The Women's Road Racing Thread 2021

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Well, after the San Juan broadcast turn on the podcast and listen to them. They are really eloquent and know what they're talking about.
My idea is simple, fill the unused space and time to develop the women's cycling. There's really no need to copy men's calendar and prestige. It will always overshadow the women's. And a deeper message can be sent that way.
 
The podcast where?
And I personally think it should be a balance, some races that are shared* between the men and the women, and some races that are unique to each gender. The most important part being that organisers actually bother to give us live broadcast for the women's races.
 
That would be part of the balance. Though I would imagine that the women - like the men - would also like to spend Christmas with their families, so it might be a race mainly for the people from the Americas.

A sort of an idea I kind of has is this:
It seems to me that whenever there is a shared race it's always the women first, more or less as a "warm-up" before the "main event" (the men's race). Why not swap that around sometimes, so the women get to have the more attention-grapping final spot on the schedule?
 
I'd have nothing against the switch in schedule. But I'm fan for a long time. Not sure the fresh or new audience would welcome it equally.
And now I'm realising that the women's races on non-traditional grounds could have a problem to attract the audience, organizers or local governments. But with an appropriate business model they're talking about, and the TV exposure they're emphasizing, it could work.
 
Possibly. I suppose there's a bit of everything in the way audience could perceive an event. And the way organizers present them the event can shape their perception.
Important thing is that they have an idea and are aware of all the aspects.
 
Quite excitingly, we have a stage to Xorret del Catí in the women's Setmana Ciclista Valenciana (it has to be differentiated from the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana for women, which is a one day race which took place last week, with Lotte Kopecky winning in a sprint), which should be our first real climbing guide of the season. A pretty decent startlist showing up too. Hannah Barnes is the defending champion, and she is in attendance, but I hope she won't be too offended by my saying that I don't expect her to get over Xorret del Catí with the leaders. Second place last year went to Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and she was third the year before that - as one of the elite climbers in the women's péloton, the 33-year-old South African will be looking to continue linear progress with her new team, CCC; she'll be leading their team and of the riders thus far announced for the race she will have some decent help with Pauliena Rooijakkers. Bigla (formerly Cervélo-Bigla) have always made a big deal of this race, and while their roster has been gutted of many of its talents with Lepistö and Moolman-Pasio moving on to pastures new, they are throwing their weight fully in support of 2017 race winner Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. Some of the biggest teams are also there - Canyon are in attendance with Barnes, but their biggest GC threat is perhaps more likely to be Amialiusik or Cecchini, while Boels give race starts to some of their new signings, perhaps most relevant here will be specialist climber Katie Hall, with Karol-Ann Canuel also a very capable climbing option. Sunweb have new signing Janneke Ensing as probably their best climber, though Labous isn't a mug and Coryn Rivera can get over obstacles - I'd suspect Xorret del Catí is too much for her though. And the new Trek team will surely want to make an early impact, and have every chance of doing so with Elisa Longo Borghini to lead the team, with Ruth Winder as chief climbing support and all-terrain badass Ellen van Dijk in attendance too. Among wildcard contenders, FDJ are here with Shara Gillow to lead their climbing, and Alé and Movistar have yet to announce their lineups, but as a home race I'd be surprised if Movistar don't go all out, in which case Jasinska or one of the Spanish climbers, Merino or García, may be worth keeping an eye on. As might Diana Carolina Peñuela from Alé - she had some decent results with UHC backing up Katie Hall and, like Moolman-Pasio, has had national championships in the early season so may be in better form than many of the European elites.
 
Aug 18, 2017
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Movistar have
FOURNIER Roxane, GARCIA Mavi, GUTIERREZ Sheyla, LLAMAS Lorena, MERINO Eider, OYARBIDE Lourdes & TERUEL Alba
 
Anyone know where I can watch the female version of Strade Bianche on Saturday?

Just read Annika Langvad, quadruple MTB world champion, is making her professional debut - at the tender age of 34.

She rode her first road race in a long time, at last years world championships, because Denmark was short on climbers, and ended up 37th, despite not having trained for 2 weeks leading up the the race, due to injury..... so Boels-Dolmans signed her and Strade Bianche is her debut.

I really want to watch her attack the italian gravel :)
 
Before that, there is going to be a stream of Omloop van het Hageland today, the women's equivalent to Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in that it's a flat to rolling race whichalways takes place a day after Omloop het Nieuwsblad.

Obviously yesterday we had Omloop, I've been a bit distracted by the Nordic Worlds but it looks like Boels continue apace, despite their losses in personnel, with a strong solo victory by Chantal Blaak. Boels also got another name to the podium, as in the sprint of the just under 40 riders left in the péloton at the end, while nobody could stop Marta Bastianelli, who is of course one of the more established sprinting names in the sport at this stage (now with Virtu, which will take some getting used to after several years in fluorescent yellow), the next best sprinter was young Dutchwoman Jip van den Bos, who attracted quite a bit of hype a few years ago with her showings with Parkhotel Valkenburg before being signed by Boels and serving her domestique apprenticeship. Interestingly behind that you had Annemiek van Vleuten, as ever returning ahead of schedule and stronger than expected, because Annemiek is made of titanium and awesomeness - she somehow managed to outsprint Alexis Ryan, which is no mean feat. Most of the other biggest nanes in the race were in that group - van der Breggen, Mackaij, Cecchini, Niewiadoma, van Dijk, Ensing, Moolman-Pasio, with a few like Cromwell, Brand and Longo Borghini trailing in a few seconds behind.

I also didn't mention much of the Comunidad Valenciana Tour, after hyping the Xorret del Catí stage which was of course decisive in the GC (there was essentially one rolling stage, two flat stages and the XDC mountain stage). There was some pretty comprehensive coverage, in fact.

Stage 1
Dramatic breakaway in the hills from an attack by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, group consisting of her, teammate Leah Thomas, Mavi García, Karol-Ann Canuel, Ruth Winder and Soraya Paladin. Cille did all the pacing, for reasons unknown when she had a teammate in the group. Cille then dropped away from the group after taking the mountains points, so it all got a bit strange as the limited motos meant we were only following the front group and were unaware how close the chasers were getting - and it was very close indeed, as Winder attacked her break mates and made it to the line with 2" advantage over Paladin and Canuel, but only 5" over the strongest in the péloton and the remains of her break and 10" over the rest.

Stage 2
Bunch sprint stage, won by Lotta Lepistö ahead of Maria Giulia Confalonieri and Elena Cecchini.

Stage 3
The all-important Xorret del Catí stage, with an unexpected result! Front group early on the climb consisting of Soraya Paladin, Cille, Ensing and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, but Clara Koppenburg of WNT was off the front from earlier and climbing very strongly indeed. Next, Soraya was riding along with Ensing and Canuel in her wheel as riders were left strewn all over the road. Then Paladin dropped Canuel and Canuel was caught by Cille who had previously dropped away but was regaining her strength. And then Eider Merino arrived from behind and rode past all of them; simultaneously Paladin dropped Ensing, but the former speedskater rallied, and we then had Koppenburg up front with Moolman-Pasio, Paladin and Ensing yo-yoing off them, and Erica Magnaldi was there also as WNT were really pulling out the stops. As they had two riders, WNT attacked, with Koppenburg going first with only Paladin following, and then with nobody following at all as the group fell apart, at more or less the same time as Eider established a visual with them behind. 23-year-old Koppenburg is far from a mug on the climbs - she was 9th in the Emakumeen Bira last year - but this is a huge statement of intent compared to her previous results where she was a domestique in this terrain for the same Moolman-Pasio and Ludwig that she beat here. She took nearly a minute on the chasing duo of Paladin and Moolman-Pasio, and a further 20 seconds on Merino and Ensing. Ludwig and Canuel paid for their efforts and fell to nearly 2 minutes, with a group of Julie van de Velde (great ride from her), Katie Hall, surprise Zoncolan top 10 Katrine Aalerud and Pauliena Rooijakkers catching and passing them.

Stage 4
Straightforward sprint stage, WNT wouldn't let a break go early, Trek wouldn't let a break go late, Lepistö took a second stage win. A few time gaps within the péloton but little of importance as the key names stayed in front of it.

Final GC:
1 Clara Koppenburg (WNT) GER 11'06'28
2 Soraya Paladin (Alé-Cipollini) ITA +41" (QOM)
3 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) RSA +48"
4 Eider Merino Cortazar (Movistar) ESP +1'26"
5 Janneke Ensing (Team Sunweb) NED +1'36"
6 Erica Magnaldi (WNT) ITA +1'47"
7 Julie van de Velde (Lotto-Soudal) BEL +1'52"
8 Katherine Hall (Boels-Dolmans) USA +1'55"
9 Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) CAN +1'59"
10 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) DEN +2'04"
 
So we had a couple of Low Countries races during the week - Omloop van het Hageland was won by Marta Bastianelli, who previously won the race in 2016, in a reduced sprint ahead of Lotta Lepistö and Leah Kirchmann from a 17-woman group. In the midst of all of the recent controversy (which is a bit non-plussing as she's been a part of the women's péloton for years and after initial controversies has become well established in her position) Nathalie van Gogh made 10th place for her new team, the small Biehler Pro team, after leaving Parkhotel Valkenburg which had been her home for several years.

And having made the podium in Omloop with her first skill, sprinting, young Jip van den Bos took Le Samyn des Dames in a solo move, the Boels rider finishing almost a minute ahead of the remains of a group which was led home in an impressive podium result for veteran national calendar German rider Daniela Gass for her Equano-Wase Zon team, ahead of Demi de Jong for Lotto-Soudal. The rest of the group was constituted of Lauretta Hanson of Trek, Barbara Guarischi for Virtu, Romy Kasper for Alé-Cipollini and Małgorzata Jasińska for Movistar. Marta Bastianelli won the sprint from the group, although interestingly within it Jolien d'Hoore didn't sprint for Boels, instead having Blaaki undertake that position of sprinting for the placements, though since Jip had won long before that I guess the team didn't mind sacrificing the meagre earnings for minor placings.

Obviously the key story for today is Strade Bianche, and the start of the new WWT season. A very strong lineup is out in force for it, as you'd expect.

Boels have defending champion Anna van der Breggen, of course, who will now take on the race in the rainbow jersey and hope to do as Lizzie Armitstead once did for the team and win this race in the stripes. Another World champion, Chantal Blaak, will support her, as well as another different champion, with multiple mountain bike world champion Annika Langvad doing her first race with the team, a couple of weeks before her 35th birthday. Karol-Ann Canuel offers climbing help, while Jip van den Bos has earnt her spot here with her great form in the first week of Belgian classics. Christine Majerus, the ever-dependable domestique-cum-secondary leader/secondary sprinter/hardwoman par excellence, rounds out their lineup after a strong CX campaign.

Canyon's on-paper leader is Katarzyna Niewiadoma, seeing as Kasia has been 2nd here 3 years running now. She has a strong backup squad too, with Cecchini on home roads, Tiffany Cromwell, and Alena Amialiusik who made her name in the Italian scene a few years ago. Hannah Barnes is also a strong option for the rouleur portion of the race, while the team is completed by German junior star Hannah Ludwig, just 19 years old but winner of the national junior championships in all road categories last year. Last year's podium was rounded out by Elisa Longo Borghini, and she is actually absent through injury, but the new Trek-Segafredo women's team looks perfectly able to compete nonetheless, with the team likely to be led by Ellen van Dijk, though Lauretta Hanson went well mid-week, and Ruth Winder won a stage of Comunidad Valenciana. Can never rule out Tayler Wiles if she's climbing like last year, too.

Having only been incepted as a UCI race in 2015, this is one of the few World Tour races that existed before the WWT but has yet to be won by Marianne Vos; she will be attempting to rectify that with her CCC-Liv team, but even the great Merckx sometimes has to share leadership, and the team is now rather hydraheaded between her and Ash Moolman-Pasio. Riejanne Markus is capable from a reduced sprint but I think this finish is too tough for her even if she does make the final selection, which is probably unlikely with some of the elite names that are likely to be on the move late on, while Pauliena Rooijakkers is a capable climber too. Sunweb also contribute some major contenders, Lucinda Brand for example always seems to go well here; I think the finish is too complex and tough for Coryn Rivera, who can generally get over obstacles of the size of that final ramp but typically needs them to be a bit further from the line to recover her sprint, but Leah Kirchmann is in good form and has been top 10 here before, and Janneke Ensing is combative and capable of escaping, especially now she's on a team where others have to fear their options behind and may be more hesitant about chasing her than they were with Alé in any race where Marta and Chloe Hosking were unlikely to make the sprint. And then there's Mitchelton-Scott; they placed Lucy Kennedy 5th and Amanda Spratt 7th last season in Strade Bianche, and that was without team leader, star climber, time trial hardwoman and general woman of steel Annemiek van Vleuten on hand, which they will have today. Spratt had a career year last year and will look to replicate that as best as possible, while Kennedy will try to progress from last year's results more by replicating them without missing half the season to injury, I'd anticipate.

There are also plenty of other teams who can contribute a contender or wildcard too. Most notably, Bigla Pro Cycling may now be without Moolman-Pasio or Lepistö, but they do still have the gifted, combative and justifiably popular (in fact arguably unjustifiably unpopular, since there are still people out there that aren't die-hard fans of her for some reason) Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig; BTC have Eugenia Bujak who can survive a lot of obstacles to sprint and Hanna Nilsson who is a sometimes underrated climber; FDJ have Shara Gillow, who often goes well at this race; similarly, Movistar's Małgorzata Jasińska was often very active in Strade Bianche in her years in the Italian péloton with Alé; Aromitalia's Rasa Leleivyte can seldom be written off for a lower end top 10 in the Italian hilly races; Virtu have last year's U23 champion Sofia Bertizzolo, looking to replicate her achievement and be the first rider to defend that title (the first two winners, Niewiadoma and Ludwig, were too old to defend), but their other leaders are sprinters for whom this is likely to be too tough a race; BePink have the veteran former world champion Tatiana Guderzo, who can still be highly competitive on her day, it's just that her days come ever more infrequently as she gets older and focuses more on the Giro only; and WNT have the possibility to spring a surprise, having Clara Koppenburg having surprised the whole field on Xorret del Catí last month, and Erica Magnaldi far from a mug in climbing and very durable also.
 
Oh, and we got our first bit of news regards the parcours of the Women's Tour. Apparently the whole course was scheduled to be released on International Women's Day, but so far we only have the parcours of stage 1, and it's, well, more of the same, as for the fourth year out of five the race is visiting East Anglia, the completely flat but very cycling-supportive region in south east England which also hosted the opening of the race in 3 out of 5 editions (2015, 2016 and 2018), and the final stage of the race in one of the others (2014). Again I therefore assume a sprint is almost certain on stage 1, after the péloton's miscalculation in the 2017 race, and hope that the rest of the race can give us something a bit more like 2016 than other editions, as pretty much everything about the Women's Tour is great except the race itself, which all too often is settled by bonus seconds and has in 3 out of 5 editions been won by a rider who never had to leave the péloton (and in 2 of them was won by a rider who was not the fastest on the road as a result). The coverage is great, the crowds are fantastic, the highlights packages are well put together and allow the fans to get to know the riders and often have people who are specialists in women's cycling involved, like Marianne Vos and Rochelle Gilmore as pundits and José Been as commentator... but the self-back-slapping about the quality of the race and how prestigious the race is because of the strides it's made and the crowds and the prize money ring a bit hollow when you have had top quality riders like Emma Johansson basically telling the organisers to sort out the race route so that they can actually race on it. 2016 and 2017 seemed much better in that respect (though in retrospect 2017's racing might have been more out of desperation because of the miscalculation on stage 1 leaving Niewiadoma with a big lead, and had stage 1 ended in a sprint as had been anticipated, the race may not have been as exciting on subsequent stages, especially as the Chesterfield stage would have been much better raced in the opposite direction) but last year was a bit of a disappointing return to "flat with the occasional slightly hilly bit but no serious obstacles near the finish" as a format. And on the mooted stage 1 route, I can't see anything that can even be considered a hill up to the point of the slightly novelty GPMs offered in East Anglian stages in the past. The men's TOB in East Anglia has had a couple of small actual hills down by Sudbury, but the route doesn't go that far south, and Veloviewer offers this small obstacle which is 700m long and includes gradients up to 8%, far from a decisive obstacle but at least a worthy categorizable climb, which is quite close to the planned finish town but not used. Let's hope we get some trickier stages mid-race now they're up to 6 stages.
 
Live @ 15km from the line. Group of 12-15 at the front. Langvad, Canuel, Majerus, van der Breggen all there I believe, so Boels look like they ought to be able to do this. Ludwig and Vos also there. Niewiadoma I've spotted and I think Blaak too, so if there's about 12-15 and Boels have FIVE of their riders there, they really will be kicking themselves if they can't convert this.

Edit: Moolman, Van Vleuten, Bastianelli and Ensing also there.

Annemiek leading a bit of a charge, her, Vos and Kasia moving away from the group with her. Annemiek goes again, has a gap, Kasia trying to close it.

Edit 2: Annemiek still had a gap at the top of the climb, and Kasia has now been taken back in by the group which now numbers 8, having dispatched some of the less climbing-adept/durable members like Bastianelli from its ranks. Annemiek has a solo lead which RCS' time gaps now tell us is growing to around 30 seconds! Van der Breggen, Ludwig and Niewiadoma leading the chase, but the majority of the work being left to Anna as it should be with the teammates she has on board. Nothing against Anna, who is arguably the best cyclist in the world right now, but an Annemiek/Kasia/Cille podium would go down very, very well with yours truly.

The impetus seems to be out from the chase and it looks like Annemiek van Vleuten is likely to be your winner...
 
Counter from Ensing, marked by a Boels rider (Langvad or Canuel, normal jersey), then Cille and Kasia close to that group and van der Breggen rests. Now Bastianelli, who has got back on, an excellent day for her, being relied on for the pacing. And the stream cuts out but thankfully comes back with van Vleuten approaching the final kilometre...

OK final run in now. Annemiek is comfortable but the battle for the podium will be interesting. Anna pacing it again. Moolman moving up, looking ominous. Ash, Kasia and Cille on the front as they hit the gradients. We're following Annemiek, no idea what's happening behind. Langvad sprinting against Niewiadoma on the climb! Vos and Cille chasing. We missed all the action, but Langvad is 2nd, Niewiadoma 3rd. Bastianelli outsprints Cille for 4th, WOW Marta, that's a hell of a day. Really impressed, I did not think she would be durable enough to hold it on the final ramp in Siena! Then Moolman in 6th.

Four consecutive podia for Kasia, but worse than the last few years thanks to Langvad's surprising 2nd place, what a good race from her, although obviously this is a race well suited to her traditional skills from MTB.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Live @ 15km from the line. Group of 12-15 at the front. Langvad, Canuel, Majerus, van der Breggen all there I believe, so Boels look like they ought to be able to do this. Ludwig and Vos also there. Niewiadoma I've spotted and I think Blaak too, so if there's about 12-15 and Boels have FIVE of their riders there, they really will be kicking themselves if they can't convert this.

Edit: Moolman, Van Vleuten, Bastianelli and Ensing also there.

Annemiek leading a bit of a charge, her, Vos and Kasia moving away from the group with her. Annemiek goes again, has a gap, Kasia trying to close it.

Edit 2: Annemiek still had a gap at the top of the climb, and Kasia has now been taken back in by the group which now numbers 8, having dispatched some of the less climbing-adept/durable members like Bastianelli from its ranks. Annemiek has a solo lead which RCS' time gaps now tell us is growing to around 30 seconds! Van der Breggen, Ludwig and Niewiadoma leading the chase, but the majority of the work being left to Anna as it should be with the teammates she has on board. Nothing against Anna, who is arguably the best cyclist in the world right now, but an Annemiek/Kasia/Cille podium would go down very, very well with yours truly.

The impetus seems to be out from the chase and it looks like Annemiek van Vleuten is likely to be your winner...
Van Vleuten looking so strong, despite what she said about not being back to her best. She has this. Will be interesting to see who gets out of the second group on the climb.
 

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