Born: 18.12.1988, Otley, W. Yorks (age 25)
Victories this year: Omloop ven het Hageland, Ronde van Drenthe, Otley GP – Lizzie has also taken numerous second and thirs this year including at the Tour of Qatar (2nd, Stage 3), the Omloop het Nieuwsblad (3rd), the Trofeo Binda (2nd), the Ronde van Vlaanderen (2nd), the Energiewacht Tour (2nd Stage 1; 3rd Stage 2; 3rd Stage 4), the Fleche Wallonne (2nd), the Emakumeen Saria (2nd), the Emakumeen Bira (2nd Stage 2) and the National Road Race Championships (3rd). In addition, she leads the World Cup standings with 420 points to second-place Emma Johansson’s 260; five-time winner Marianne Vos says “it’s hard to see past her.”
Previous in this race: Last year, Lizzie was one of three riders on Stage 1 to equal winner Emma Johansson’s time, taking second place – which put her into third in the General Classification as Annemiek van Vleuten (third over the line) had won more bonification seconds in the intermediate sprints. She then finished Stage 2 in ninth place but remained third overall until Stage 4 when she lost time. On Stage 7 she was fifth, finishing 18″ behind stage winner Tatiana Guderzo, and finished up in 23rd place overall with a time deficit of 14’35” to General Classification winner Johansson.
Can she win?: Lizzie’s been a world-class rider for a few years now but at 25 she seems to be coming into her best years, moving into the top five riders in the world on many people’s lists. She has proved herself consistently able to challenge the likes of Vos and Johansson, and no longer only in the sprint – to take second at the Emakumeen Saria she needed to remain in contention after four 150m climbs of Miota and a pair of Cat. 2 300m climbs, then still have the energy to compete with Vos’ supreme bike-handling on the crazy-steep 400m descent back into Durango. She beat Johansson, and matched Vos’ time. She also benefits from the serious commitment given to her by her team, which is sending a strong squad made up of Demi Jong, Romy Kasper, Sanne van Paassen, Nicky Zijlaard and Christine Majerus to back her up.
Winning the Rundfahrt is a tall order – hey, winning any race at this level is a tall order, for any rider – and Lizzie faces very strong competition (especially from Specialized-Lululemon and Australian National Team), but victory seems well within her capabilities.
With only three days to go before the 27th Thüringen Rundfahrt gets under way the start list remains incomplete. If more British riders are confirmed, we’ll add them here.