14 Jun 15 riders to watch at Aviva Women’s Tour (2.WWT)
The reigning World, Commonwealth and National road race champion and twice winner of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup, winning the overall competition in 2014 and the final edition in 2015 is one of the top contenders for the tenth UCI WWT event. In 2016 the 27-year old British rider has won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Boels Rental Hills, three out of the sixth UCI Women’s WorldTour races she has competed in. Despite Armitstead is keeping her racing days to a minimum she has proven to be in a good form at each of the races she has taken part in. Armitstead, who currently sits in third place at the UCI WWT, will try to shine and improve her previous result at Aviva Women’s Tour, where she won a stage but had to abandon after crashing just after crossing the finish line of the first stage.
The South-African rider had a tough start of the season with an illness early on that prevent her from defending her time trial and road race national jerseys and a disqualification from Strade Bianche, the first UCI WWT event ever, as a result of a non-crossing rule violation. However, during the past two months Ashleigh has persistently delivered great performances, finishing on the podium at Emakumeen Bira, missing it narrowly at Elsy Jacobs (finished 4th) and at GP Cham-Hagendorn (finished 5th), and finished again on the podium at Boels Rental Hills before winning both the final stage and overall GC at Auensteiner-Radsporttage. Moolman-Pasio heads to Aviva Women’s Tour on a great form and will be on the top riders to watch.
Anna van der Breggen
After her successful comeback, from her heartbreaking crash at Ponferrada 2014 Worlds, Anna carried forward her winning momentum to consolidate her position as one of the best riders of the peloton and as the key rider for Rabobank Liv during the 2015 season. Van der Breggen has won Omloop van de IJsseldelta before reediting her victory at La Fleche Wallonne. Like Armitstead, van der Breggen has kept her racing days to a minimum – in this Olympic year – but has persistently being on a good form. Anna, who currently sits in sixth place at the UCI WWT, is one of the top riders to watch at the tenth UCI WWT race.
Emma is again one of the top favourites to watch at Aviva Women’s Tour. The Swedish rider currently leads the UCI Ranking and sits in second place at UCI WWT Ranking. Johansson has persistently performed well throughout her farewell season and has claimed so far three victories at Emakumeen Bira, where she won both two stages and overall classification. Being part of one of the strongest rosters of the race, Emma Johansson is one of the top riders to watch.
After missing the previous edition of Aviva Women’s Tour (however she attended the race as a commentator) due to injury, the first winner of race Marianne Vos heads back to the British race. “The Cannibal” will make her third appearance at the newborn UCI WWT. After finishing ninth at La Fleche Wallonne, the Dutch rider won a stage at the Amgen Tour of California and finished fourth overall. In her 16 competition days (referring to UCI ranked races only) in 2016, Marianne has shown her great consistency, finishing mostly in the top 10 (she has won two one-day races too). Marianne is one of the top favourites at Aviva Women’s Tour.
Elisa Longo Borghini
The outstanding Italian rider is one of the top riders to watch at the Women’s Tour. Despite being persistently on the top-5 at most of the races she has competed in, Elisa has not been able to claim a victory this season. After very solid performances during April (second at Emakumeen Saria, fourth at Emakumeen Bira and fifth at both UCI WWT rounds Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Fleche Wallonne), a competition rest period and a training camp nearby Passo San Pellegrino, Elisa claimed her first UCI WWT podium, finishing in second position in Philadelphia. Elisa will try to claimed her first victory of the season and in the UCI WWT.
American rider Carmen Small, who has persistently performed well during this Olympic season, is one of the top riders to watch at Aviva Women’s Tour. Small had some great performances during the spring classics finishing fifth at Gent-Wevelgem among other top results. During April Small proved her great form finishing fifth at Emakumeen Bira (wearing one stage the leader’s jersey) and twelfth at La Fleche Wallonne. Two weeks ago Carmel Small become US Pro ITT National Champion reediting her 2013 victory.
In the span of about twelve months current Olympic team pursuit champion (along with Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell) Dani King suffered first a life-threatening crash (that occurred during training in November 2014) and secondly the disappointment of not being preselected for defending her TP title. She outstandingly recovered becoming an all-rounded super-domestique for her Wiggle High5 teammates. Despite playing a supportive role Dani finished eleventh at Amgen Tour of California and seventh at Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. Similar role that she will likely play at Aviva Women’s Tour, where she would a key rider to follow.
After participating at 2016 London Track World Championships, Italian rider Cecchini has done a solid European Road season, persistently finishing on the top-20 at all the races. However, those results are not good for enough for such a talented rider. The Italian national road champion, who finished in eighth place last week in Philadelphia, will be one of the top riders to follow at the demanding stages of Aviva Women’s Tour.
Belarusian rider Alena Amialiusik heads to the Women’s Tour after finishing on the podium at the previous UCI WWT race in Philadelphia. Besides Belarusian rider Amialiusik has delivered great performances during April, finishing sixth at La Fleche Wallonne and third overall at Gracia Orlova (where she won a stage but could not reedit her previous year victory) and May, finishing twelfth at Amgen Tour of California (where she could not reedit neither her third position at the first stage nor her fifth position overall).
German rider Lisa Brennauer is of the riders to follow at Aviva Women’s Tour. Brennauer had narrowly missed the victory at a few races this year but she finally claimed her first victory of the season at the first stage of Auensteiner-Radsporttage, where she finished second overall. Along with Cecchini and Amialiusik she will be part of the Canyon-SRAM solid roster for the British race.
Retired from road cycling in 2014, Emma Pooley broke the news last year when some media announced her comeback to professional cycling. Shortly Pooley revealed it was not a comeback to cycling but an adaptation, from duathlon and triathlon, in pursuit of an Olympic gold medal dream. After participating at The Women’s Tour de Yorkshire race, this will be her cycling second competition in 2016. Pooley is one of the riders to follow at Aviva Women’s Tour.
Italian rider has had a very irregular start to the season. During the previous months Ratto has been delivering good performances at Ronde van Vlaanderen, Emakumeen Saria, Emakumeen Bira and Amgen Tour of California but still lacking of persistence. Rosella finally claimed her first victory of the season (the first one as well for her team Cylance Pro Cycling) at Winston Salem Cycling Classic. However Ratto did not forward momentum and could only finished in 32nd position in Philadelphia. Despite her inconsistent performances Rosella is one of the riders to follow in England, where she will likely share leading duties with Swiss rider Doris Schweizer (who entered in the roster replacing American rider Shelley Olds, who won’t be back to racing due to lingering concussion symptoms).
In 2015 she won the last stage and the overall classification at Premondialle Giro della Toscana as well as finishing fifth at Giro dell’Emilia. The current Polish Champion started strongly the 2016 season winning the “Gran Prix San Luis Femenino”, finishing on the podium at three stages of “Tour Femenino de San Luis” as well as finishing second overall. Jasinska delivered great performances during April at Emakumeen Saria (4th), Emakumeen Bira (9th) and Fleche Wallone (13th). In the previous weeks Jasińska has finished 21st in Philadelphia and twelfth overall at Auensteiner-Radsporttage. Despite she is not her best form, Jasińska is one of the riders to follow.
Australian national champion Amanda Spratt had a great start to the season claiming the road national tittle and the victory at Cadel Evans Race. A training accident prevent her from forwarding momentum throughout the spring season. After a solid training camp with her team and with her focus on Rio Spratt is one of the riders to watch at the British race. Along with her fighting teammate and compatriot Gracie Elvin (who recently reedited her victory in Gooik) she will lead Orica-AIS at the British race.