The Women's Road Racing Thread 2021

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It was a very short lasting relationship indeed. According to PCS they only had three riders on contract for next year, but only two of the remaining riders have official deals with other teams. It should be possible for at least a few of them to get contracts elsewhere, but it might not be as easy for the staff. The timing is definitely not perfect.
 
Norsgaard (Movistar) and Nosková (SD Worx) are already signed for next year as mentioned.

I can't imagine most of the rest having too much trouble finding a home, they've been very visible in the abridged season. Might this be the stroke of fortune that Mitchelton-Scott were hoping for, since they've lost Annemiek and while Spratt can take up the mantle as leader, there's a potential gap for a second in command? How about FDJ finding somebody else to complement Chapman, Fahlin and Muzic as they support Cille? Canyon have a strong young New Zealander prospect, might they find it easier to tempt across another one or two of them?

Actually, looking at the roster I'd be more concerned for riders low down the totem pole at a few big teams who haven't yet signed deals for 2021, as they may be the ones that lose out from these women being available. Like, literally the only one I can see potentially not being signed for next year is Stirnemann, and she's a mountainbike specialist moonlighting in road anyway so there's a reason for her limited road results.

Harvey and Fisher-Black are obviously going to get signed on the basis of their 2020 showings. Marlen Reusser is going to be picked up as she's been very visible and is so strong against the clock. Clara Koppenburg is a 25-year-old specialist climber with good pedigree who beat the elites on Xorret del Catí, she'll find a home. Elise Chabbey and Lizzy Banks have both been very visible near the front of the group and in breaks, especially the latter with her two Giro stages in two years and her Plouay performances. The rest of the team - Sophie Wright is a promising young rider who went well in a good few punchy races in 2019, Leah Thomas is a veteran of the US scene with several years' strong performances behind her, and Sperotto is young and has shown enough to justify a deal - ought still to find somewhere, even if some of them may have to drop back to their national scenes (like Alzini already has done, moving from Bigla to Valcar during the transition to Paule Ka) to do so.

I don't think there's a single rider on the team that's going to struggle to get offers for 2021, so as I say, the concern is more for the unsigned riders on teams that might now be eyeing up some bargains from the Paule Ka yard sale who might get Alejandro Marqued.
 
More support for Cille is never a bad thing :smiley:

I was wondering what the situation was like for CCC, after they pulled their sponsorship of the men's team, but they seem to be continuing. They have only confirmed Lotte Kopecky for next season though, and Vos is out of contract, so they must also be on the lookout for available talent.
 
Great finish from Lorena, some noteworthy time gaps here in a race where the little gaps at the line could well end up crucial. The ITT will definitely favour Brennauer given she's a genuine specialist in the discipline and picked up some bonuses today, mind. I'm really not all that sold on Wiebes after the transfer shenanigans, she's obviously an elite talent as a sprinter and more versatile than some to boot, but that whole episode somewhat soured me on her, especially dumping on a small team in the middle of a season like this one, and there are a bunch of other talented young riders at Sunweb I like, and who are likely to get fewer opportunities to develop and to lead with Lorena around (and as long as Lorena remains as strong as she is, that's absolutely fair and correct).
 
Lisa Brennauer is so perfectly suited to this format. She is not quite a sprinter but good enough in the kind of complex finish that they have with stage 1, and she's obviously a far superior time triallist than any of those who can outsprint her. Elisa Balsamo vs. Lorena Wiebes may be the battle of a generation in the sprints. Most of the time the veterans beat Lorena either by distancing her in the race, or by outsmarting her; Elisa has beaten her a few times in a straight power test. Lorena wins more often than she loses, at least in the last 2 years where the one year Balsamo has in hand over her in age has less of an impact, but Elisa does have her number a bit...

2018 Omloop van Borsele - Balsamo 1st, Wiebes 2nd
2018 Dwars door de Westhoek - Wiebes 2nd, Balsamo 3rd
2018 BeNe Ladies Tour stage 3 - Balsamo 2nd, Wiebes 5th
2018 GP Bruno Beghelli - Balsamo 1st, Wiebes 3rd
2019 Driedaagse de Panne - Wiebes 2nd, Balsamo 6th
2019 Gent-Wevelgem - Wiebes 2nd, Balsamo 9th
2019 Omloop van Borsele - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 2nd
2019 Tour de Yorkshire stage 1 - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 7th
2019 Dwars door de Westhoek - Balsamo 1st, Wiebes 2nd
2019 Flanders Diamond Tour - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 2nd
2019 European Games RR - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 5th
2019 RideLondon Classique - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 2nd
2019 Boels Rentals Ladies Tour stage 2 - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 5th
2020 Madrid Challenge stage 1 - Wiebes 1st, Balsamo 2nd
2020 Madrid Challenge stage 3 - Balsamo 1st, Wiebes 2nd

Worth noting is that Balsamo is a lot more durable than Lorena and has contested some genuinely difficult races - 11th in Emilia in 2018, 10th in Amstel Gold in 2019, 2nd in a Tour of California stage won by Anna van der Breggen, and 8th in La Course this year).
 
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So it seems the Chloe Dygert to Canyon-SRAM rumours have come to pass. Funny that she would pick this week of all weeks to announce that, as she inadvertently actually becomes the first American to follow through with their "if this doesn't go the way I want, I'm moving" threats, although usually the threat is moving to Canada of course.

There are two big ifs, but if they come to pass, this could be the biggest signing of the offseason. Those are, "if she adapts to riding constantly in the European péloton" - she has been a big fish in a small pond, winning everything with ease in the US domestic péloton, which she has clearly outugrown, but as a result she'll have to think a lot more tactically in Europe against the level of riders she will be facing as she won't always be able to win on brute strength alone, and her predecessor as the toast of the myopic "USA! USA!" fans, Mara Abbott, never truly managed to adapt and in her best seasons rode the US domestic season for form and then parachuted in to Europe to lead her chosen races, fostering some resentment both among fans and fellow riders who would never see their work reciprocated - and "if she recovers from having a hole the size of Iowa in her knee" after her horrendous crash at the World Championships, which is pretty self explanatory.

Presumably she will ride part time road to enable her to focus on Tokyo in the first instance; the delay of the Olympics has probably necessitated this move as, after Harrogate, there was no reason for her to delay the transition to racing in the WWT other than the Olympics, but now it becomes a year lost if she doesn't try to make the jump.
 
So it seems the Chloe Dygert to Canyon-SRAM rumours have come to pass. Funny that she would pick this week of all weeks to announce that, as she inadvertently actually becomes the first American to follow through with their "if this doesn't go the way I want, I'm moving" threats, although usually the threat is moving to Canada of course.

There are two big ifs, but if they come to pass, this could be the biggest signing of the offseason. Those are, "if she adapts to riding constantly in the European péloton" - she has been a big fish in a small pond, winning everything with ease in the US domestic péloton, which she has clearly outugrown, but as a result she'll have to think a lot more tactically in Europe against the level of riders she will be facing as she won't always be able to win on brute strength alone, and her predecessor as the toast of the myopic "USA! USA!" fans, Mara Abbott, never truly managed to adapt and in her best seasons rode the US domestic season for form and then parachuted in to Europe to lead her chosen races, fostering some resentment both among fans and fellow riders who would never see their work reciprocated - and "if she recovers from having a hole the size of Iowa in her knee" after her horrendous crash at the World Championships, which is pretty self explanatory.

Presumably she will ride part time road to enable her to focus on Tokyo in the first instance; the delay of the Olympics has probably necessitated this move as, after Harrogate, there was no reason for her to delay the transition to racing in the WWT other than the Olympics, but now it becomes a year lost if she doesn't try to make the jump.
She also talked about her crash:

"In my mind, I didn't think that I was winning by enough, so I felt like I needed to push all the limits that I possibly could," Dygert said. "I had planned to ride that turn in my aerobars, so it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing – it was planned – but I needed to push the limits, and I was going too fast and couldn't control the bike. It's very vivid to me. It doesn't scare me, and I've seen replays of it and it doesn't bother me too much, and not as big of a deal as it looked, I think."

I suspect if she recovers fully she'll ride part time, as you say, in races that play to her strengths.

(by the way, please stop the gratuitous US bashing Libertine. It's beneath you.)
 
Which bit do you feel I've gone too far with? As far as I can see there's three things here that could be seen as US-bashing.

The first is the bit about the "if this happens, I'm moving" gag which seems to happen every election, I was trying not to trip the political wire whilst also making a joke at the timing of this, given Chloe has very much nailed her political colours to the mast. Not intended as a bash.

I did perhaps disparage the status of the US domestic calendar, but given the way other pros have dominated it in the past I don't feel that that's unfair; while the top riders are top riders regardless, the depth is not as great as Chloe would be facing with Canyon-SRAM at most events. The US races are at the same kind of level as European non-WWT events like, say, the BeNe Tour or Graciá-Orlová, they could reasonably be at the level of events like Thüringen given time, but obviously geographically they're a bit out of the way so they don't tend to bring too many Euro teams across; like Katie Hall and Mara Abbott before her, Chloe has clearly outgrown that scene and I feel we should be seeing her face off against the likes of van Vleuten, Vos and Deignan regularly at this point in her development.

The other bit, perhaps the most obvious one, is the bit about the myopic 'USA! USA!' fans. There are a few riders who seem to have enthused the patriotic fan more than others. In some respects I find that kind of bemusing. Mara Abbott and Kristin Armstrong certainly both attracted a lot of cheering from American fans who seemed to be only fans of their chosen rider as the sole representative of American pride. It seemed to mostly apply to the riders who stayed dominating in the American calendar however, as the same fans didn't seem to latch onto Evelyn Stevens or Megan Guarnier in the same way. Not even Katie Hall, who I thought would have been the successor to Abbott in that respect, having a mountain-biased skillset and coming over to Europe late after smashing people in North America for a few years. Coryn Rivera does get a bit of that, but Chloe seems to inherit that mantle. I'm not really sure why, it's hard to really put a finger on who will or won't get that kind of following. If it was based on success, then Guarnier should definitely have attracted that kind of fandom. If it was based on familiarity from home races, I can't understand why Hall didn't get it. If it was based on patriotism, then I can see why they might have latched on to Dygert, but Abbott is almost totally politically opposite to Dygert, so there doesn't seem consistency in it.

Also, Stevens and Hall are two of my favouritest American riders and they didn't get that kind of support, so I resent it ;)
 
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It seems that a Belgian domestic squad is turning into an Irish registered, Belgian based, UCI team with a three way split of Irish/Belgian/Other riders.

It includes five of the best Irish domestic riders, probably most notably national champion Lara Gillespie. She’s a teenager and already elite national champion at road racing, cyclocross and some track disciplines. But the list of mostly young Belgian, German, Danish, Swiss and Austrian riders is also interesting.

it seems there will be 17 riders and they are sponsored by a company called Rupelcleaning that has a surprisingly small time web presence.

https://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/five-top-irish-women-sign-for-new-irish-registered-uci-continental-team/

it seems like a rough equivalent to the old An Post Sean Kelly team in the men’s peloton
 
It seems that a Belgian domestic squad is turning into an Irish registered, Belgian based, UCI team with a three way split of Irish/Belgian/Other riders.

It includes five of the best Irish domestic riders, probably most notably national champion Lara Gillespie. She’s a teenager and already elite national champion at road racing, cyclocross and some track disciplines. But the list of mostly young Belgian, German, Danish, Swiss and Austrian riders is also interesting.

it seems there will be 17 riders and they are sponsored by a company called Rupelcleaning that has a surprisingly small time web presence.

https://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/five-top-irish-women-sign-for-new-irish-registered-uci-continental-team/

it seems like a rough equivalent to the old An Post Sean Kelly team in the men’s peloton
Great to hear. Up till now there has been little or nothing for Irish women at various levels
 
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Probably has a contract already, which just hasn't been announced yet.

I'm more worried about Clara Koppenburg. Her results should normally guarantee her a contract somewhere but she is also crashing/injured a lot. She is a pocket climber, mostly at home on the super steep stuff, but has also shown that there definitely is a motor in that tiny and skinny frame of hers. It would be a shame to lose her from the peloton. It needs riders like her lighting up the few harder races we have.
 
I can't see Clara not getting a ride. There aren't too many pure climbers around and they are good for a reasonable GC at a few high profile races. She won on Xorret del Catí against some really big names, and she's only 25. I'm pretty confident she'll find a spot.
 
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It seems that a Belgian domestic squad is turning into an Irish registered, Belgian based, UCI team with a three way split of Irish/Belgian/Other riders.

It includes five of the best Irish domestic riders, probably most notably national champion Lara Gillespie. She’s a teenager and already elite national champion at road racing, cyclocross and some track disciplines. But the list of mostly young Belgian, German, Danish, Swiss and Austrian riders is also interesting.

it seems there will be 17 riders and they are sponsored by a company called Rupelcleaning that has a surprisingly small time web presence.

https://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/five-top-irish-women-sign-for-new-irish-registered-uci-continental-team/

it seems like a rough equivalent to the old An Post Sean Kelly team in the men’s peloton
I think Omloop is their first pro race as a team.
 
Anyone else watch the ladies race yesterday? Thought it was pretty good and that Voellering might have stayed away, but once it came back together, it was rather predictable that Van Der Breggen would ride away from them. SD Worx a bit 'Quick Step-esque'.

Also was thinking this whilst watching and then as if the commentator read my mind, pointed out there is too much purple making it hard to distinguish teams. SD Worx and Liv have nice kits, but are really similar in the bunch especially head on. Even Canyon as well is a bit similar.
 

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