Emakumeen Euskal Bira, Omloop van de Ijsseldelta, Ronde van Gelderland and US Crits round up, Emma Pooley on her return to road racing,

Sources: eitb.eus, Emakumeen Euskal Biraomloopvandeijsseldelta.nlrondevangelderland.nlusacycling.org, TelegraphWielerparcoursen

Emma Johansson (Wiggle H5) won the Emakumeen Euskal Bira title on Sunday, finishing 5th in the final stage that was won by Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans). Guarnier came second overall with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Cervelo Bigla) just sneaking into third with bonus seconds from a third place in the final stage. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle) took forth and Carmen Small (Cervelo) fifth. The top ten was completed by Anna Solovey (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Claudia Lichtenburg (Lotto Soudal Ladies), Evelyn Stevens (Boels), Malgorzta Jasinska (Ale Cipollini) and Doris Schweizer (Cylance). You can see the full results on the race website here, and the last 50km of the final stage here. As the GC was so tight at the beginning of the last stage there was little chance of anyone being let go, and Johansson in particular seems to have eyes in the back of her head throughout the tense finale. The race is a welcome return to form for Moolman Pasio, and if there had been more climbs perhaps Lichtenburg could have made it into the top 5. All stage highlights are available from eitb.eus for a few weeks, and they have all been uploaded on Youtube too.

Many GC contenders were absent from the race, instead taking part in two elite races in the Netherlands. Omloop van de Ijsseldelta on Saturday saw Anna van der Breggen (RaboLiv) take the win at  on her home turf over Vera Koedooder (Parkhotel) after they broke away in the final kms. Floortje Mackaij (Liv Plantur) was third in the remaining bunch sprint nearly 3mins down, from a group that had spent all day in a breakaway which left just 31 riders finishing the race. The top then was completed by  Lauren Kitchen (Hitec), team mate Kirsten Wild, Monique van de Ree (Lare Waowdeals), Lucinda Brand (RaboLiv), team mates Moniek Tenniglo and Anouska Koster, and Amy Pieters (Wiggle). You can see the full results here and a short video here.

On Sunday most of the same teams took part in Ronde van Gelderland, with Kasia Niewiadoma (RaboLiv) doing the honours. Natalie van Gogh (Parkhotel) was second and Lieselot Decroix (Lotto) third. The 134km course saw a massive breakaway from BTC City Ljubljana’s Anna Plichta but eventually came down to a bunch sprint between the top 3 followed shortly by the remaining riders. The top ten finished with Marianne Vos (RaboLiv), Lucy Garner (Wiggle), Nina Kessler (Lensworld Zannata Etixx), Euginia Bujak (BTC), team mate Mia Radotic, Chanella Stougje (Parkhotel) and Floortje Mackaij (Liv). Kelly Druyts (TSVL Etixx Guill D’or) and Kelly Markus (Lares) were unlucky to miss out on the points, finishing 11th and 12th respectively. Full results here, video highlights of most of the race from Wielerparcoursen here with the final few seconds here.

Over in US the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Criterium & TTT National Championships took place over the weekend. Rally Cycling won the TTT over UHC and Visit Dallas DNA, and the following day Lauren Tamayo (UHC) took the win in the criterium, with Elle Anderson (Rally) second and Sara Tussey (Visit Dallas DNA) third. Full results can be found here, videos can be found somewhere on Cyclingnews and *vom* Cyclingtips.

Emma Pooley spoke to the Telegraph about her Rio 2016 aims. You can read the full article here, it’s possibly one of the most cynical things I’ve read (and that’s saying something when it comes to cycling). The Olympics is a great event for track cycling, but for the road? Not my cup of tea I’m afraid, and it’s really depressing how much it’s warping the road season. Look at the line ups for the races that happened this weekend, you can understand it but there are only a small number of medals on offer and far too many riders chasing them because of their funding.

Regarding the London 2012 road race, I’m going to say this not to be mean or put a damp cloth on the medalists but because it’s always, always better to be truthful. The reason why so many crowds turned up was because a) it was a free event when the hunt for tickets was a national obsession and b) London was partially shut down for the month as companies had employees work from home or people took their holidays to coincide with the train, tube and road changes. It was absolutely lovely to be in the city for once, it was like stepping into a film set and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I was lucky enough to get some tickets for stadium events after spending all my free time searching for return tickets, and I knew a lot of people who volunteered. Even things like the rowing were packed with people who had missed out on ticketed events. The road race was a fantastic fan event, and Armitstead getting the first gold for GB was the icing on the cake, but I doubt many people watching it were bothered about what was going on. They wanted to be able to say they saw an Olympic event, end of. I know a lot of riders are getting funding according to their Olympic potential but I can’t get excited about a dull race that shouldn’t be in the games.