Sources: Cyclinghub.tv, Lotto Cycling Cup, Tour of Poland, Procycling.no, Energiewacht Tour, Redlands Classic, nieuwsblad.be, wielerverhaal.com
Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) just pipped Emma Johansson (Wiggle H5) to win Ronde van Vlaanderen. Chantal Blaak (Boels) was third, with team mate Megan Guarnier fourth and 2015 winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle) fifth. Ellen van Dijk (Boels), Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica AIS), Pauline Ferrand Prevot (RaboLiv), Claudia Lichtenburg (Lotto Soudal Ladies) and Katarzyna Niewiadoma (RaboLiv) completed the top 10 respectively. Full results here, full race broadcast video here. A relief to see Wiggle back to their best, instead it was RaboLiv throwing away their chances (which they were the first to admit). Boels continue to hand everyones arses to them, despite going into precise detail into how they raced each and every time they do so. That top 5 is pretty embarrassing for their peers, especially as over 200K viewers saw the final. Good results though for Lotto Soudal, Lensworld Zanatta Etixx (20th for Maria Giulia Confalonieri) and UHC (Coryn Rivera 16th). Drops, BMS Birn and BTC City Ljubljana managed to get some of their riders into the main finishing group 3 mins down, keeping up with the leading groups for much of the race. However many riders were starting in GP Dottignies the day after so didn’t have much of an incentive to race hard at the end. Janicke Gunvaldsen of Hitec had quite a bad fall as you can see at the start of the video above, you can read a short interview with Procycling.no here about it. Before the race vrouwenpeloton.be interviewed several riders about how they plan on beating Boels, which you can read here.
Georgia Bronzini (Wiggle H5) took the win at GP Dottignies in a bunch sprint, beating Marta Bastianelli (Ale Cipollini) and Roxane Fournier (PC Futuroscope 86) into 2nd and 3rd respectively. Full results here, small clip of Bronzini crossing the line here. This puts Bastianelli at the top of the Lotto Cycling Cup table (current standings in PDF here), with Kelly Druyts (TSVL Etixx Guill D’or) second and Fourier third. Other classifications can be found here. The next race in the Lotto Cycling Cup is Dwars door de Westhoek on the 24th April 2016.
The Tour of Poland organisers announced details of the women’s race. You can view the quite Hollywoodesque presentation here and also on their website. There are 3 stages over 2 days, from the 19th to the 20th July 2016.
Teams are now getting ready for the Energiewacht Tour in the Netherlands and Redlands Classic in the US. Both run from the 6th to the 10th April, and you can follow Energiewacht via live tweeting on their official account from Sarah Connolly, and then later on streaming of Redlands on, oh no!, CyclingTips.
Two US riders are recovering from serious injuries. Lauren de Crescenzo of Visit Dallas DNA crashed at the San Dimas Stage Race, and Kathryn Bertine of Cylance was hospitalised after being caught up in a large crash at the Vuelta Feminil Internacional in Mexico.
Orica AIS have announced Loes Gunnewijk will be joining them in a trainee DS position for this year. This follows a push by the UCI to get more women into senior roles. You can read more on the Orica website here.
Christel Herremans, manager of TSVL Etixx Guill D’or spoke to wielerverhaal.com about the recent rapid changes in women’s road cycling, and how the lack of decent prize money is the main issue. I think if you ask 50 people how to improve women’s cycling you’ll get 50 answers, for example Herremans would like to see all mens teams have a womens counterpart but I suspect many would disagree with that. Genevieve Whitson interviewed some younger riders about the realities of pro cycling and it shows the one thing everyone can agree on, bills need paying at the end of the day.