The Women's Road Racing Thread 2021

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Aug 18, 2017
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Libertine Seguros said:
Awesome, that's 80000000000000000x better.
This is a mess !!
In spite of what is on the official website, Dani Sánchez [Director de Comunicación y Digital de @Movistar_Team] says Unipublic have just confirmed us that’s just a mistake: the opening stage was & remains a 14km TTT on Saturday.
http://twitter.com/DaniBvo_/status/1038685525673234432
THIS IS A WWT EVENT. WHAT THE F ARE UNIPUBLIC PLAYING AT !!!!! @rseholes!
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Libertine Seguros said:
An event which is a legit stage race consisting of a TTT and a pseudo-crit does not belong at any level above bush league. ITT would be so much better because at least it's not just going to end with one team holding positions 1-5 in the GC.
So, so true !
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Libertine Seguros said:
An event which is a legit stage race consisting of a TTT and a pseudo-crit does not belong at any level above bush league. ITT would be so much better because at least it's not just going to end with one team holding positions 1-5 in the GC.
but this might make it interesting
"At the road race there will be plenty of time bonuses: 5-2-1″ at the end of laps 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14, plus 15-10-5″ at the finish. That is, a maximum 50″.
 
What is this, the Hammer Series? I fear it'll be a nightmare to keep track of, like a madison on the road, with only the two stages. I can see what they're doing with it but I think that that can't be the final stage, otherwise it's just too confusing and will kill off any prospects of any notable attacks happening.

If they had an ITT, then an event like that, then a hillclimb pursuit somewhere else in Comunidad de Madrid, say Morcuera, Navacerrada or El León, it could make for an interesting format but would need that extra day after the Vuelta is over and I'm not sure how much desire there would be for that, because you'd have the climbers with losses and something for every type of rider - it would be hard to know who would win, because the likes of Vos can pick up a lot of time bonuses that the likes of Longo Borghini or Niewiadoma can't, but the climbs are long enough that those riders could still pull things back if the form is there. Somebody like van der Breggen or van Vleuten might be favoured by the TT and the climb, but there's a lot of time available in the sprints that somebody like Lucinda Brand who climbed very well in the Giro could take, and would the climb then be long enough to catch or drop them?

I think I did something like this in the Race Design Thread with the Liechtenstein Rundfahrt, an ITT, a very short hilly road stage and a crit with incredibly generous bonus seconds one day, then a flat semitappe and a mountain pursuit on the second. But then, that was intended as a gimmick race, due to the small size of the country involved too.

As I say, this is better than it just being a TTT and a pseudo-crit, but when the only way to break the TTT times is time bonuses on a pan flat course it lends it a very artificial air, and feels like it's track cycling for the road, and really, just having it be an ITT or extend one arm of the road course to include the short Cuesta San Vicente (around 1,4km at 5%, on a wide road, so not exactly mindblowing but enough to give a platform to attack on) would have been a much, much simpler way to rectify the imbalance than trying to reinvent the wheel. But then, I guess since La Course tried to reinvent the wheel last year and it didn't come off too well, time for ASO to use their leverage with Unipublic to get them to make the experiments instead.
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Why Sharlotte Lucas will not be racing for New Zealand at the UCI World Road Championships
“When I had to find thousands of dollars in a couple of days it simply was not realistic to accept my selection."
When asked if she was aware that she would have to incur the cost of representing New Zealand in Innsbruck, she replied
"“No. I expected some flight costs but not the amount asked for.” Lucas also said that it’s not usual to have to pay your own way. “Not at elite level when you are representing your country.”
 
Norsgaard will get good, but next year Cervélo just won't have enough climbing races because they're going to need the results to come from Cille and Nosková.

I mean, it's honourable going for an all-climbing onslaught but the calendar isn't really set out for that at time of writing, which has been a long-time gripe of mine...
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Provisional start lists for
World Team Time Trial Championship 23 September
http://www.cyclingfever.com/editie.html?detp=view&_ap=startlijst&editie_idd=MjkyMjA=
World Time Trial Championship 25 September
http://www.cyclingfever.com/editie.html?detp=view&_ap=startlijst&editie_idd=MjkyMjQ=
and World Road Championship 29 September
http://www.cyclingfever.com/editie.html?detp=view&_ap=startlijst&editie_idd=MjkyMjk=
are starting to take shape, though some 'long lists' will need trimming. The lists on the links will
be updated as soon as the information becomes available.
 
Nearly 30 teams starting in the Tour de l'Ardêche, but a lot of them, with the World Championships about to start, are national teams looking to get to gel with one another. It's definitely, definitely a climber's race this year, with two flat semitappes being then followed by a stage with a puncheur finish tomorrow, then on Saturday a MTF at Mont Serein-Station, on the north side of Mont Ventoux. This is followed by the now traditional Mont Lozère finish, but instead of a Col de Finiels loop, this year it's a sequence of climbs beginning with Montée Laurent Jalabert with 37km remaining - so this one will be tough as old boots too. Then there's a slightly easier stage on Monday before Tuesday's final stage finishes with a descent from the Col de Moulin à Vent.

So, yes, this ought to be settled between the grimpeuses, of which there are a good few on the startlist. Canyon-SRAM are one of the few World Tour teams on the startlist, which means that Kasia Niewiadoma is immediately one of the standout names on the startlist, although with Cromwell, Ryan, Thorvilson and Erath the only helpers, controlling the race against some of these strong national sides could be hard for them - though Ryan is one of the fastest finishers there so they are going with dual goals. The combative Pole will have plenty of strong opposition though. The American team looks especially promising for that, with the reunion of Katie Hall with her former teammate Ruth Winder, and also Tayler Wiles who has been climbing well above expectations this season. Hall and Wiles beat Niewiadoma in the Tour of California and, especially seeing as both are moving on to stronger teams next year, have been on impressive form and could relish another chance to get one over on the elite climbers. Shara Gillow is also here with her FDJ team, she's not been as visible as I might have expected this season, but more's the reason to try to show something to suggest why she should be an option for an Australian team that on this season's evidence will clearly back Amanda Spratt as option A.

In the national teams (other than the Americans, since I've already mentioned them), plenty of other threats. The Dutch team is mostly prospects but come with two capable climbers - Sabrina Stultiens and Janneke Ensing, although Stultiens unfortunately has crashed out of the race on day one. Spain are as ever inexperienced and mostly made up of Movistar riders, but Mavi García and Eider Merino were both excellent in the Giro Rosa on the climbs, so the Mont Serein stage ought to suit them, the featherweight Merino especially. Norway's team includes Susanne Andersen for the flatter stages, but for the climbs they have Katrine Aalerud who managed a surprising top 10 on Monte Zoncolan earlier in the year. Another strong Nordic climber is Hanna Nilsson who lines up for BTC, while Erica Magnaldi and Tatiana Guderzo are both in the BePink lineup, though no Nikola Nosková unfortunately - however this year Magnaldi has comprehensively outperformed the young Czech upstart. Astana's four-rider lineup includes Colombian escaladora Blanca Moreno and the Cuban, Arlenis Sierra, who has suffered from difficult second year syndrome as riders are now used to her being a threat. There's also the UCI's Centre Mondiale team, which includes Thi That Nguyen, the Vietnamese who has been something of a quiet revelation this year.

Day one was all about the sprints, so they got two semitappes since this is about all the flat engines get in the whole race - Alexis Ryan won the first semitappe ahead of Arlenis Sierra and Alison Jackson; Sierra won the second to return the favour by outkicking Ryan and Susanne Andersen, who had been 4th in the first part of the day's racing, and relegated Jackson to the same fate here. Avoidance of splits in the péloton late on and attentiveness mean that Niewiadoma and García gained 7 seconds in the first part of the day over the other GC candidates, but other than that nobody has lost time that oughtn't.
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Libertine Seguros said:
the likes of Vos can pick up a lot of time bonuses that the likes of Longo Borghini or Niewiadoma can't, but the climbs are long enough that those riders could still pull things back if the form is there. Somebody like van der Breggen or van Vleuten might be favoured by the TT and the climb, but there's a lot of time available in the sprints that somebody like Lucinda Brand who climbed very well in the Giro could take, and would the climb then be long enough to catch or drop them?
Seems Vos, Niewiadoma, van der Breggen and van Vleuten won't get the chance
http://www.cyclingfever.com/editie.html?detp=view&_ap=startlijst&editie_idd=Mjg0MDk=
 
Re: Re:

Tim Booth said:
Libertine Seguros said:
the likes of Vos can pick up a lot of time bonuses that the likes of Longo Borghini or Niewiadoma can't, but the climbs are long enough that those riders could still pull things back if the form is there. Somebody like van der Breggen or van Vleuten might be favoured by the TT and the climb, but there's a lot of time available in the sprints that somebody like Lucinda Brand who climbed very well in the Giro could take, and would the climb then be long enough to catch or drop them?
Seems Vos, Niewiadoma, van der Breggen and van Vleuten won't get the chance
http://www.cyclingfever.com/editie.html?detp=view&_ap=startlijst&editie_idd=Mjg0MDk=
Well, given the race as it was, it's not surprising to see Kasia not entering (even before we found out she's in the Ardêche) but the others are contesting the World Tour overall so it's perhaps slightly surprising that they don't enter here, but its proximity to the Worlds will be another factor. Very few real contenders for the Innsbruck Worlds on show. Longo Borghini, sure, maybe Rivera but probably not on that course, and Brand but the Netherlands have such an embarrassment of riches that she won't be plan A or B despite being such a great rider in her own right; however a decent sprint cast with the likes of Hosking, d'Hoore, Rivera, Wild, Bronzini, Kessler, Wiebes and Fournier.
 
Aug 18, 2017
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In the Madrid Challenge Sunweb won the team time trial by eighteen seconds from Wiggle High5. Mitchelton-Scott finished in third place. Tomorrow Sunwebs Leah Kirchmann will start in the leader's jersey for the second stage.
 
Things seem a fair bit more interesting in the Ardêche, with the puncheur finish on stage 3 yielding some interesting timegaps, with the bunch splintering. Ruth Winder took the stage and the leader's jersey, completing the routine task of outsprinting Kasia Niewiadoma and Mavi García, owners of two of the least fearsome sprint weapons in the race, with Tayler Wiles next on the road, losing 7 seconds at the line as the American team utilised its strength in depth. The next group of 8 came in at +15", and included most of the stronger climbers, with Nilsson, Hall and Gillow all there, but then a group of 15 or so at +33" included Ensing, Guderzo, Magnaldi and Moreno.

This set up battle on the Mont Serein climb, and battle was done, with the Spaniards looking every bit the climbing machines they were in the Giro; Eider Merino wound up victorious, by 32" ahead of the chase, with her teammate Mavi García anchoring the chase of Rally's young Canadian Sara Poidevin - 7th in the Vail Pass ITT and 7th in the Tour of California - and the more established Niewiadoma. García then outsprinted her groupmates for 2nd, which meant she took the race lead ahead of Merino, as Poidevin was in the +15" group in the previous stage and Niewiadoma lost a few seconds at the line. Katie Hall came in a lonely 5th, a minute behind García-Poidevin-Niewiadoma but a minute ahead of the next chase group with Winder, Aalerud and Magnaldi, and everybody else - including the likes of Gillow and Ensing - were over four minutes back. The two Spaniards had initiated hostilities and swiftly broke the group down to 8 riders - which would logically mean Merino, García, Poidevin, Niewiadoma (in the maillot à pois), Hall, Winder (in the race leader's jersey), Aalerud and Magnaldi - before García attacked with 6km remaining, which Winder could not answer; Niewiadoma and Poidevin chased her down with Eider in tow, but when the diminutive Basque countered after her teammate was caught, they had no answer.

In a race with national teams and some less strong squads on show with truncated startlists for World Tour teams and makeshift teammates it's a bit harder to predict, but the current GC sees García leading with just 8 seconds in hand on Niewiadoma and 10 seconds on her teammate Merino; Poidevin is at 22" but they've now got nearly a minute and a half's buffer on the Americans. With the difficult finale for the Mont Lozère stage coming up tomorrow, this could make for an interesting battle.
 
Well, the mega-bonus system in Madrid worked in some respects, in that there was some level of shaking up of the GC with the myriad bonus seconds on offer, and there was even some racing, with a group of 16 coming to the line with 13 seconds of advantage - Sunweb and Wiggle, the top two teams in the TTT, had representation and did not chase, and that meant Rivera and d'Hoore were among those not in the group to take advantage. Ellen van Dijk and Lucinda Brand were, however, as was Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Małgorzata Jasińska, Olga Zabelinskaya, Roxane Knetemann, Nathalie van Gogh, Charlotte Becker and Polona Batagelj - plenty of experienced heads you wouldn't perhaps back to be among the front group in a pan flat stage, but nevertheless, it was somebody who is both very experienced and very much among those you'd back to be among the front in a pan flat stage that won the stage - the veteran former world champion Giorgia Bronzini, who therefore took the win in what is supposed to be her final ever race, as she retires at the end of the season, Cylance are apparently closing down and certainly at least will not be heading to China for the Tour of Guangxi women's race, and Giorgia hasn't made the selection for Innsbruck either - so it's at least a nice way to sign off for the sprint star.

The bonus system did quite visibly show its drawbacks, however, as the calculating of the significant numbers of bonus sprints and finish line sprints that justified bonus seconds to add some intrigue to the race took a lot of time in ascertaining the accurate finishing positions of the riders - and this meant that Audrey Cordon-Ragot wasn't invited to the podium ceremony despite finishing 3rd overall, as they had overlooked where she would be on the podium. It's the career domestique's first WWT podium as well, which she didn't get to celebrate in front of the crowd, though she did at least get her own mini-ceremony later, a bit like when Annemiek van Vleuten was retrospectively given joint 3rd in Amstel Gold a couple of years back when the photo finish proved impossible to separate. Van Dijk takes the overall in what is likely to be her final race with Sunweb, as she moves on to Trek next season as noted, as with Brand having been dropped in the TTT, Ellen was the team's GC backup option if the bunch didn't catch the fugitives. This does mean that the final GC isn't quite the level of embarrassment that I feared, but it's still pretty blatant how the paucity of WWT ITTs compared to the surprising glut of TTTs has affected the balance of results.

Final GC:
1 Ellen van Dijk (Team Sunweb) NED 2'35'03
2 Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) USA +11"
3 Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Wiggle-High 5) FRA +15"
4 Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) CAN +18"
5 Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) GER +18"
6 Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle-High 5) SWE +29"
7 Lisa Brennauer (Wiggle-High 5) GER +36"
8 Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High 5) ITA +36"
9 Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) AUS +41"
10 Polona Batagelj (BTC City-Ljubljana) SLO +56"

Back in the realm of more readily followable races in the Tour de l'Ardêche, we had our second straight mountain stage, with the now-traditional Mont Lozère finish off the back of Montée Laurent Jalabert and another climb in the interim. A dangerous sextet including Katrine Aalerud and Janneke Ensing attacked on the Col Sainte Colombe and built up over a minute's advantage by the time they got to Mende, but that short but severe ascent proved their undoing, as Aalerud and BePink's Erica Magnaldi were the only ones left standing by the end of the climb, while in the bunch behind Ruth Winder and Kasia Niewiadoma were trying to break the Spanish hold on the race, with Merino the one tasked with reeling them in, and this action behind spelt doom for the breakaway so while Magnaldi survived to take the points on the Côte de la Croix-Neuve, she didn't last much longer and the remains of the bunch held firm. Only 16 riders remained in it when they took on the final climb, however, and it quickly whittled down. However it took until 300m to the line for the Polish grimpeuse to finally rid herself of the maillot rose of Mavi García, and while it was a well-deserved win for Katie Unknown, and her first triumph since the Trofeo Binda, she didn't have enough time in hand to dethrone the Spaniard, who trailed in 2nd just 3 seconds back, ahead of Katie Hall, Arlenis Sierra and Ruth Winder. Sara Poidevin followed up with another top 10, dropping 18" to Niewiadoma at the line, but that's not bad against one of the elite WWT climbers, while Merino dropped 26" to the Pole after doing her work to pace and control for García. I don't think the World Championships are tough enough for these Spanish escaladoras to become part of the reckoning against the field they will face, but it's dramatically clear how they are benefiting from the tougher parcours races and growing to fulfil the same role in the péloton that their male compatriots did back in the 60s and early 70s.

With two stages remaining, most of the most significant climbing is done, but there is the Montée de l'Hermitage on the last day; García's lead over Niewiadoma is just 5 seconds, which is fragile, while Merino holds onto 3rd but now has just 4 seconds' advantage over Poidevin. Everybody else is in relative isolation on the GC.
 
Gotta hand it to Bronzini in stage 2 of the La Vuelta Challenge - Scanning through the breakaway of 13 riders it seemed like Sarah Roy would be the favourite and it wasn't until the last 150m that I noticed Bronzini - She hid herself so well.
 
She truly did go out at the top, since that's her calling card, of course, managing to survive the attrition and hide herself well within the pack only to pop up when the sprint's about to wind up to say "hi girls! Did you forget I was still here?".

In the Ardêche, some surprising results as stage 6, the least imposing-looking stage on paper of the last four, proved to be the one that definitively set the GC, as a few of the elite talents in the group took note of one simple fact: while Merino can shepherd García incredibly well when it comes to the big climbs, a pint-sized Basque grimpeuse is of less value on the flat. As a result it was a tougher stage for the Spanish team to keep under wraps, with Niewiadoma and Hall attacking on the last climb of the day drawing Mavi out of the péloton; it came to nought, but the Polish escaladora persisted, using the descent as a platform to attack on and eventually finding herself managing a gap with only Ruth Winder for company. Not sure if a deal was done between the two or they contested the sprint with the results being inevitable, but Winder took the stage victory as the duo gained over 30 seconds on the splintered remains of the péloton, which was more than enough for Katie Unknown to swap her mountains jersey for the GC lead.

With the bare bones Canyon lineup now entrusted with defending the leader's jersey and a number of riders having lost colossal amounts of time thanks to the back to back mountaintop finishes, control was minimal since Kasia only had a few riders to keep an eye on. In the end though, she needn't have worried; she was, along with Arlenis Sierra and Ruth Winder, among the strongest on the final climb of the race, and the Pole even extended her lead over Mavi García, while time was called on Sara Poidevin's GC challenge as she dropped a minute and a half to Winder and a minute to Hall, García and Moreno to drop beneath the two Americans on the final GC. Up front though, the break was contesting the stage, and the strongest in that break was Erica Magnaldi, the late convert to the sport on the BePink team, who has proven a pretty adept climber in her brief pro career. She outsprinted the ever-combative Sofie de Vuyst to take the stage win, with the remainder of the break all on national teams - Kathrin Hammes, Omer Shapiro, Nina Buijsman, Julie Van de Velde, Ingrid Lørvik and Lorena Llamas - and a couple of stragglers being caught by the elite group as they fought their way to the front.

Final GC Tour de l'Ardêche:

1 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) POL 20'27'33
2 Margarita Victoria García Cañellas (Spain National) ESP +1'28"
3 Eider Merino Cortazar (Spain National) ESP +1'47"
4 Ruth Winder (USA National) USA +2'07"
5 Katherine Hall (USA National) USA +2'39"
6 Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) CAN +2'49"
7 Erica Magnaldi (BePink) ITA +2'56"
8 Sofie de Vuyst (Belgium National) BEL +5'17"
9 Katrine Aalerud (Norway National) NOR +5'22"
10 Hanna Nilsson (BTC City-Ljubljana) SWE +6'13"
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Zinoviev Letter said:
Van dijk to Trek
Trek are starting to look as though they mean business

Ellen Van Dijk
Elizabeth Deignan
Elisa Longo Borghini
Trixi Worrack
Audrey Cordon-Ragot
Ruth Winder
Abi Van Twisk
Tayler Wiles
Lotta Lepistö
Lauretta Hanson
Letizia Paternoster

and the new Trek Factory Racing Cyclocross team with
Ellen Noble
Evie Richards
Emma Swartz
 
Sep 30, 2014
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Tim Booth said:
Zinoviev Letter said:
Van dijk to Trek
Trek are starting to look as though they mean business

Ellen Van Dijk
Elizabeth Deignan
Elisa Longo Borghini
Trixi Worrack
Audrey Cordon-Ragot
Ruth Winder
Abi Van Twisk
Tayler Wiles
Lotta Lepistö
Lauretta Hanson
Letizia Paternoster

and the new Trek Factory Racing Cyclocross team with
Ellen Noble
Evie Richards
Emma Swartz
Fair play to Trek for putting an interesting lineup together, but only EvD is currently ranked inside the top 20. ELB and Lotta don't win that often.

There may be more to come. Someone's got to be in for Lorena Wiebes from Parkhotel, shirley.
 
Aug 18, 2017
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In his second season at the head of the continental team, Fundacion Ciclista Euskadi,
http://www.fundacioneuskadi.eus/
Mikel Landa has taken the first steps to put on the road a team of girls for 2019. The new team will consist of about ten runners of all categories, from cadets to sub'23.
 
Cadets is U16 or U17 depending on how you classify it. As neither Niewiadoma nor Ludwig got to defend their U23 WWT jerseys despite being 22 for the vast majority of the season they defended it, you'd define it as U17, as you become ineligible in the year you turn 17.

Massive congrats to Annemiek on her back to back rainbow jerseys; she's having a real Indian summer and has been the woman to beat in the format for a while now. It's also really nice for the Age of the Mayfly to be demonstrably over; Amber Neben still put in an impressive showing for a 43-year-old for seventh, but she was nearly two minutes adrift of van Vleuten's time despite this effectively being her sole aim for the season - a few years ago we had several riders doing very little road racing, coming in and swooping the gold at the top level at the biggest TT events and then returning to their slumber leaving those who were best all year round with nothing - Neben, Armstrong, Zabelinskaya and Villumsen during the era she was based in the US domestic scene were notable exponents of that approach, as well as Katrin Garfoot more recently too. The North American calendar has always typically been more fertile ground for ITT riders given a relative paucity of long ITTs in the European women's calendar (plenty of prologues and TTTs but not many ITTs of real length), sure, and perhaps it's just that that generation of riders is getting too old to make a decisive contribution at the top anymore, with Thomas and Wiles being the US' other representatives here, but it does look like a shift back toward the all-season riders is now complete.

Nobody profits from that more than the Dutch, of course, and their locking out the podium is pretty spectacular, though also not entirely unpredictable. Van Vleuten, van der Breggen and van Dijk are all names you'd give several stars to in a race preview to draw attention to their medal chances, and their fourth entry, Lucinda Brand, was 6th for good measure. Previously super-strong specialists like Lisa Brennauer were nowhere to be seen, and it seems that the ITT is rather a veteran's discipline - the top 10 averages an age of almost 31, although admittedly Neben skews it slightly upward - in women's cycling, with even those top performers who are the right side of 30 being long, long established names (you'd be forgiven for not realising Elisa Longo Borghini is still only 26, for example); it's only with Georgia Williams (25) and even more so Pernille Mathiesen (21) in 11th and 12th that you start to see riders that you could consider 'prospects'.

A lot of transfer upheaval to deal with too in the last few days.

Firstly, Trek signing Letizia Paternoster is great news for them, a real coup. It also potentially helps her in getting her away from the relatively low budget Italian teams who often struggle to provide promising young riders with the advice and assistance they need, often overworking them or being unable to provide the development opportunities necessary to get the best of them. Alé-Cipollini are becoming a bit of a division-killer in that respect, as the likes of Astana and BePink struggle to compete, let alone the likes of Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo or Giusfredi-Bianchi. Speaking of Alé being a division killer, they've picked up two Italian riders for the coming season, first Nadia Quagliotto from Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo, a versatile rider who has a decent kick, and the Colombian, Diana Carolina Peñuela, from the soon-to-be-defunct United Healthcare, to back up their climbing side with the likes of Ensing. I'm also interested by Trek picking up Anna Plichta from Boels-Dolmans, as I thought BMC-CCC would be a logical place for her to end up, as a Pole who has previous experience working at Vos' team. Canyon might also have been reasonable owing to her personal and racing relationship with Niewiadoma, but slightly less likely as they've got a comparatively full roster already. It also looks like Anouska Koster is leaving Vos' side for the first time, which is unexpected, as she's not in the list of initial signees for the team - though I guess signing Ash Moolman-Pasio mightn't have been so cheap.

Now, Cervélo-Bigla have a big rebuild job to do, losing their two biggest points-scorers in Moolman-Pasio and Lotta Lepistö, and while the team is fully committing to Cille as a star in the making, the young Dane will run the risk of being in the same position - or possibly worse - as Kasia Niewiadoma was with WM3, being depended on big time for results. They are trying to give her support at least in the mountains with the signing of Nosková, but the loss of a sprinter at Lepistö's kind of level to take pressure off her will be felt. The team is looking to bolster itself though, signing Leah Thomas, who's had a very good year both in Europe and the US with UHC and just finished 5th in the ITT World Championships, and also Swiss former slalom canoeist Elise Chabbey. Also a trailrunner, the 25-year-old is an interesting cross-sport prospect as she transitions to a more endurance-based program.

When Hitec were having financial problems mid-season, team head honcho Karl Lima (anybody who has ever tried to follow women's races will know what an important source of information Karl can be) said that they'd managed to get enough to register the team for 2019 but with only the requisite minimum eight riders. As things stand though, they currently have 10 on the books, having been active in the transfer market. They may have lost a lot of their points and experience with Charlotte Becker going to FDJ, but in addition to adding another couple of Norwegian youngsters they've signed a couple of Dutchwomen - Chanella Stougje from Parkhotel Valkenburg and junior talent Lonneke Uneken - along with picking a couple of riders up from other teams going to the wall, with Lucy Garner coming from Wiggle and Marta Tagliaferro from Cylance. Not keeping Kessler may hurt the team, and losing Susanne Andersen to Sunweb definitely will, but it at least has got a decent start to a roster which is a good thing considering we thought they were going to fold.

Cylance folding has been a godsend for Movistar though, since they've been able to hoover up one of the two remaining high level Spaniards they hadn't been able to get their hands on on day one, signing Sheyla Gutiérrez as a result. With a fast finish and good rouleuse capabilities as well as a Giro stage win to her credit, she was always going to be a target, and this now leaves Ane Santesteban very lonely on the startlist of the national championships next year... the Spanish squad has also picked up another sprint contender with Roxane Fournier coming over from FDJ to keep her countrywoman Aude Biannic company. From the Cylance collapse, Rally have been able to pick up Kristabel Doebel-Hickok, one of the stronger climbers in the North American calendar.

And finally, Swapit-Agricolo, the Mexican team which is looking to build a roster to compete in the North American calendar and potentially do a few European races too, has gone on the warpath with Latin American racers, signing Ana Cristina Sanabria, the Colombian who finished top 10 of La Course a couple of years ago on the Col d'Izoard, and the Guatemalan destroyer, Jazmin Soto, as well as, more familiarly, the incredibly experienced Brazilian mercenary Flavia Oliveira, who has hopped around the levels for nearly two decades now, and is still only three years removed from the Giro QOM.
 

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