Saturday 31 August 2013

Women's Cycling News 01-08.09.2013

UCI races this week - Vos wins GP de Plouay and World Cup - Tour de l'Ardeche - Boels Rental Tour - Transfer News - Interesting Links - more to come...

UCI events this week: Tour de l'Ardeche (02-07.09); Boels Rental Ladies Tour (03-09.09)

Vos won Plouay for the second year
running. Ir's also the fifth time (though
not consecutively) she's won the
World Cup.
Vos wins Plouay and World Cup
Marianne Vos didn't need to win the GP de Plouay - as victory would only bring 75 points, she'd already won the World Cup when she finished the Open de Suède Vårgårda with an 84 point advantage over Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) last month. So nobody would have blamed her in the slightest if she'd taken it easy with a phalanx of her Rabobank-Liv/Giant lieutenants all around her, fending off anything and everything that could conceivably have left her in less-than-perfect condition for the World Championships in three weeks' time - especially since she's missing some races following her recent chronic back pain.

Did she do that? Did she hell. Marianne gives it 100% in every race she enters, as anyone who has ever seen her race knows (and anyone who thinks she wins "too easily" doesn't know, because they've never seen her race, nor watched her collapse exhausted over the handlebars after crossing the finish line - though of course, we shouldn't concern ourselves with the opinions of anybody who thinks anything at all comes easily in professional cycling). Plouay was no different.

Johansson was second
Numerous attacks went off early on in the race and continued through into the fourth of five laps as chancers tried their luck and teams sounded one another out. None of them got anywhere, but there some superb displays from, among others, Aude Biannic (France NT) who attacked three times.

Eventually, the pack split into two groups with one consisting of around forty risers, including all the favourites, a short way ahead of the rest while Jasmin Glaesser (Tibco-To The Top) managed a brief solo escape and seriously impressed when she managed to get away and then lead the race up the tough Cote de Ty-Marrec climb in the closing kilometres of the fourth lap   she might well have stayed away for longer, had fate not to seen to it that back down the road the winning break had escaped the lead group. And what a break it was: Vos, her main rival Johansson, Anna van der Breggen (currently with Sengers, but joining Vos at Rabo next season), Karol-Ann Canuel (Vienne Futuroscope) and Alena Amialiusik (BePink). Fans noticed that the peloton sat up moments later - for them, the competition was as good as over.

Amialiusik impressed
Amialiusik, perhaps aware that when it came to the crunch she'd be out-gunned, livened things up with a brave attempt to attack the group. It didn't work - how could it have done?; but although the effort caused her to drop more than a minute behind the leaders, she earned masses of respect (and, hopefully, a pay rise for 2014). The other escapees tried to provoke Vos into going early or catch her unawares by launching attacks whenever they could, but Vos' wits are as powerful as her muscles and she was on the ball each time, marking every attempt and keeping steady control of the proceedings.

Then, on the final ascent of Ty-Marrec, 5km from the finish line, she went.

Too far? Not all all - it was perfectly, impeccably planned, and she had precisely what she needed left in the tanks to keep up her spectacular sprint all the way to the end. Johansson, who had recently knocked Vos off the top sport of the UCI rankings (a position she'd occupied for seven years), didn't stand a chance - when Vos crossed the line, she did so a full 12" ahead. No guts, no glory!

Anton Vos' photos of the race

Van der Breggen, who will ride with Vos
next year, was third
Top Ten
1 Marianne VOS (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) 3h26'18"
2 Emma JOHANSSON (Orica-AIS) +12"
3 Anna VAN DER BREGGEN (Sengers) +17"
4 Alena AMIALIUSIK (BePink) +01'27"
5 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) +01'35"
6 Lucinda BRAND (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) +03'56"
7 Noemi CANTELE (BePink) ST
8 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (MCipollini-Giordana) ST
9 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) ST

10 Rossella RATTO (Hitec Products-UCK) ST
Full result

Final World Cup Top Ten
1 Marianne VOS (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) 429
2 Emma JOHANSSON (Orica-AIS) 302
3 Ellen VAN DIJK (Specialized-Lululemon) 224
4 Anna VAN DER BREGGEN (Sengers) 158
5 Elisa LONGO BORGHINI (Hitec Products-UCK) 156
6 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) 101
7 Amy PIETERS (Argos-Shimano) 80
8 Tetyana RIABCHENKO (Chirio Forno D'Asolo75
9 Giorgia BRONZINI (Wiggle-Honda) 69
10 Evelyn STEVENS (Specialized-Lululemon) 60
Full result

Tour de l'Ardeche
Race preview


Prologue Top Ten
1 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) 3'04"
2 Alexandra BURCHENKOVA (RusVelo) +02"
3 Lauren KITCHEN (Wiggle-Honda) +05"
4 Jade WILCOXSON (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) ST
5 Janel HOLCOMB (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) +06"
6 Alena AMIALIUSIK (BePink) ST
7 Marijn DE VRIES (Lotto-Belisol) +07"
8 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) +08"
9 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia NT) ST
10 Lauren HALL (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 1
Having already demonstrated excellent form with her historic six consecutive stage wins at the Route de France, Giorgia Bronzini confirmed she's got the legs to try to take back the rainbow jersey that was hers in 2010 and 2011 with another victory - one that she never even meant to win.

"It wasn’t in our plan to try for a bunch sprint, but to save Linda’s legs - to keep the jersey if we can," the Italian explained afterwards, referring to team mate and General Classification leader Linda Villumsen.

Meanwhile, fellow Wiggle riders Charlotte Becker, Mayuko Hagiwara and Emily Collins were keeping tabs on what was going on in the peloton, making sure that any attempts to get away were thwarted, and also providing protection to Lauren Kitchen, third in the GC.

"All the other girls worked from the long climb to the finish line so that the other teams didn’t try to get into breaks - it was really, really amazing work from Lotte, Emily and Mayuko," Bronzini continued. "I think that it’s not going to be the same way as the Route de France - from tomorrow there starts a lot of climbs, so it will be very hard for me. But I will try to work hard for Linda."

Villumsen came in 18th, recording an equal time to Bronzini, and retains the GC leadership.

Stage 1 Top Ten
1 Giorgia BRONZINI (Wiggle-Honda) 3h09'33"
2 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia NT) ST
3 Elena CECCHINI (Faren-Kuota) ST
4 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) ST
5 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) ST
6 Rossella RATTO (Servetto-Footon/Mixed) ST
7 Alena AMIALIUSIK (BePink) ST
8 Lauren HALL (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) ST
9 Jacqueline KINSELLA (USA NT) ST
10 Yulia ILIYNIKH (Lointek) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 2
Having been National Time Trial Champion four times (of Denmark and New Zealand), Linda Villumsen looked well-placed to win on the short Stage 2 parcours. It's fair to say that Alena Amialiusik, despite having been TT champion of her native Belarus twice, isn't as good against the clock as Villumsen, but when a race is this short - just 3.5km - the outcome becomes hard to predict: Villumsen might be able to generate more watts for longer, but Amialiusik won with a short burst of power that got her round the course nine seconds faster than her BePink team mate Noemi Cantele and third-place Villumsen - enough to take the race leader's jersey.

Stage 2 Top Ten
1 Alena AMIALIUSIK (BePink) 05'15"
2 Noemi CANTELE (BePink) +09"
3 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) ST
4 Chloe MCCONVILLE (Australia NT) ST
5 Jade WILCOXSON (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) ST
6 Andrea GRAUS (Bigla) +10"
7 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia NT) ST
8 Ashleigh MOOLMAN (Lotto-Belisol) +11"
10 Cecilie Gotaas JOHNSEN (Norway NT) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 3
Giorgia Bronzini
Remember what Giorgia Bronzini said after Stage 1 about how the hills were going to make things hard for her in the rest of this race? Well, there were plenty of hills in this stage - around 40km, half the parcours - was uphill, making it the sort of day that ends with most sprinters doing cut-off time arithmetic in the grupetto.

Bronzini isn't like most sprinters, though, because she can climb remarkably well too. So, instead of sitting out the race in a group hanging off the back of the peloton, she joined one out in front instead and ended up winning for a second time.

Team mate Linda Villumsen had lost overall control of the race to Alena Amialiusik in the time trial that took place in the morning before the stage, but with only 3" between them Wiggle-Honda set out to win back the jersey, so Villumsen was in the break with Bronzini. It was the final descent rather than the final climb that swung things their way, the long and very technical stretch whittling the group down to seven riders. Wiggle had a stroke of luck when Amialiusik mixed up her directions and had to spend a few kilometres chasing; that she managed to catch up is testament to her skills.

"I stopped working with about five-k to go, and Linda tried to follow the attack," the Italian explained after the race. "In the final, Linda pulled me in the sprint. It was a technical final, and I was in the wheel until 200 metres to go, when I made my sprint."

Villumsen crossed the line 2" later in fourth place; Amialiusik was right behind her in fifth and took the same time; she thus retains the GC lead at +3". Sadly, the stage marks the end of Jennifer Fiori's 2014 campaign - the Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo rider fell and broke her collar bone.

Stage 3 Top Ten
1 Giorgia BRONZINI (Wiggle-Honda) 2h19'32"
2 Rossella RATTO (Servetto-Footon/Mixed) ST
3 Elena CECCHINI (Faren-Kuota) ST
4 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) +02"
5 Alena AMIALIUSIK (BePink) ST
6 Ashleigh MOOLMAN (Lotto-Belisol) ST
7 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia NT) ST
8 Elena KUCHINSKAYA (RusVelo) +43"
10 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 4
Joelle Numainville
Many fans will have been expecting Linda Villumsen to make up the 3" difference between herself and race leader Alena Amialiusik today in an effort to get back to the top place in the General Classification, but it wasn't to be - the Danish-born New Zealander suffered a bad crash early on in the stage and, while she was able to continue, was visibly in pain from a large swelling on her left arm. Nevertheless, she led the peloton over the three tough mountains, and thus gained what seems an insurmountable lead in the Mountains combination.

The race took another unexpected turn when the mountains proved insufficient to split the pack significantly - no fewer than 39 riders contested a final sprint to the finish. Optum powered by Kelly Benefit Strategies team mates Joelle Numainville and Lauren Hall had their work cut out for them in holding off some very strong competition, but they delivered the goods and took first and second places, with Australia's Tiffany Cromwell right behind for third - there is, apparently, something that Numainville finds very much to her liking in Cruas, because she also won when Stage 4 of the 2012 edition finished in the town.

Stage 4 Top Ten
1 Joelle NUMAINVILLE (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) 3h08'15"
2 Lauren HALL (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) ST
3 Tiffany CROMWELL (Australia NT) ST
4 Elena CECCHINI (Faren-Kuota) ST
5 Oxana KOZONCHUK (RusVelo) ST
6 Rossella RATTO (Servetto-Footon/Mixed) ST
7 Chiara PIEROBON (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
8 Elena VALENTINI (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
9 Céline VAN SEVEREN (Lotto-Belisol) ST
10 Charlotte BECKER (Wiggle-Honda) ST
Full result and GC

Karol-Ann Canuel
Stage 5
The Route de France was a very, very different race to the Tour de l'Ardeche (and some might say the organisers of the former could learn a lot from the latter, too), but the outcome of Stage 5 seems strangely familiar: Linda Villumsen, who led early on, has regained control now that the race is nearly over. Sadly, though, not purely through hard work and the efforts of her Wiggle-Honda team, as she'd have liked - previous leader Alena Amialiusik has had to abandon following a crash that left her with a suspected broken collar bone.

Villumsen, current New Zealand time trial champion, took fifth place after crossing the line in a group of five riders that finished one minute after stage winner Karol-Ann Canuel of Vienne Futuroscope, who was 2" faster than second place Tatiana Antoshina (Russia NT) and 59" faster than third place Joelle Numainville (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies).

Stage 5 Top Ten
1 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) 3h36'41"
2 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia NT) +02"
3 Joelle NUMAINVILLE (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) +59"
4 Carlee TAYLOR (Lotto-Belisol) +01'00"
5 Rossella RATTO (Servetto-Footon/Mixed) ST
6 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) ST
7 Francesca CAUZ (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
8 Ashleigh MOOLMAN (Lotto-Belisol) ST
9 Denise RAMSDEN (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) +01'37"
10 Lauren HALL (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) +02'40"
Full result and GC

Stage 6
Right after Stage 1 Giorgia Bronzini said the Tour was "not going to be the same way as the Route de France - from tomorrow there starts a lot of climbs, so it will be very hard for me?" Then won Stage 2. Now she's won the final stage, too. It's the Italian's sixteenth victory this year - and with three of those in this race and six in August's Route de France, it seems she's timed her peak perfectly if she wants to go for a third spell in the World Champion's rainbow stripes this year.

Tatiana Antoshina
It's fortunate that she did, too, as it sugared a bitter pill for her Wiggle-Honda team - leader Linda Villumsen, who regained the lead in the General Classification yesterday but started the final stage with an advantage of just 1" over Tatiana Antoshina of the Russia National Team: Villumsen had started the day with a 3", finished in 61st place 1'59" behind Bronzini, while Antoshina was seventh and only 3" behind the Italian. The Russian ITT Champion therefore wins overall with an advantage of 13" over second place Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto-Belisol) and 17" over third place Karol-Ann Canuel, while Villumsen drops to eighth place at +1'55".

Stage 6 Top Ten
1 Giorgia BRONZINI (Wiggle-Honda) 1h57'41"
2 Joelle NUMAINVILLE (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) ST
3 Rossella RATTO (Servetto-Footon/Mixed) ST
4 Ashleigh MOOLMAN (Lotto-Belisol) ST
5 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) ST
6 Noemi CANTELE (BePink) +03"
7 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia NT) ST
8 Doris SCHWEIZER (BePink) +06"
9 Carlee TAYLOR (Lotto-Belisol) +09"
10 Francesca CAUZ (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) ST
Full result

General Classification Top Ten
1 Tatiana ANTOSHINA (Russia NT) 14h21'16"
2 Ashleigh MOOLMAN (Lotto-Belisol) +13"
3 Karol-Ann CANUEL (Vienne Futuroscope) +17"
4 Rossella RATTO (Servetto-Footon/Mixed) +21"
5 Joelle NUMAINVILLE (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) +52"
6 Carlee TAYLOR (Lotto-Belisol) +01'06"
7 Francesca CAUZ (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) +01'48"
8 Linda VILLUMSEN (Wiggle-Honda) +01'55"
9 Noemi CANTELE (BePink) +04'25"
10 Denise RAMSDEN (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) +04'33"
Full result

Boels Rental Ladies Tour
Race preview

Stage 1
Kirsten Wild
Taking place on a parcours as flat as it did, Stage 1 was always likely to end with a bunch sprint - though with ten riders approaching the line together it was a smaller bunch than expected. That group then split, with the first seven riders recording the same time and the remaining three coming in 2" behind them. The next group, 28 strong, arrived 6" later.

When there's a bunch sprint, it's usually safest to put your money on Argos-Shimano's Kirsten Wild, who'd be as famous for her sprinting as Mark Cavendish if there was any justice in the world. Today was no different; when it comes to the final dash to the line, nobody can rival her for sheer power.

Lizzie Armitstead was second, recording the same time. However, having got the better of the Dutch woman in the intermediate sprint during the stage, Armitstead picked up bonification seconds and thus leads the General Classification by 2".

Stage 1 Top Ten
1 Kirsten WILD (Argos-Shimano) 2h42'5"
2 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
3 Trixi WORRACK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
4 Annette EDMONDSON (Orica-AIS) ST
5 Eleonora VAN DIJK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
6 Melissa HOSKINS (Orica-AIS) ST
7 Shelley OLDS (Tibco-To The Top) ST
8 Chloe HOSKING (Hitec Products-UCK) +02"
9 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (MCipollini-Giordana) ST
10 Amy PIETERS (Argos-Shimano) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 2
Team time trials have been rather predictable this season with Specialized-Lululemon and Orica-AIS more often than not taking first and second (and, usually, Rabobank in third) - and with good reason, too, because for anyone who understands the challenges faced in a race of this type, both teams are an absolute joy to watch: seeing how the riders time their duties on the front and switch positions perfectly brings to mind the workings of a Swiss clock. This time around, Lululemon were nothing less than perfect - they beat Orica by 1'15" and occupy the first six places in the GC.

Stage 2 Top Ten
1 Specialized-Lululemon 38'53
2 Orica-AIS +01'15"
3 Rabobank-Liv/Giant +01'37"
4 Boels-Dolmans +01'57"
5 Tibco-To The Top +02'18"
6 Sengers +02'21"
7 MCipollini-Giordana +02'22
8 Argos-Shimano +02'26"
9 Hitec Products-UCK +03'06"
10 RC Jan van Arckel +03'49"
Full result and GC

Stage 3
With prevailing weather conditions ensuring head or tail winds over the 71km circuit, Stage 3 was never going to be the most action-packed - much to the disappointment of some of the teams, who had hoped crosswinds would split the pack and give them opportunity to do some serious damage to their rivals today. Orica were responsible for what looked to be the most promising attempt with Gracie Elvin attacking roughly two-thirds of the way through the circuit and seemed for a few moments like she might escape, but she's too fast for the peloton not to have been concerned about her chances of staying away and she was soon caught. No sooner had she been, team mate Loes Gunnewijk had a go too, then once she'd also been caught Nettie Edmondson attacked as well. The wind, however, saw to it that their efforts were in vain and favoured the pack; there would be no more serious attempts.

Nettie Edmondson
Things changed on the 12.5km circuit. Rabobank's Annemiek van Vleuten, who began the race as many fan's favourite in the absence of Marianne Vos, began to attack right from the first passage of the finish line and got away, riding out in front for the first two of four laps until Specialized-Lululemon brought her back. Now, it became apparent that Orica were after a stage win: Elvin attacked again and, though she wasn't away for long, had found sufficient reserves of strength to give the peloton a run for its money so that the race was looking fractured as it came within 10km of the finish; since Orica hadn't used energy in chasing van Vleuten like their main rivals Lululemon they looked to be the strongest squad. Gunnewijk, their best bet for a good General Classification placing, was being protected, but as Elvin had led sprinter Edmondson up to the front of the peloton with 5km to go it was obvious what their plans were.

Then, disaster. "I didn’t hear [Edmondson] behind me and couldn’t look too much as I was just trying to stay safe in the washing machine feeling bunch. I just had to make the decision to keep at the front and hope that she was behind me," Elvin explained afterwards. "With less than 1km to go I surged again to the last corner and was the first rider through, and also to try and block [Kirsten] Wild and her team in the last 500m. Once I peeled off after the corner I could only see Loes and then shortly after Mel [Hosking]. Nettie was nowhere to be seen and I was worried. It wasn’t until after the finish line that Spratty [Amanda Spratt] told me she had been in a big crash with only about 2km to go."

Edmondson received treatment at the scene and it was initially thought that she might not need to be hospitalised. However, a cut to her thigh was deep enough to require stitches; since she was also experiencing severe pain in her ankle it was decided that she'd be given a proper check-up. X-rays subsequently revealed that she'd escaped serious injury, but the injury to her thigh has made it necessary for her to abandon the race.

Meanwhile, with the sprint now being all about sheer power rather than clever tactics, the inevitable happened - Kirsten Wild was fastest, and took her second stage win.

Stage 3 Top Ten
1 Kirsten WILD (Argos-Shimano) 3h01'38"
2 Shelley OLDS (Tibco-To The Top) ST
3 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
4 Monique VAN DE REE (Ronald McDonaldhuis Groningen) ST
5 Ellen VAN DIJK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
6 Maria Giulia CONFALONIERI (Italy NT) ST
7 Liesbet DE VOCHT Rabobank-Liv/Giant) ST
8 Emilie MOBERG (Hitec Products-UCK) ST
9 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (MCipollini-Giordana) ST
10 Chloe HOSKING (Hitec Products-UCK) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 4
As is likely to be the case tomorrow, the narrow roads shaped the racing - along some parts of the 23km circuit (which was to be lapped five times), there simply wasn't any room for anyone to move up or down the pack; a factor that allowed Elke Gebhardt (Argos-Shimano) and Vera Koedooder (Sengers) to get away after not much more than 5km and then stay out in front when rival teams were unable to get their chasers up to go after them. Another danger on narrow roads is that if a rider crashes, the riders around them go down like dominoes and, within seconds, a large part of the field can be lying on the tarmac assessing their injuries. With that scenario very likely on this stage, a collective decision was taken to let the break stay away for the time being and wait to see what happened - though the peloton nearly caught the escapees by accident when it sailed through a right turn and accidentally discovered a short-cut, bringing them much closer to their targets until the race officials stopped them and made them wait so as to preserve the break's advantage.

Elke Gebhardt
Finally, during the last lap when the break was 1'10" ahead, Specialised-Lululemon decided that enough was enough and it was time matters were dealt with. By this point, though, black clouds had rolled in; on the flat polders vast expanses of sky can be seen and the riders had spotted lightning not so far off. That created something of a dilemma - step up the pace in the hope of finishing the race before the rain struck (and, with a bit of luck, catch the break whilst doing so) but risk crashing due to increased speed or continue the steady progress and hope the rain didn't make the roads slippery in the meantime? Then, the rain started. Nobody cared about the stage win now, and they'd spent too long deliberating to stand any chance of catching the break - it was a matter of getting to the finish as quickly as possible, hopefully without crashing. Somehow, all but three riders finished the stage intact.

Gebhardt, who enjoyed plentiful victories on the track before opting to concentrate on road this year, took a silver medal in the German National Road Race Championships this summer when she came second to Trixi Worrack; this victory was her first of the 2013 season. Worrack, who is racing for Specialiised Lululemon, leads the General Classification with an advantage of 4". Tomorrow, the race remains on the polders (for a parcours that looks very similar to this year's Omloop van Aalburg; Stage 6 takes place in Limburg, where the hills are low but steep enough to have become some of the most notorious in cycling - so expect the sprinters to go all out for big time gains tomorrow in an attempt to retain good places in the General Classification.

Stage 4 Top Ten
1 Elke GEBHARDT (Argos-Shimano) 2h50'00"
2 Vera KOEDOODER (Sengers) +03"
3 Emilie MOBERG (Hitec Products-UCK) +21"
4 Shelley OLDS (Tibco-To The Top) ST
5 Kirsten WILD (Argos-Shimano) ST
6 Maria Giulia CONFALONIERI (Italy NT) ST
7 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (MCipollini-Giordana) ST
8 Monique VAN DE REE (Ronald McDonaldhuis Groningen) ST
Chloe Hosking
9 Sabrina STULTIENS (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) ST
10 Ellen VAN DIJK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
Full result and GC

Stage 5
Taking place on flat roads, Stage 5 was the sprinters' final chance to shine before the race finished on the hilly Limburg parcours of Stage 6 and, while several teams tried hard to split the bunch and numerous riders tried to attack, the peloton remained all together into the final 5km and set the scene for another mass sprint. Hosking will always do well in that situation, but would she be out of her depth going up against the likes of Shelley Olds, Lizzie Armitstead and - the strongest of them all - Kirsten Wild?

One thing we know about Chloe is she isn't easily intimidated - she took on and beat Giorgia Bronzini and Marianne Vos at the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo in 2012, when Bronzini was World Champion, Vos was the best rider in the world and she was only 21 years old (much of that confidence will have come from her rock climbing past, but two years riding with HTC-Highroad will have helped too). Quite a lot of cycling fans - and Les Deesses - have been predicting that Hosking will win the World Championships within a few years - she has, after all, taken on and beaten some of the best sprinters in the world. Beating Wild, a pure sprinter and the fastest of her breed, will convince even more that she's destined for the rainbow jersey.

Stage 5 Top Ten
1 Chloe HOSKING (Hitec Products-UCK) 2h52'39"
2 Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) ST
3 Shelley OLDS (Tibco-To The Top) ST
4 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (Boels-Dolmans) ST
5 Ellen VAN DIJK (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
6 Melissa HOSKINS (Orica-AIS) ST
7 Marta TAGLIAFERRO (MCipollini-Giordana) ST
8 Evelyn ARYS (Specialized-Lululemon) ST
9 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) ST
10 Maria Giulia CONFALONIERI (Italy NT) ST
Full result and GC

Transfer News
United Healthcare launch women's team
United Healthcare revealed that they would be putting together a women's team for the 2014 season earlier this summer - now, they've published a list of confirmed riders: Mara Abbott (Exergy Twenty16), Coryn Rivera (Breast Cancer Care), Alison Powers (Now & Novartis), Ruth Winder (Vanderkitten), Rushleigh Buchanan (Tibco-To The Top), Lauren Tamayo (Exergy Twenty16) and Alexis Ryan (Now & Novartis). The team's main objective for the new season is to propel Abbott to a third victory at the Giro Rosa (Donne), which she won in a remarkable comeback this year. However, riders of this calibre are evidence that the team has a very healthy budget; with more places to be filled it seems that the squad will have many strings to its bow and be able to go after numerous other goals too.

Christine Majerus is going to
Boels-Dolmans in 2014
Polish rider Katarzyna Pawlowska, currently with GSD Gestion-Kallisto, who has already enjoyed an impressive career on the track and has become a big name on the road this year with a gold at the National ITT Championships, a stage win at the Tour de Bretagne and two stage wins plus the overall General Classification at the Tour en Limousin, will be riding for Boels-Dolmans in 2014.

Christine Majerus, currently with Sengers, will also join Boels - the Luxembourgian, National ITT Champion for the last seven years and National Champion in both road racing and cyclo cross for the last four, scored an excellent win at the Sparkassen Giro and has recorded top ten finishes at numerous races this year. The team has confirmed that Nina Kessler, Adrie Visser, Romy Kasper, Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Trott and Jessie Daams will remain onboard.

Interesting Links
Sport Minister calls for a Tour de France race for women (ITV)
Women's cycling growing in the USA? (BikeBiz)
Lazer sponsors CrossVegas women's race with equal prize list (Bicycle Retailer)
Rachel Atherton wins women's downhill title at the Mountain Bike World Championships (SkySports)
Great Britain's Tahnee Seagrave clinches Junior Women's Downhill world title (British Cycling)
Victoria Pendleton says "inequality" kept her away from road racing (Road.CC)
Fastest woman to cycle the globe (Take A Challenge)

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