Stage 4 – AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 Race Report

Lizzie Armitstead retained her Aviva Yellow Jersey heading into the final stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour as reigning Olympic Road Race Champion Marianne Vos took the Stage Four victory from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent, the European City of Sport for 2016.

Vos headed home Team Liv Plantur’s Leah Kirchmann and Wiggle HIGH5’s Emma Johansson, as a front group of 21-riders contested the finish on an uphill drag into Stoke-on-Trent city centre.

In the process the Rabo Liv rider narrowed her gap to Armitstead on the overall classification to 15-seconds, although Armitstead’s nearest challenger, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, slipped back to eight-seconds down in second overall, with Elisa Longo Borghini a further two seconds in arrears.

“We race as a team and we race aggressively, that’s always our tactic. From a team perspective we had a good race I had good legs again on the climb,” said Lizzie Armitstead after the stage.

“The race stayed together until the climb and then me, Ashley and Elisa went on the second Queen of the Mountains, Emma was in no-man’s land so she came back up to us and there was a bit of cooperation for maybe 5k and then Emma and Elisa started attacking

“In the final kilometres I could tell they [peloton] were coming back…coming into the final kilometre there were a couple of turns with up-hill flickers and again Emma and Elisa were attacking so it was just about covering them and as the group from behind pulled I tried to put myself in a good position but got caught out a little bit on the last corner.”

Lizzie Armitstead Yellow Jersey – Stage 4 AVIVA Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Yellow Jersey holder after stage 4 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 – Lizzie Armitstead talks of her frustration after a testing day in the saddle for her team.

Interview – Marianne Vos – Stage 4 Winner – AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Marianne Vos winner of Stage 4 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016 chats at the press conference to the assembled media.

On the tough run through the Staffordshire Moorlands in the final third of the stage, Armitstead had again proved herself to be one of the toughest riders in the race, escaping in a four rider group that went clear on two back-to-back Strava Queen of the Mountains climbs at Ramshorn and Oakamoor.

In addition to the World Champion, her breakaway companions from Stage Three who lie second and third overall, Moolman Pasio and Longo Borghini, joined her along with Swedish national champion Emma Johansson.

The four struck out until just after the final kilometre marker, with Vos leading the chase to catch them on the final climb of Botteslow Street into Stoke-on-Trent city centre.  The winner of the 2014 Women’s Tour made the catch and then straight away led out the sprint through the final corner and into the short, uphill finish straight.

“We were riding full gas and we could see them but they were attacking each other so sometimes they were making really high speeds and sometimes it came closer and then the final kilometre was more up than I expected,” said Vos afterwards.

“On Google Maps it looked a wide road and nicely through some roundabouts but it went ‘boom’ uphill but they were still within 10-seconds, so I decided to just go because otherwise you don’t have a chance.

“I knew I had a chance in the sprint but if there are still four in the lead then you are sprinting for fifth and that wasn’t really in my plan today.”

The stage win for Vos helped her to an unassailable 27-point lead in the Chain Reaction Cycles Points jersey, meaning she just has to finish the race to claim the jersey.

In the Best Young Rider jersey, presented by the city of Stoke-on-Trent in its year as European City of Sport, Floortje Mackaij extended her lead to 51-seconds over teammate Molly Weaver.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Katie Hall retained the Strava Queen of the Mountains jersey, but Moolman Pasio ate into her lead, meaning the destination of the jersey will be decided between the two riders on the first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Newnham Hill outside Daventry.

For full results and standings from Stage Four, please click here.

Stage Five of the Aviva Women’s Tour takes place in Northamptonshire, the third year that the race has visited the county, with the final day’s racing taking place over 113.2-kilometres between Northampton and Kettering.

For further information on Stage Five, please click here.

Amateur cyclists can also ride part of the Aviva Women’s Tour route this year in the Tour Ride Northamptonshire, the official sportive of the Aviva Women’s Tour.  Taking place one month after the final stage, on Sunday 17 July, 40 and 80-mile routes starting and finishing from Delapre Abbey in Northampton will take place using sections of the Stage Five route, while there is also a fun, off-road 10-mile route for families. To sign-up head to www.tourride.co.uk

All images ©Copyright www.chrismaher.co.uk | CyclingShorts.cc

Marianne Vos Takes Yellow – Stage 2 Womens Tour 2016 Report

Marianne Vos returned to the Aviva Yellow Jersey, 26-months after she won the race, pulling on the leader’s jersey in Stratford-upon-Avon after her third placed finish behind Amy Pieters moved her into the overall lead.

The Wiggle HIGH5 rider sprinted to victory in the centre of Stratford at the end of a 140-kilometre stage through Warwickshire, heading home a 27-rider group soaked by heavy rain showers throughout the stage.

“It was a hard day, a lot of rain and some quite steep hills. We did a really good job with the team, we have such a strong team here this week so we can play a lot of cards and I’m really glad that I could finish it today,” said Pieters following the stage.

“We want to win always it’s the most important thing, and we are so strong with our team …we stayed calm and raced well and we got it so I hope we can have more wins this week.”

Marianne Vos now holds a three-second lead over Majerus, with Pieters a further four seconds back after commissaires overnight annulled the time gaps from the Stage One finish on review of the final three kilometres, resetting the race going into the Warwickshire stage.

Looking ahead to the next two day’s stages, Vos said; “They look pretty tough, today was not as tough as the upcoming days but already we felt it in the legs a little bit, it was a long stage.  I think tomorrow it’s going to be even more aggressive.

Interview – Marianne Vos Stage2 Aviva Womens Tour 2016 by Cycling Shorts

Marianne Vos talks to the press after taking control of the Yellow Jersey in Stage 2 of the AVIVA Women’s Tour 2016.

“From tomorrow onwards the longer climbs come in, so I definitely think it can split up the field.”

The reigning Olympic Road Race Champion won the inaugural Women’s Tour in 2014, but missed last year’s edition through injury.  Questioned as to whether she can hold the Aviva Yellow Jersey, her reply was categoric.

“I have no idea!  Of course it’s nice to be in the yellow jersey, it gives some confidence and motivation for the next days, so I’ll definitely try but there are some good competitors in contention.

“To be here in such a top class field and in the jersey is of course a good feeling, but we’re only on the second day so I will take it day by day.”

Despite often inclement weather conditions the stage was another fast paced affair, with lots of attacking riding, no rider more so than Ale Cipollini’s Emilia Fahlin, who was twice away in moves off the front of the race, the second time alone.

The Swede was caught on the first Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Burton Dassett, with Amalie Dideriksen and Malgorzata Jasinska the next duo to stay away, building a gap of 50-seconds, which was steadily whittled down by the speeding bunch.

The pair were caught by the small lead group with less than 20-kilometres of racing remaining and despite a flurry of attacks on the run in, the leaders hit the final kilometre together, with Pieters pipping Brennauer by the narrowest of margins.

Marianne Vos also moves into the lead of the Chain Reaction Cycles Points classification, with a three-point lead over Majerus, who is then ten-points clear of Pieters.

Lizzie Armitstead finished safely in the front group in 18th to remain the highest placed British rider overall in the Adnams Best British Rider jersey

The Strava Queen of the Mountains jersey also changed hands, moving to UnitedHealthcare’s Katie Hall, two points ahead of Ilona Hoeksma.

Her compatriot Floortje Mackaij retains the Best Young Rider jersey presented by Stoke-on-Trent, European City of Sport 2016, but is equal on time with Danish champion Dideriksen and Brit Molly Weaver, the trio 1-minute 03-seconds up on the fourth placed young rider.

For full results and standings following Stage Two, please click here.

Highlights of Stage Two will be shown on ITV4 at 21:00 on Thursday 16 June, with a repeat on Friday afternoon at 12:35.  The programme will also be available on demand via the ITV Hub catch-up service for 30-days.

Stage Three sees the Aviva Women’s Tour head to Derbyshire and into the Peak District National Park, heading from Ashbourne to Chesterfield and including the mid-stage climb of Bank Road in Matlock, which later this year will play host to the National Hill Climb Championships.

For more information on Stage Three, please click here.

All images copyright www.chrismaher.co.uk | CyclingShorts.cc

Aviva Women’s Tour 2016 Pre Race Round Up

 

All images ©Copyright www.chrismaher.co.uk | CyclingShorts.cc

 

 

The Aviva Women’s Tour 2016 is a UCI Women’s World Tour event. Starting in Southwold on June 15th and finishing in Kettering on June 19th. Covering a total distance of six-hundred-and-twenty-one kilometers in total is the longest distance covered so far in this third edition of the Women’s Tour. With an increase to under seven-thousand-four-hundred meters of ascending, this is by-far the toughest Tour to date.

WT2016_NationalMapThe five day stage race’s longest individual stage is stage two from Atherstone to Stratford-upon-Avon at a distance of one-hundred-and-forty kilometers. This years Tour will visit seven counties; five, new to the Tour.

Marianne Vos makes a welcome return to the Tour this time around after missing most of last seasons racing. Vos won the inaugural Women’s Tour back in 2014 riding with Rabo Liv and returns again with her Rabo Liv team-mates to reclaim her crown winning races already this year in Europe Vos will still be a force to recon with this Tour.

Defending champion Lisa Brennauer returns to the Women’s Tour in the re-jigged Canyon-SRAM team along with the winner of the final stage from last year in Hemel Hemstead, Hannah Barnes. Hannah was back in America last weekend riding the Philadelphia Classic, the last round of the UCI Women’s World Tour where American National Champion Megan Guarnier, Boels Dolmans took the victory.

The Aviva Women’s Tour is the second longest event in the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar in 2016. The longest being Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile starting on July 01st and ending on July 10th.

 

Listen to the Pre Tour Press Conference below with Marianne Vos, Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Johansson & Lisa Brennauer.

Aviva Women’s Tour 2016 Pre Race Press Conference by Cycling Shorts

With less than 24 hours to the start of the 2016 Aviva Women’s Tour CyclingShorts.cc brings you the pre race press launch with Marianne Vos, Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Johansson & Lisa Brennauer.

Pre Race Press

Mick Bennett: He can’t remember having such a line up! Defending Champion Lisa Brennauer, World’s number one Emma Johansson, Olympic Champion Marianne Vos and the World Champion Lizzie Armitstead.

Press: Aims for the week?

Lizzie: Finishing my first ever Women’s Tour, with a chuckle! I’ve managed to do that. Lizzie went on to say that she just wanted to enjoy being the (World) Champion and having a good race. She wants to come out of this weeks Tour feeling stronger than she has coming into it.

The girls are all eager to get a good GC contention for themselves or one of their team mates, Emma had said that should they get a good first result, they would fight all the way to Sunday.

Press: Women’s Cycling has grown significantly over the past few years. How important is the Tour in the Women’s Calendar?

Lizzie: Races like these are the blueprint of how they should be put on. In 2016, this is how it should be done. The Women’s Tour is leading the way. She went on to say that the UK has the most prestigious stage race in Women’s Cycling. In terms of professionalism and race organization the Tour leads the way.

They all agree that the Tour has a really good feel to it and that the crowds that line the roads are the best in Women’s Cycling too. They love the school children on the roadside and the enthusiasm.

Mick Bennett hinted that it’s Sweetspot’s intention to make it a seven day stage race next year, and the possibility of a time-trial or team-time-trial too! The Women’s Tour has a very, very good future with stars like this here year-on-year!

 

 

UCI Women’s World Tour Ranking after the Philadelphia Classic

 UCI WorldTourRankings2016

Words by Chris Maher

Rees rides to dream finish at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

Prudential RideLondon 2014
Rees rides to dream finish at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100
A desire to raise money for charity drove Ian Rees to be first across the line at the end of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 this morning, completing a journey of recovery for the 43-year-old Bristol-based diabetic who was inspired by watching last year’s event.
Twelve months ago the former pro stood leaning on his crutches beside The Mall watching the first ever Prudential RideLondon sportive and promised himself that he would lead the mass riders under the finish gantry in 2014 to raise money and the profile of diabetes research.
After 86 of the hardest rain-drenched miles he’s ever ridden, Rees achieved his dream with the aid of his Bristol Dymag TID clubmates Paul Merryweather and Matthew Franklin, and believes his Herculean efforts will bring in some much-needed funds for the diabetes charity JDRF.
“I couldn’t do it last year because I broke my leg, but I watched it with people from the charity and told them that I would be first across the line this year to raise their profile,” said Rees, his mud-splattered face breaking into a smile of pure relief.
“Here I am a year on, and I did it. I can’t believe it. That was the hardest ride I’ve had since I was a pro in France in the 1990s.”
Rees, who’s never done a sportive before, set up the Dymag club with Merryweather to raise money for diabetes research two years ago after being forced to abandon his pro cycling career when he was diagnosed with the condition.
Prudential RideLondon 2014“This is what we really wanted to do,” said Merryweather, who followed Rees safely across the line at the head of a 60-strong bunch of early-finishing sportive riders.”
“I helped Ian set up the team two years ago so this was all about getting him home first and giving JDRF some profile. So it’s mission accomplished; it’s all quite inspirational.”
The group had a plan to stay near the front of the pack, avoiding as far as possible any problems caused by the adverse weather, and were full of praise for the organisers’ decision to shorten the 100-mile route by 14 miles, cutting out the potentially treacherous climbs up and down Box Hill and Leith Hill.
Prudential RideLondon 2014“We worked so well as a team,” said Rees. “The rain and the speed we were going at the front made it so hard.”
“But it was such a good decision to cut out the hills. I hit a cat’s eye at one point and nearly came off, and there were a few crashes, so I’m really glad they took the hills out because coming down Box Hill or Leith Hill would’ve been deadly.”
“RideLondon have done an absolutely brilliant job. The organisation is as good as a pro race on the continent. I was so impressed, they should do these all over the country. I will do it again next year, definitely.”
Nicola Roberts and Bella Leach were impressed too. The two London friends rode the route together and crossed the line side-by-side, the first women to complete the sportive.
“It was wet but it was great fun,” said Roberts, a member of the Dulwich Paragon club. “It wasn’t too windy so you could still ride. Everyone was just getting on with it really and smiling and chatting.”
“Some of the corners and descents were quite sketchy but people were very considerate, slowing down and talking to each other.”
“I really enjoyed it, it was really good fun to just get out there and stretch the legs,” agreed Leach, a London Phoenix rider. “Nicola and I rode the whole way together so we wanted to cross the line together.”
“I’ve never been up Box Hill or Leith Hill and after today it feels like I’m destined to never ride them!”

Wiggle Honda’s Neil Towns was also among the early finishers, completing his second Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

“Riding at the front was really exciting,” he said. “I did the event last year. It was slighty damper than last year but still fantastic, still good riding. It’s a lovely bike ride that isn’t too challenging so you can just get out there and ride for the fun of it.”
“There were fewer supporters than last year but the ones who were out gave it some welly. I’ll definitely be back next year.”
“This event’s like the London Marathon for cyclists – if you can get a place you jump at it. A beautiful bike ride; the spirit of the London Olympics carries on.”
Ben Knapp backed up the other riders’ support for the shortened route, relishing a ride started by three world greats of women’s cycling: world and Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos, double Olympic track champion Laura Trott and multiple Paralympic gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey.
Ian Rees - post race

Ian Rees – post race

“It was a bit disappointing to have the route shortened but coming across the top of Newlands was pretty nasty so everyone understood why the organisers did it. It was the right decision,” said the Dulwich Paragon rider.”

“More than a quarter of Dulwich Paragon’s 600 members were riding today so it’s a really great event for everyone.”
“Having Marianne Vos, Sarah Storey and Laura Trott starting the ride was great. We set off feeling really inspired.”
All three women then rode the sportive themselves – Vos delighted to be back on the roads where she won Olympic gold two years ago.
“I’ve never done a ride as big as this; it was really something special,” said the Dutch rider who finished second in yesterday’s Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix.
“Just to ride with all these people and see everyone coming out riding, not caring about the rain was fantastic. It was great fun.”
“It was great to back on the roads of London 2012 and to see more than 20,000 out there too was fabulous. I saw quite a lot of them, I think, and everyone was taking care of themselves and each other.”
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