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  Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria Preview  
  As the season heads towards the Giro Rosa the races start to get harder and involved a lot more climbing. A week of racing in Spain starts with the one day Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria. Marianne Vos has won four of the last five editions of the race but is not bad to make it win number five due to injury. She may never have won the race but it is a special one for Emma Johansson. The Basque Country is where Johansson started her career and has been on the podium five times here.

2014 Results

1 Marianne VOS
2 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD +0
6 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN +27
7 Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA +28
8 Ashleigh MOOLMAN +28
9 Trixi WORRACK +28
10 Rossella RATTO +28

Past Winners

2014 - Marianne Vos
2013 - Marianne Vos
2012 - Emma Pooley
2011 - Marianne Vos
2010 - Marianne Vos
2009 - Noemi Cantele
2008 - No Race
2007 - Edita Pucinskaite
2006 - Susanne Ljungskog
2005 - Mirjam Melchers
2004 - Joane Somarriba
2003 - Joane Somarriba
2002 - Joane Somarriba
2001 - Sara Felloni

The Route

The 110 kilometre race starts with four laps just to the south east of the Durango. The four laps of a 17.8km circuit that includes the Alto de Miota climb that tops out nine and a half kilometres in to the lap. The first half of the lap is climbing with the second all downhill.

After completing the opening four laps the peloton heads back to Durango and heads north for a long finishing loop that includes the Alto de Montekalbo and Alto de Muniketagane. Both are short and steep and categorised cat two. Over the top of the Alto de Muniketagane there is a quick descent back in to the finish in Durango.

The Contenders

Start list available here

Emma Johansson

Despite not having won the race Johansson is never far from victory here. In the past six years Johansson has been on the podium in five of the six, with the other occasion a still impressive seventh. It has been a difficult year for Johansson and Orica-AIS but things are starting to turn around. They come in off a high of two victories and Johansson is also returning to her best after a broken collarbone. Johansson is back by a very strong team of climbers and punchers including Valentina Scandolara, Amanda Spratt, Lizzie Williams, Rachel Neylan and Katrin Garfoot.

It will be an important test to see how former World Championship silver medallist Rachel Neylan is riding. If she is on the form she was several years ago expect to see her with the best and a key support for Emma Johansson. Katrtin Garfoot, Amanda Spratt and Valentina Scandolara are all punchy riders who can handle the climbs and still pack a quick finish. With the options the team has expect to see them send riders up the road to split the race and take the pressure off Johansson.

Boels Dolmans

Boels Dolmans bring their usually strong squad and come in fresh off winning the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic on the weekend with Lizzie Armitstead. While Armitstead is not racing two of the riders who helped her to that success are. Evelyn Stevens and Megan Guarnier both come in with good form and in to a race that is suited to them. The American duo finished sixth and 14th respectively at the Philly Cycling Classic.

Stevens has finished on the podium in the past with third in 2013. While Guarnier will have the opportunity to wear the US national champions jersey for the first time in Europe and when the road starts to climb she is one of the best. Not generally thought of as a sprinter but managed to outsprinted the quick Coryn Rivera to with the US Championships after a hard day.

Former time trial World Champion Ellen Van Dijk should not be discounted either. On paper it might not seem like the absolute best route for her but the past three years have see her finish 10th, 7th and 11th in a sign she can go well here.

Anna Van der Breggan

Anna Van der Breggan is one of the best all rounders in the peloton and has already taken six wins this year including La Flèche Wallonne. Finished fourth last year after losing contact with Vos, Armitstead and Johansson in the closing stages. Van der Breggan climbs very well and can sprint well from a select group. Hasn't raced since the start of May so how her form is going is a question but is likely to be one of the strongest on the climb. Will likely need to distance the likes of Johansson is she wants to win a sprint.

Carlee Taylor and Jessie Daams

Lotto Soudal bring their two climbers who could both spring a surprise. Daams finished 12th last year and despite some injury issues earlier in the season comes in with some very good form. At the end of May Daams finished 11th at Boels Rental Hills Classic and 19th at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik before picking up 14th overall at Auensteiner- Radsporttage. Taylor climbs well and has finished 16th at Strade Bianche and La Flèche Wallonne both hilly races. Taylor often spends a little too much time on the front early but if she can sit back with Daams they could produce a strong result.

Other names to watch: Elena Cecchini, Rossella Ratto and Katarzyna Niewiadoma.
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