Emakumeen Euskal Bira mini preview

Sources: Race website, sat24.com

ETB1 will be showing highlights of each stage, with the last stage on Sunday being shown live. There are no streams but their website seems to have a catch up feature, so hopefully the videos will be uploaded there.

Map of 3km prologue and Stages 1 to 4 from the official technical guide (which is on the old website)

Prologue
Prologue
Stage 1
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 4

Interactive maps of the stages can be found on the new official website. (Click the expand button on each one to go to Google Maps.)

Google Streetview run through of stages 1 to 4

The weather will be cloudy but fine for the prologue, then rain and some humidity for the rest of the stages until Sunday when it’ll be fairly sunny. Wind will be mostly from the south, around 20km/h. Temperatures will start at around 12degreesC and slowly rise to a warm 16degreesC for last stage.

The start list can be found on the official website, and on Cyclingfever.

While this is an elite race it really ought to be a world tour one, not least because a great course won’t have a full line up of contenders. With Flèche Wallonne next Wednesday we have no RaboLiv (with last years winner Niewiadoma), Orica-AIS or Canyon SRAM. (Amanda Spratt and Tiffany Cromwell will still be here racing for Team Australia.) But Wiggle H5 are here to give Boels Dolmans a run for their money, and let’s face it someone has to. One team dominating the wins has sucked the life out of the racing so far, not least because the other teams have been floundering around unsure or not yet fit enough to take them on. But at Energiewacht there was slight change in dynamics, and at Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria today (the precursor to this race) Megan Guarnier had to fight hard with Wiggle’s Elisa Longo Borghini for the win. Boels have only 4 other riders listed so far to support Guarnier (Evelyn Stevens, Karol-Ann Canuel, Demi de Jong, Katarzyna Pawlowski). Wiggle have Giorgia Bronzini, Dani King, Mayuko Hagiwara, Audrey Cordon Ragot along with Longo Borghini to support Emma Johansson for the GC. And maybe they’ll get a little help from their friends in Team Australia. Lotto Soudal Ladies bring a massively talented team with Claudia Lichtenburg, Jessie Daams, Susanna Zorzi, Sofie de Vuyst, An-Li Kachelhoffer and Anisha Vekemans. Cylance will put up a fight with Rosella Ratto. Cervelo Bigla’s Ashleigh Moolman Pasio has been slightly off form lately, but the climbs may well tip the balance in her favour. Ale Cipollini will have Malgorzta Jasinska. BePink will be riding for Lex Albrecht. Team Inpa Bianchi’s Tetyana Riabchenko finished 6th last year, albeit a minute and a half down on the winner. The rest of the start list, who will be vying for stage results, is completed by Bizkaia Durango, BZK Emakumeen Bira – Smurfit Kappa, Vitalogic – Astrokalb Radunion Nö, Lointek, S.C. Michela Fanini, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, Drops, Team Spain, DN 17 Poitou-Charentes, Parkhotel Valkenburg, MAT ATOM Sobótka, Podium Ambition and Bioracer – EK.

For the GC, if not Guarnier then Johansson. Jasinska will do well I think, and I hope Lichtenburg does too.