are expected to stay.

Grace & Lucy Garner and Amy Cure are, incidentally, the WH5 team for Guangxi. Julie Leth is listed but not pictured at the presentation and don't think she's riding. It's not the strongest field, although Orica look pretty good.

In other news, Lisa Brennauer broke her arm riding TP for Germany at the Euro track champs. That may not impact next season too much.
 
That is a surprise, though I guess they needed to fill the gap that losing Wild left, and trading one experienced sprinter for another isn't a bad tradeoff, although the types of sprints they each contest are different. Lauren Stephens is also a very useful pickup for them, her TT skills will help a lot with placements in various terrain races, both for her and others as a key element in a TTT. I assume her role replaces that of Dani King, a much-respected domestique and rouleuse on the circuit. The team also brings over American helper Holly Breck - looks like she's done decently in the US domestic calendar but not been too visible in the UCI-accredited races - and Israeli champion Omer Shapiro, who looks to be a reasonably decent puncheuse, having made the top 10 of the Giro del Trentino and the top 20 of the Giro dell'Emilia. She will probably be more intended to shore up the side of the team built around Doebel-Hickok and Ratto than the side built around Gutiérrez going forward.
 
Lensworld have unfortunately collapsed which plunges a few decent riders into the transfer market very late in the day.

Only three of the riders' fates are currently known; Anouk Rijff had elected to retire, while Lares-Waowdeals had taken on rouleuse Kim de Baat and fairly well established Ukrainian grimpeuse Tetyana Riabchenko, albeit coming off a slightly disappointingly quiet season with so much more in the Benelux calendar and less in the hillier Italian races.

There are quite a few decent riders in the Lensworld sale that could be of interest though, especially to teams needing to plug some gaps in their lineup. For example, we've mentioned before the lack of a true climbing hand to replace Lichtenberg and Hagiwara at Wiggle, and the exodus of climbers from WM3/Waowdeals. You'd say that the Italian arm of the team has perhaps the most value, and the star purchase on the table would be Tatiana Guderzo, a former World Champion and Giro podium rider, although she's had a fairly quiet season outside of that imposition at the Giro dell'Emilia and her best days are almost certainly behind her at this point. She is a fairly consistent bank of results though, and can impart plenty of experience to young riders. Such as Alice Maria Arzuffi, who will also be an interesting pickup for somebody. She is 23 next month, and has good skills for the climbs, having finished top 10 in Trentino and top 20 in the Giro in the last couple of years along with strong results in Plouay and Plumelec. In terms of most recent results, however, Maria Giulia Confalonieri will produce the most you would think for a new employer, having good versatility and a decent sprint that enables her to score several strong placements over a range of terrain. She will be of interest to teams in a number of scenes because of that versatility and at 24 has plenty of time remaining.

Of the others on the team, one would expect Kaat Hannes to have little trouble finding a team. She may have been a surprise Belgian champion last year, but she's got a good finish on her for the smaller races and will make a good part of a leadout for an elite sprinter potentially at the bigger ones as well. The likes of Polspoel, Verschelden and Spoor may be reduced to the smaller national teams like Swaboladies and Isorex, being mostly helpers and baroudeuses at the top level, but it will also be interesting to see if anything comes from Grace Verbeke's comeback which yielded very little in the way of actual racing; the former Ronde winner has been out of the game since 2014. The team had also signed Finnish prospect Laura Vainionpää, who will probably return to the Benelux domestic scenes from which they took her.
 
As discussed during the year, Garfoot will stay in Australia for the 2018 season. Will focus on the Australian season with the ultimate aim of success in the Commonwealth Games - Says she won't ride in Europe but will probably set herself for the World's ITT. A real shame to lose a talented cyclist from the peleton but the desire to spend more time with her husband and potentially start a family is overwhelming.
 
It’ll be interesting to see where Arzuffi and Confalonieri end up. They could interest both smaller and larger teams I think.

Carlee Taylor’s retiring… hasn’t felt the same since a nasty crash this year, apparently.

Also, Martina Ritter joins Wiggle. Seems like a good all round support rider, decent in TTs and uphill. That’s 10 confirmed now, with the fate of four current riders not announced (Edmo, Cure, Garner, Garner). They might be done in the new rider market, although (i) another climber wouldn’t go amiss and (ii) lots of them have track commitments to work around. Another incoming wouldn’t be a huge surprise.

Still quite a few teams that have either not finished or not announced their 2018 line-up, notably Ale and Canyon.
 
Good luck Macey.

Wiggle will have 16 riders next year, and I think there will be room for various track and commie games ambitions. One more signing to be announced - Rochelle Gilmore says 8 new riders - and Amy Cure and Garners L and G expected to extend.
 
10 riders presumably means they won’t send a full team to every race, given the clashes and near-clashes on the calendar these days.

That’s true of most teams to be fair. Plus Orica don’t have that many riders with other (track/cross/mtb) commitments. E.g Wiggle will have 16 but four want to ride track at the Commie games (Barker, Archibald, Cure, Stewart) and they have a few others who will also do a bit of track, like Wild, Edmo, Leth, Brennauer.

In 2017 it seemed like Drops was the team most able to deploy two teams of six at the same time. They have trimmed the roster a little for 2018 though.
 
Re:

Jonhard said:
10 riders presumably means they won’t send a full team to every race, given the clashes and near-clashes on the calendar these days.

That’s true of most teams to be fair. Plus Orica don’t have that many riders with other (track/cross/mtb) commitments. E.g Wiggle will have 16 but four want to ride track at the Commie games (Barker, Archibald, Cure, Stewart) and they have a few others who will also do a bit of track, like Wild, Edmo, Leth, Brennauer.

In 2017 it seemed like Drops was the team most able to deploy two teams of six at the same time. They have trimmed the roster a little for 2018 though.

Actually Orica do have a couple of riders in Manly and Allen who ride track as well as D'Hoore who spends time on the track - Australia also has the Commonwealth Games which falls during the Classics season which will take away resources - Think 12 riders would be better but beggars can't be choosers - Anyway they have a nucleus of a good team and if they can match 2017 it will be a win.
 
Re: Re:

yaco said:
Jonhard said:
10 riders presumably means they won’t send a full team to every race, given the clashes and near-clashes on the calendar these days.

That’s true of most teams to be fair. Plus Orica don’t have that many riders with other (track/cross/mtb) commitments. E.g Wiggle will have 16 but four want to ride track at the Commie games (Barker, Archibald, Cure, Stewart) and they have a few others who will also do a bit of track, like Wild, Edmo, Leth, Brennauer.

In 2017 it seemed like Drops was the team most able to deploy two teams of six at the same time. They have trimmed the roster a little for 2018 though.

Actually Orica do have a couple of riders in Manly and Allen who ride track as well as D'Hoore who spends time on the track - Australia also has the Commonwealth Games which falls during the Classics season which will take away resources - Think 12 riders would be better but beggars can't be choosers - Anyway they have a nucleus of a good team and if they can match 2017 it will be a win.

I'm a big fan of Jolien D'Hoore and I think having that top class sprint option will open up new tactical options. For 2018, her track programme shouldn't interfere that much, unlike 2016.

But maybe they're a rider or two short of ideal, true.
 
So Anna Plichta, after her year with WM3, is moving on, as we already knew as it had been confirmed she would leave Vos' team. It wasn't unexpected, as her racing for the team had been mainly to do with her personal friendship and on-bike relationship with Kasia Niewiadoma, and so with the Unknown One leaving the team, her role at the squad was eroded somewhat. She has found a home though; I thought she would be strong enough to get a ride at a good level team, with the backup option of a return to BTC. She hasn't just found a home at a good level team however; she's found a home at arguably the best level team, Boels-Dolmans.

The reason for this is that Nikki Harris-Brammeier has cancelled her previous contract extension and is choosing to leave the team, freeing up a roster spot. Plichta will, with her skillset, probably plug comfortably into the same role that her compatriot Kasia Pawlowska previously filled for the team. She had previously been in contract negotiations with the Lensworld team, but their collapse left the Pole scrambling; the British 'cross specialist's decision therefore is extremely timely and fortuitous for her.

We also have, rather interestingly, a new Mexican team in the offing, although I would expect European tours for them to be relatively limited, and to be better suited to the North American calendar. Nevertheless, greater variety in the development projects and new markets and potential race organizers' options are also welcome.