New women-only track league for Stratford VeloPark — Bronzini wins Ride London — La Route de France — Brits at the Tour of Norway — Jo Rowsell announces engagement — Gabby Durrin launches new CX team — Upcoming Events — Interesting Links — More to come
New women-only track league at Stratford VeloPark
Ellie Cadzow, whom women’s cycling fans will recognise as a member of the Bonito Squadra Corsa team, is working to set up a women-only track racing league based at the VeloPark in Stratford. In order to do this, she needs more women accredited and ready to race and therefore proposes a 4 week accreditation course (4×2 hour sessions) to get 32 women accredited prior to the first League race.
Ellie needs to know how many people would be interested so that she can start organising the course. If you would be interested or would like to know more, you can talk to her on Twitter or via the Women’s Eastern Racing League Facebook page.
“There are enough women in the London, East and South East areas to make it happen and it’s more fun than turbo sessions in winter!” says Ellie.
Bronzini wins Ride London
The second Ride London Grand Prix was won by Wiggle Honda’s Giorgia Bronzini, by barely a tyre width in a classic sprinters’ bike-throw, from World Champion Marianne Vos following a high-octane, 45minute thrash round the St James’ Park circuit that attracted the best ever field of international and domestic women racers seen in the UK for a criterium race. Held as part of the Prudential Ride London festival of cycling the event was televised live, yet still drew the customary huge crowds, vociferously supporting the riders each time they hammered through the grandstand-lined finishing straight and through the chicanes in front of the Queen’s house down the far end of The Mall.
La Route de France
There are no British riders at La Route de France this year, but British team Wiggle-Honda is making sure that the new home of women’s cycling doesn’t get forgotten. With them is two-time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, who many fans considered to have saved this race when organisers’ attempts to prevent any one rider from gaining an early advantage last year resulted in a boring competition with dull and non-decisive stages by winning six stages consecutively – a record.
Bronzini was in London winning the Prudential Ride London a day before La Route started, but she still managed third place for Stage 1 when she was the fastest of the group of eight that finished 1’44” after stage winner Claudia Hausler of Giant-Shimano. Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier came in 13th at +2’56”; Linda Villumsen was 29th at +5’01”; Charlotte Becker, who won the Combativity Prize, was 37th at +5’06”; Mayuko Hagiwara was 40th with an equal time to Becker and Beatrice Bartelloni was 65th at +11’57”.
A podium finish escaped Bronzini on Stage 2 when no fewer than 76 riders finished together to equal stage winner Barbara Guarishci of Ale-Cipollini’s time, and she remained third in the General Classification as a result. Bartelloni, Villumsen, Schnitzmeier, Becker and Hagiwara were also in the group (only two riders, Anisha Vekemans of Lotto-Belisol and Livia Hanesova of the Slovakian NT were not), taking 35th, 46th, 50th, 61st and 73rd respectively.
Another big sprint finish ended Stage 3 with 31 riders crossing the line together. This time, Bronzini was fastest, taking the stage just ahead of Lotto-Belisol’s Jolien D’Hoore, Ale-Cipollini’s Shelley Olds and – perhaps most impressively – Giant-Shimano’s phenomenally talented sprinter Kirsten Wild. Villumsen was 28th and Becker 30th, both riders matching Bronzini’s time; Hagiwara was 43rd at +9″, Schnitzmeier was th at +5’32”.
Stage 4 ended with one of the most thrilling sights women’s cycling can offer: Bronzini and Wild, two of the fastest sprinters in the history of the sport, going head-to-head at the front of a pack of 46 riders for the stage victory.
Bronzini got onto the wheels of a pair of Australian riders in preparation to contest the sprint, but had a bit of bad luck when they became confused with 400m to go about whether they were on the last lap, and stopped – leaving Bronzini in less than ideal circumstances and providing Wild with an opportunity to gain the mere centimetres she needed. “She was stronger, she deserved it,” Bronzini said. Guarischi was third.
With Claudia Hausler and the rest of the General Classification leaders all in the same group there was no change overall and Hausler retains her advantage of 29″ over Alena Àmialiusik and 1’44” over third-placed Bronzini. Villumsen and Hagiwara also made it into the first group for 37th and 40th; Becker and Bartelloni finished at +7″ for 55th and 62nd and Schnitzmeier was 72nd at +23″.
Following criticism of last year’s race (see above), La Route has a few decent climbs for 2014 – nothing that could be described as alpine, but enough to stop the sprinters having everything their own way. Stage 5 saw the first of these, a pair of 250m hills located at around 65km and 87km, not far from the finish, but the 6% gradient could prevent a bunch sprint finish – 14 riders riders finished together after a lead group of six was joined by eight chasers. The remaining riders were sufficiently close at the end that 74 of 76 starters received the same time (only Monika Kadlecova of the Slovakian team was missing, finished 19’33” later and did not make the time cut; Egle Zablotskyte of the Lithuanian NT had abandoned during the stage), but did give the pure sprinters something to think about.
Bronzini can climb remarkably well for a sprinter and is known for winning sprint finishes that feature a short uphill section, but she was far outside the top ten on this stage in 23rd place. She was in the first group and recorded the same time as stage winner Audrey Cordon (France NT) but falls to sixth in the General Classification with a deficit of 2’21”.
CharlotRoutescker was the best-performing rider from Wiggle-Honda, taking fifth and winning the Combativity Prize; at 20th overall with a disadvantage of 5’13” to race leader Claudia Hausler she has little chance of a win but, as a capable all-rounder, could well improve her place over the remaining stages. Linda Villumsen was eighth, also finishing in the lead group; she is 15th overall at +5’01” and, as a very versatile rider, can also improve her overall placing. Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier was 14th and is also 14th in the GC, trailing Hausler by 3’56”; her aggressive riding style means that she too is an athlete to look out for in the next stages. Mayuko Hagiwara was 39th and Beatrice Bartelloni was 67th; they’re 34th (+5’43”) and 66th (+20’16”) respectively.
Tomorrow’s stage features a number of climbs of around 100m. The gradients aren’t high, but with many smaller climbs thrown in for good measure the outcome is hard to guess – a sprinter who feels good might not suffer too much and be able to lay down the power in the final, flat stretch to the finish, but if they’re not at their best after six stages it’s the climbers who’ll be feeling stronger towards the end of the day. Stage 7 features only one climb beginning at 2.6km – it’s approximately 100m and the average gradient is around 6%, but some sections are as much as 10%. Since the riders face a total of ten ascents to finish the race, it’s certainly not set in stone that La Route will be won by a sprinter this year.
As expected, the climbs along the way in Stage 6 were not even nearly hard enough to put the sprinters totally out of contention, and despite several teams trying to formulate breaks around 20km into the stage those who felt good were more than capable of making sure they controlled the outcome: once again, the day ended with another bunch finish and 71 riders finished with the same time.
Giant-Shimano’s Kirsten Wild was perfectly positioned as the line approached, making her victory a virtual formality – when the conditions are in her favour, the powerful Dutch sprinter appears unbeatable. Right behind was Wiggle-Honda’s Giorgia Bronzini for second place, followed by Jolien D’Hoore of Lotto-Belisol. Simona Frapporti (Astana-BePink) won the Combativity Prize.
Mayuko Hagiwara was the next-fastest from Wiggle, taking 39th place; Charlotte Becker was 53rd, Linda Villumsen was 58th, Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier was 69th and Beatrice Bartelloni was the last rider to finish, taking 73rd place at +2’38”. Wild’s team mate and General Classification leader Claudia Hausler stayed out of the action at the front, crossing the line in 38th place; she retains her 1’06” advantage over second-placed Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink) and 1’44” over Audrey Cordon on the France NT. Bronzini remains sixth overall, with a disadvantage of 2’21”.
Giorgia Bronzini’s amazing record of six consecutive stage wins in last year’s La Rote will long be remembered, but as discussed above day after day of flat roads leading to an inevitable bunch finish becomes a little dull, even for the most passionate of fans – and even when it enables a rider as popular as Bronzini to achieve what she achieved. Fortunately, the organisers have been paying attention – too many do not, keep doing the same things each year without paying heed to what the riders and fans are telling them and then act all mystified when people stop bothering to show up. The proper mountain stages that could make La Route into what new fans coming across it for the first time hope it will be, a women’s Tour de France, have not yet been added; however, this year the parcours planners made sure that a climb would be a decisive factor in the outcome.
That climb featured in today’s stage, the last of this edition, and although the riders faced only around 100m of vertical gain to reach the summit it certainly loomed large – starting 2.6km from the beginning of each lap, they would have to climb it a total of ten times. Added to this was the gradient: 6% isn’t particularly taxing to athletes at this level, but the steeper sections of 10% and greater were guaranteed to play a part.
It had the desired effect: for the first time, the pack splintered and riders were split up into distinct groups. Iris Slappendel, riding for the Netherlands NT rather than her Rabo-Liv trade team, Alena Amialiusik of Astana-BePink and Ale-Cipollini’s Barbara Guarischi got away at the start and found an advantage that fluctuated between 30 seconds and a minute. Guarischi suffered bad luck and punctured; calculating that they did not have time to wait for her, the remaining members of the quartet continued – Guarischi, once she’d got her new wheel, attempted to rejoin them but could not. Later, Claudia Hausler gave chase and, as a talented climber, was able cut down the gap.
With 40km to go, Slappendel took a gamble. Having discovered that her comrades were not able to respond quite so strongly as they’d have liked when she accelerated, she decided to launch a solo break – 40km is a long way to ride at race speed on your own, and it could easily have gone wrong had she have found the increased pressure too much.
Having started the stage in 19th place overall with a deficit of 5’16”, it was never likely that Slappendel might overtake Hausler and Amialiusik, who were first and second overall, but they weren’t keen on letting her grab too much time and redoubled their efforts in an attempt to prevent her doing so. Sharing the load, they began slowly but surely to erode their quarry’s advantage, but then in the the final lap Slappendel found the strength she needed for one last push: had the stage have been just twenty metres longer, Amialiusik might have had her, but the Dutch rider had measured out her reserves perfectly and was two seconds ahead as she completed her race. Hausler was third at +6″; the next rider to finish was Aude Biannic of Lointek at +1’57”.
Bronzini was second in group of ten that chased Biannic over the line, finishing at +2’00” for sixth. Linda Villumsen was 13th, recording the same time. Mayuko Hagiwara finished last of the main group of fifteen riders, 45th at +5’30”. The remaining Wiggle-Honda team mates Charlotte Becker, Beatrice Bartelloni and Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier did not finish.
Hausler wins overall with a time of 21h41’22” and Amialiusik is second at +1’02; Biannic is third t +3’35”. Bronzini stayed sixth overall, 4’15” behind Hausler, while Villumsen is 13th at +6’55” and Hagiwara is 30th at +11’07”.
La Route de France General Classification Top Ten
1 Claudia Hausler (Giant-Shimano) 21h41’22”
2 Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink) +1’02”
3 Aude Biannic (Lointek) +3’35”
4 Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products) +3’38”
5 Maaike Polspoel (Giant-Shimano) +3’38”
6 Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) +4’15”
7 Lizzie Williams (Australia NT) ST
8 Sabrina Stultiens (Rabo-Liv) ST Best young rider
9 Malgorzta Jasinska(Ale-Cipollini) ST
10 Elena Berlato (Ale-Cipollini) ST
13 Linda Villumsen (Wiggle-Honda) +2’00”
45 Mayuko HAGIWARA (Wiggle-Honda) +5’30”
Tour of Norway
Previously-released provisional start lists for the Tour of Norway did not include any British riders; however, the final start list, published shortly before the race got underway with a tricky prologue time trial on the 15th of August, showed that Alice Cobb and Lucy Coldwell are riding for the Servetto-Footon/Mixed team – the only Brits in the race.
“The line up includes just a couple of names you might have heard of; Vos, Johansson. Elvin, Hoskins, Worrack, Blaak, Cromwell. Did I mention Vos?” she writes. “So with that provisional start list combined with my lack of form it’s fair to say the targets have shifted somewhat. I think I’ll simply be happy to get round in one piece!”
We’ll have a guest blog report written by Lucy Coldwell here on Neutral Service very soon!
Tour of Norway Overall General Classification Top Ten
1 Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) 5h38’11”
2 Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) +38″
3 Katarzyna Nieuwiadoma (Rabo-Liv) +45″
4 Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren) +54″
5 Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-Lululemon) +1’02”
6 Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) ST
7 Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS) _1’13”
8 Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv) +1’15”
9 Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) +1’34”
10 Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) +2’38”
Jo Rowsell announces engagement
Congratulations Jo – wishing you a wonderful future with plenty more gold, both in ring and medal form!
Gabby Durrin launches new CX team
British cyclo cross star Gabby Durrin and husband Jeremy have launched a new cyclo cross team just before the 2014/15 season gets underway. Based in the USA, it will take the name of main sponsor Neon Velo, a British-based cycling holiday company that already sponsors a development team.
“Partnering with Neon Velo as our title sponsor is something I am really excited about,” Gabby writes on the team’s website. “Being a British rider, it seems only natural to have the backing of a British company. We also love the idea of having representation in both the UK and the US, as it means both Jeremy and I can give maximum exposure to our sponsors. Having the development team already established in the UK enables us both to have support at the races in the US and Europe.”
Upcoming British Events – entry and details
13.08.14 Cornish Series 2014 #8
13.08.14 Pedal Heaven Eelmore Circuit Series #10 – The Real Finale
13.08.14 Cycling Legacy Supporters League August #2
14.08.14 Castle Combe Summer Series #15
16.08.14 Ecclefechan 3-up Team Time Trial
16.08.14 PMR@ToachimHouse Unstoppables – Women’s Team Race Day Cancelled
17.08.14 North of Scotland Criterium Championships 2014 at 00:00
17.08.14 Winchester Criterium
17.08.14 Kinross CC 3-up TTT
17.08.14 Fete De Velo
19.08.14 Crystal Palace Crits #16 Cancelled
19.08.14 Salt Ayre – Total Cycle Coach Womens Series #19
20.08.14 Twickenham CC / WTP Women’s & Vets Races #10
20.08.14 Cycling Legacy Supporters League August #3
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