07-11.05.2014 Official Site
United Kingdom, UCI 2.1
It’s the biggest, most talked-about event to hit women’s cycling for years, one that most fans thought they’d never see: an international women’s stage race of major importance, taking place right here in Britain – and it’s very nearly upon us.
Make no mistake, this is going to be huge.
Emma Trott of Boels-Dolmans, one of the top cycling teams in the world, told the BBC that she believed it “could be even better” than the women’s road race at the 2012 Olympic Games – a race that proved to be magnitudes more popular than even the most optimistic women’s cycling fan ever hoped. We say it’ll be considered a Grand Tour within five years.
Right from the start, the organising committee declared they’d be offering prizes equal to those awarded to the riders in the men’s Tour of Britain; prize parity between men’s and women’s races still being extremely rare in cycling, which immediately gained the interest of the world’s top riders. Then cycling’s international governing body the UCI gave the race its top 2.1 status, allowing the organisers to invite all the top teams. All fourteen leapt at the chance: Astana-BePink, Boels-Dolmans, Estado de Mexico-Faren, Hitec Products, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies, Orica-AIS, Rabobank-Liv/Giant, Specialized-Lululemon, UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team and Wiggle-Honda will all take part, as will Britain’s best-known domestic team Matrix-Vulpine and national squads from Britain and the Netherlands.
Neutral Service, working in conjunction with Matrix-Vulpine, will be providing regular updates throughout the race both on the competition and the riders, as well as daily reports. We’ll also be running a live news ticker from the 6th (the day before the race) and through to the end – and we’d love to publish any photos you’d like to share on it. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact me on Twitter.
Please note that the start list is provisional. Bold denotes a British rider.
|Astana-BePink||Boels-Dolmans||Estada de Mexico-Faren||Hitec Products|
|11 Doris Schweizer||21 Lizzie Armitstead||31 Uenia Fernandes da Souza||51 Thea Thorsen|
|12 Dalia Muccioli||22 Ellen van Dijk||32 Lucy Martin||52 Ashleigh Moolman|
|13 Silvia Valsecchi||23 Romy Kasper||33 Fabiana Luperini||53 Elisa Longo Borghini|
|14 Susanna Zorzi||24 Christine Majerus||34 Rossella Ratto||54 Siri Minge*|
|15 Michela Maltese||25 Emma Trott||35 Erika Yepez||55 Chloe Hosking|
|16 Alice Maria Arzuffi||26 Katarzyna Pawlowska||36 Elena Cecchini||56 Audrey Cordon|
|Lointek||Lotto-Belisol||Matrix-Vulpine||Optum p/b KBS|
|61 Aude Biannic||71 Emma Pooley||81 Helen Wyman||101 Lauren Hall|
|62 Belen Lopez Morales||72 Amy Cure||82 Mel Lowther****||102 Janel Holcomb|
|63 Lucia Gonzalez Blanco||73 Isabelle Beckers||83 Harriet Owen||103 Leah Kirchmann|
|64 Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz***||74 Liesbet de Vocht||84 Jessie Walker||104 Joelle Numainville|
|65 Fanny Riberot||75 Anisha Vekemans||85 Jo Tindley||105 Denise Ramsden|
|66 Aurore Verhoeven||76 Chantal Hoffmann||86 Penny Rowson||106 Jade Wilcoxson|
|111 Emma Johansson||1 Marianne Vos||121 Chantal Blaak||141 Hannah Barnes|
|112 Loes Gunnewijk||2 Annemiek van Vleuten||122 Lisa Brennauer||142 Katie Hall|
|113 Shara Gillow||3 Anna Knauer||123 Karol-Ann Canuel||143 Cari Higgins|
|114 Nettie Edmondson||4 Roxane Knetemann||124 Tiffany Cromwell||144 Sharon Laws|
|115 Valentina Scandolara||5 Iris Slappendel||125 Elise Delzenne||145 Lauren Tamayo|
|116 Gracie Elvin||6 Lucinda Brand||126 Trixi Worrack||146 Ruth Winder|
|151 Laura Trott||41 Lucy Garner||91 Amy Pieters||131 Jolanda Neff|
|152 Dani King||42 Hayley Jones||92 Anouska Koster||132 Linda Indergand|
|153 Charlotte Becker||43 Ciara Horne||93 Henriette Woering||133 Katrin Leumann|
|154 Giorgia Bronzini||44 Emily Kay||94 Ashlynn van Baarle||134 Ramona Forchini|
|155 Peta Mullens**||45 Katie Archibald||95 Mascha Pijnenborg||135 Caroline Bauer|
|156 Linda Villumsen||46 Amy Hill||96 Janine van der Meer||136 Jutta Steinen|
Created with the HTML Table Generator
54 Siri Minge eplaces Miriam Bjørnsrud; confirmed by team manager Karl Lima.
155 Jo Rowsell will not race due to illness.
64 Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz replaces Alicia Gonzalez Blanco.
82 Mel Lowther replaces Sigrid Jochems.
The race consists of five stages which, this year, are all in East Anglia and the south Midlands – in years to come, the race will expand to become a true Women’s Tour of Britain along the same lines as the men’s Tour of Britain (and when it does, it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s considered to be a Grand Tour alongside the Giro Rosa). In total, the riders will cover 493.1km – the shortest stage is 86.8km and the longest is 118.5km.
One thing that was very apparent when examining the route in detail is that it’s going to be a very hard-fought race with plenty of opportunity for different types of rider to gain an advantage over others – there are no high mountains but there are many small climbs that have a significant cumulative effect, while there is also plenty of scope for sprinters to gain the overall lead. With many tight turns and fast bends, there are also lots of stretches where good bike-handling skills will give a rider an advantage. It’s not at all likely that an individual or even a small group of riders will dominate, and we’re probably going to be kept guessing right up until the end.
Stage 1 – o7.05.2014 Oundle – Northampton 92.4km
Stage 2 – 08.05.2014 Hinckley – Bedford 118.5km
Stage 3 – 09.05.2014 Felixstowe – Clacton-on-Sea 86.8km
Stage 4 – 10.05.2014 Cheshunt – Welwyn Garden City 87.8km
Stage 5 – 11.05.2014 Harwich – Bury St. Edmunds 108.1km