Cronoescalada profiles (as close as I can see from the roadbook, distances not exact)
Weather will be a warm and humid 26°C with little wind and a chance of rain for the Prologue on Friday. Saturday is cloudy but still around the same temperature, with a SSE breeze of around 7km/h. The forecasts tend not to be so accurate after this but in general the weather will be very warm, reaching 30°C or more for most of the 10 days and with a high chance of isolated storms during the early part of each week.
(stage descriptions later) yeah that aint gonna happen
Welcome to the latest edition of Is Anyone Ever Going To Bring It On Against Boels Dolmans Or What. How RaboLiv managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at the Aviva tour is mystery, leaving a Boels rider (a poorly Lizzie Armitstead) to take the win at a WWT yet again. Boels have got Armitstead here too, with Megan Guarnier (third last year), Evelyn Stevens, Karol Ann Canuel, Amalie Dideriksen and Christine Majerus. They will probably just all stay up there at the head of the bunch/first group and hoover up as many bonus seconds at the sprints along the way, and spread their GC bets because really, why wouldn’t you with a team like that? It’s always hard to know who they are riding for until the race starts. I’m assuming it’ll be Majerus and Guarnier. RaboLiv have Kasia Niewiadoma and last years winner Anna van der Breggen, with Lucinda Brand, Shara Gillow, Roxane Knetemann and Thalita de Jong. So far this year Niewiadoma has mostly avoided racing against the other GC riders at this race. The last major clash was being runner up to Armitstead at Strade Bianche, and 4th at Fleche Wallonne after van der Breggen, Stevens and Guarnier respectively. In her most recent races she has been the big fish in the little pond, so she must be feeling confident (and reaching her peak) to be coming here. Stages 5 and 6 are probably her main goals, perhaps she will be sitting back until then to really put the boot into the GC. Van der Breggen crashed out at the Aviva Tour, along with Brand (and Boels’ Majerus). She hasn’t been too visible this year, matching Armitstead in being choosy about which races to go to. Let’s hope this means she has a back to back win on her mind. Brand has not been having the same sort of success this year compared to 2015, where she managed not only 2 wins but 4 podium places in all at the Giro Rosa. But on the other hand she is a fantastic support rider and consistent in her performances, exactly what van der Breggen needs right now. Same goes for Gillow and also De Jong, who may be eyeing up the stage 7 TT to pick up a win herself. Wiggle H5 have Elisa Longo Borghini and lasts years runner up Mara Abbott, with Giorgia Bronzini, Audrey Cordon Ragot, Mayuko Hagiwara and Chloe Hosking. Can Abbott make it to the podium or even the GC win this year? The flatness of the race compared to previous years is against her. But then again, one massive breakway on stage 6 could do it. Bit of a strange team for Wiggle, Hagiwara and Cordon Ragot have both missed a lot of the season through illness and injury respectively. Not sure if Hosking has the form to go for a win, or is there mainly to help Bronzini support Longo Borghini. Liv Plantur have got a very structured team here. It does look as if they’ve been planning more carefully for this race with their choice of Leah Kirchmann as protected rider, supported by Julia Soek, Riejanne Markus, Molly Weaver, Carlee Taylor and Rozanne Slik. Kirchmann has been bubbling under the big names so far, holding her own against very strong names in the spring races in particular. Her Aviva Tour performance moved her up amongst the Boels’ and RaboLivs, so it does look like there’s a podium place on her to do list here. Canyon SRAM on the other hand don’t seem to be aiming for the GC. Elena Cecchini and Alena Amialiusik are their best bets but they haven’t had great GC performances at this race before. Amialiusik also hasn’t been her usual self this year, and like Mara Abbott the lack of climbs works against her. Cecchini recently won the Italian road nats again, so a non-threatening sprint win from one of the first 4 stages would cheer us all up. Tiffany Cromwell, Trixi Worrack, Alexis Ryan and Barbara Guarischi complete the line up, which has breakaway written all over it. Ale Cipollini are newly kitted up and ready with Malgorzata Jasinska, Marta Bastianelli and Ana Santesteban ready to Kate Bush those climbs. Marta Tagliaferro is also in the team, but her early form seems to have tailed off a bit. Anna Trevesi and Dalia Muccioli complete the team.
Cylance look like they’re aiming for stage wins with young climber Rosella Ratto. BTC City Ljubljana will hopefully take charge of the entertaining breakaway side, with Eugenia Bujak and Olena Pavlukhina. Servetto Footon have recently signed Ting Ying Huang of Taiwan, who lost the overall by one second to Wiggle’s Hosking at the Tour of Chongming Island earlier this year. Definitely will be interesting to see how she does on the flat stages here. BePink have Amber Neben and Lex Albrecht, Astana bring Ingrid Drexel, Hitec are with Lauren Kitchen, Team Inpa Bianchi bring Tetiana Riabchenko, Lensworld Zannata Etixx have Maria Giulia Confalonieri and Alice Maria Arzuffi, Lotto Soudal Ladies have Emma Pooley, Claudia Lichtenberg and Sofie de Vuyst, and Xirayas de San Luis have Paola Munoz. The line up is completed by Aromitalia Vaiano, Bizkaia Durango, HB Supermint, Lointek, PC Futuroscope 86, SC Michela Fanini and Top Girls Fasso Bortolo.
So who wins if it’s not Majerus or Guarnier? Armitstead of course! But I will go for van der Breggen once again because I live in eternal hope that someone will stop the WWT madness.