12 Ago 15 riders to watch in Vårgårda (1.WWT)
“The Cannibal” is one our of the top favorites to follow in Sweden, where she will make her debut with as European road race champion. After an awaited comeback in 2016, Marianne Vos hasn’t had an easy season, mixing some great performances and results with tough moments, due to illnesses and injuries, that may prevented her from getting back to her previous dominant position in the women’s cycling peloton. After breaking her collarbone during OVO Energy Women’s Tour, Vos got back on track in BeNe Ladies Tour, winning the overall race as well as two stages (despite crashing in the prologue) before finishing fourth at Prudential RideLondon Classique in a soaking wet criterium.
“The Belgian Bullet” heads back to Vårgårda, where she claimed in 2015 her second UCI RWC victory aiming her second UCI WWT round victory of the 2017 series. After narrowly missing the victory in front of her home crowds at Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields Belgian rider Jolien D’hoore claimed in Chongming Island her second UCI WWT round victory (after winning La Madrid Challenge in 2016). “The Belgian Bullet” will be a strong chance of victory for British team Wiggle-High5, and of the strongest sprinters that could likely handle the several Vårgårda race course difficulties.
Hannah Barnes is one of the top riders to follow in Vårgårda. During the previous summer months the former British champion has been one of the stronger performers of the international peloton, finishing third overall in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and claiming her first UCI WWT stage victory during the Giro Rosa. After a somehow disappoint result in front of her home crowds at Prudential RideLondon Classique, Barnes will try to claim in Vårgårda her first UCI WWT round victory ever.
Two weeks ago in London, the Cervélo Bigla sprinter narrowly missed her second UCI WWT round victory of the season, finishing second just behind Coryn Rivera. In Crescent Vårgårda Road Race Lepistö is one our of the top riders to follow. Finish rider Lotta Lepistö hit some strong form during the spring classics season winning both Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, claiming her first UCI WWT round win ever (also the first one for Cervélo Bigla). After successfully defending her national road titles, Lepistö forwarded momentum claiming her first stage victory at the Giro Rosa.
Despite the Boels-Dolmans rider hasn’t been able to match her outstanding 2016 classics season (where Blaak showed herself as one of the riders on best contenders claiming two UCI WWT round wins and several victories and podiums), Chantal Blaak has persistently performed throughout the season scoring some good results and claiming her first road race national title. In Vårgårda Blaak is one of riders to watch where she will try to improve her 2016 podium place. Although she may have to play a supportive role on behalf of Anna van der Breggen in order to defend and extend her current UCI WWT lead.
Two-time World champion on the road and one-time on the track Giorgia Bronzini is one of our top riders to follow in Sweden. Once of one the most powerful sprinters in the interna
tional peloton, Wiggle-High5 rider has evolved during the previous season becoming a more rounded or solid rider, clearly capable of dealing with the most demeaning race courses. Despite she will likely lead-out her teammate Jolien D’hoore, Bronzini will likely have some freedom to bridge in some breakaways and search her own choices as she recently did at the European championships, where she was only out-sprinted by the greatest Marianne Vos.
Dutch rider Janneke Ensing has been one of the revelations of the 2017 season. The Ale Cipollini rider has persistently performed well throughout the whole season, scoring some good results at several UCI WWT races and showing some great versatility. In Vårgårda Janneke Ensing will be the main Ale Cipollini hope in case the race doesn’t end with a bunch sprint. Whereas if that is the case, the will play the cards of their two strong sprinters Marta Bastianelli and Chloe Hosking. In Sweden Ale Cipollini rider Janneke Ensing is one of our top riders to follow.
The reigning Commonwealth and British road race champion, twice winner of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup, third at the inaugural UCI WWT series and former World champion is one of the top riders to watch in Sweden. Despite long climbs have never really suited her skills, Deignan delivered an outstanding performance in La Course, finishing second atop L’Izoard and setting high expectation for the final part of the season. Thus, it is clear Deignan has already hit some strong form ahead of the Bergen World Championships. After scoring five podiums Deignan will try to claim her first UCI WWT individual victory in the 2017 series. Whether the Boels-Dolmans rider fights for the victory or she plays a supportive role on behalf of Anna van der Breggen, Deignan is one of the top contenders to follow this weekend.
Maria Giulia Confalonieri
Italian rider Maria Giulia Confalonieri is one of our riders to follow in Sweden. After hitting some impressive form during the spring classics season, where she narrowly missed the victory, scoring some top podium finishes, Confalonieri hasn’t been able to match expectations in the Giro Rosa after her 2016 impressive performance. In Vårgårda the Lensworld-Kuota rider will try to improve her fifth place from the previous edition.
After switched teams earlier this season, joining FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope together with Dutch rider Roxane Knetemann, Gillow has persistently performed well during most of the season (finishing on the podium at Emakumeen Saria and GP Plumelec-Morbihan and narrowly missing the podium at several UCI WWT rounds). After a remarkable 5th place atop L’Izoard Australian rider Shara Gillow heads to Sweden as one of our riders to follow in the 16th round of the UCIWWT.
Russian rider Olga Zabelinskaya returned to racing in 2016 after serving an 18-month ban, managing to get back to her previous level claiming some good results, standing out her ITT silver medal at Rio Olympics and her fourth places at both the TTT and ITT Worlds. After breaking her collarbone in China due to a crash, Zabelinskaya seems to have hit again some good form delivering some solid performances and claiming the bronze medal at the recent European Championships.
Spanish national road race champion Sheyla Gutiérrez is one of our top riders to follow in Sweden. In her breakthrough season the “Hippy Lyon” has claimed her second and third pro victories at Le Samyn des Dames and the seventh stage of the Giro Rosa. With her teammate Kirsten Wild as Cylance’s main chance in case of a bunch Gutiérrez heads to Vårgårda as the main Cylance hope in case of a group sprint finale with the opportunity to play a more tactically open role.
With UCI World Ranking leader Annemiek van Vleuten skipping Crescent Vårgårda WWT Road Race, Australian rider Gracie Elvin will be the main hope for Australian Orica-Scott. Despite she hasn’t manage to extend her wining streak in Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, Elvin has been performed well throughout the season scoring an spectacular podium place at Ronde van Vlaanderen (second after Coryn Rivera). Thus, Elvin is one the top riders to watch in case of a group sprint finale.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
After switching teams this season, joining German registered Cervélo-Bigla, the 21-year-old Danish rider Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig has been the biggest revelations of the 2017 season. After her outstanding performances at both one-day and stage races Ludwig is one of the top riders to have under control at the Swedish one-day race. Despite Cervélo-Bigla will likely focus on Lepistö winning chances, Ludwig will play a more tactically open role, as she will try be part of the potentially threatening breakaways.
French rider Elise Delzenne will be the main hope for Lotto Soudal at the Swedish one-day race. After claiming a stage victory in Luxembourg at Festival Elsy Jacobs Delzenne has persistently performed well throughout the past months, scoring several podiums and top-10 finishes. Despite she has recently scored some top results French rider Elise Delzenne is one of our riders to follow in Vårgårda.
The 22-year-old British rider is one of the revelations of the season. After hitting some good early season during Santos Women’s Tour, Barnes forwarded momentum during the European classics season, scoring some top results such as finishing eight and seventh at Ronde van Drenthe and Gent-Wevelgem, setting high expectations for the following races. After a superb OVO Energy Women’s Tour (where she finished sixth and narrowly missed the victory against Chloe Hosking), Barnes claimed her first UCI victory of the season at BeNe Ladies Tour, winning stage 1 after breaking away with Marianne Vos. Drops young star Alice Barnes is one of the top riders to follow in Vårgårda.