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  Sparkassen Giro Preview  
  After a two month break the Women's Road World Cup returns with Sparkassen Giro. Held since 2001 but only in its second year on the World Cup Calendar. The top nine teams are lining up with only UnitedHealthcare missing from the top 10 ranked UCI teams. Defending Champion Marianne Vos will miss the race with injury but as one of the few sprinter friendly courses the top sprinters will be fighting for the win.

With the races upgrade to the World Cup the major teams place a much greater focus on it than they have in the past. Lizzie Armitstead currently leads the World Cup rankings with a narrow 19-point lead over Elisa Longo Borghini and 25 on Anna Van der Breggen. With a number of hillier races to come it will be chance for Armitstead to increase her lead on a sprinter friendly parcours.

World Cup Rankings

1 Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD 315
4 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN 226
5 Alena AMIALIUSIK 225
6 Jolien D'HOORE 220
7 Pauline FERRAND PREVOT 175
8 Shelley OLDS 140
9 Giorgia BRONZINI 130
10 Elena CECCHINI 122

2014 Results

1 Marianne VOS 2:59:48
2 Giorgia BRONZINI +0
3 Lotta LEPISTÖ +0
4 Jolien D'HOORE +0
6 Christine MAJERUS +0
7 Kelly DRUYTS +0
9 Kirsten WILD +0
10 Shelley OLDS +0

Past Winners

2014 - Marianne Vos
2013 - Christine Majerus
2012 - Mieke Kröger
2011 - Adrie Visser
2010 - Ellen van Dijk
2009 - Rochelle Gilmore
2008 - Suzanne de Goede
2007 - Hanka Kupfernagel
2006 - Oenone Wood
2005 - Angela Hennig
2004 - Deirdre Demet-Barry
2003 - Svetlana Bubnenkova
2002 - Bertine Spijkerman
2001 - Sharon van Essen

The Route

The race covers eight laps of a 15.5km circuit. The main feature is a climb in the middle of the lap. While not overly difficult after eight laps it is likely to take its toll on a number of riders. Expect the teams without a pure sprinter to attack and try and create a more select group but avoiding a bunch sprint will not be easy.

The Contenders

Start list available here

Jolien D'hoore and Giorgia Bronzini

After a busy off season Wiggle have emerged with a number of the pelotons fastest finishers and top climbers. Wiggle has the best train in the peloton and it if often made up of riders who could be sprinting for the win themself. Jolien D'hoore comes in with good form. After finishing fourth last year D'hoore will be looking to get on to the podium particularly the top step. Has taken a massive step forward this year with eight sprint wins and only missed out on winning La Course last weekend when nobody could chase down Anna Van der Breggen. While she missed the win she was clearly the fastest in the peloton and heads in as the big favourite. Has signed a new contract with Wiggle so the pressure is off and with a focus on the track next year D'hoore will be looking to finish off the season with a few more wins.

Giorgia Bronzini finished second last year but has hasn't seemed at her usual level this year. Won Acht van Westerveld in March and the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in May and will no doubt want to improve on her second place finish last year but with the form of D'hoore is likely to play a support role.

D'hoore can count on support from Annette Edmondson who finished fourth at RideLondon yesterday. Mayuko Hagiwara comes in with amazing form following a stage win at the Giro Rosa and Tour de Bretagne Féminin and can go on the attack. Elisa Longo Borghini is just 19 points off the World Cup lead and is likely to want to pick up some points to keep her in contention.

Lizzie Armitstead

The British National champion would likely prefer a much hillier route and even with the climb in the middle of the lap the course is not perfect for her. Armitstead packs a strong finish but her climbing has at times cost her some speed in the sprint. Won the opening stage of the Women's Tour in a sign that when on form she can beat the best. Boels Dolmans have other options in Chantal Blaak and former winner Christine Majerus (6th last year) who may go on the attack to give Armitstead an easier ride.


While the team has arguably the most consistent rider in the peloton Emma Johansson they are always aggressive and have more than one card to play. Johansson comes in after having won Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt and seventh at La Course. A top 10 finish last year and with the overall World Cup victory not on the cards this year expect to see Johansson even more aggressive than usual.

The teams best chance in a big sprint is likely to be Melissa Hoskins. One of the few riders who managed to avoid a crash at La Course seems to be fully recovered after food poisoning kept her out of Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt. It will be Hoskins' last race for the team before turning her attention back to the track and the Rio Olympics so expect Hoskins to want to go out on a high. Can compete with the best so if she is will positioned expect to see her fighting for the win.

Gracie Elvin is another rider with form and her confidence is also sky high following two wins this year including an impressive solo win at Thüringen Rundfahrt. Expect to see Elvin team up with Valentina Scandolara to put in attack after attack and try to create a move. Both pack quick finishes.

Lotto Lepisto

The champion of Finland has been one of the most improved riders of 2015. Finished fifth at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in May and has been flying in July. Won a stage and finished in the top 10 of every stage bar one to finish seventh overall at the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt. The wet conditions didn't trouble her at La Course where she sprinted to fifth. A quick finisher but challenging the likes of Wild and D'hoore will be difficult. The inclusion of the climb is a benefit to her and if it can help thin out the peloton her chances will increase. Bigla has Vera Koedooder to attack in an attempt to thin out the peloton. Joelle Numainville is another name to watch.

Kirsten Wild

There are not many races for sprinters that Kirsten Wild has not won but this is one of them. With renewed importance on the event as a World Cup expect to see Wild very motivated to regain her title as the top sprinter in the women's peloton. With a focus on Rio and the omnium on the track Wild has been racing less on the road and her win count is not what has become expected of her. On form she is very quick and few have the speed to beat her. Missed the opportunity to take the win at La Course and will be looking to get one back on her rivals. Can count on strong support from the likes of Charlotte Becker and Tatiana Guderzo.


Italian sprinter Barbara Guarischi is the name to watch for the team. Took the biggest win of her career when she won stage one of the Giro Rosa. The win will have given her confidence and can come in with confidence having won RideLondon on Satuday

Brennauer has had a strong season including seven wins. Looked set to take the overall victory at Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt but was overhauled on the final stage. Bounced back to finish sixth at La Course. Is not afraid of mixing it with the pure sprinters and a race on home soil will give her extra motivation.

German champion Trixi Worrack is another rider with a quick finish and winning the only world cup in Germany in the stripes of national champion would be one of her most important results.

Elena Cecchini

Cecchini successfully defended the Italian Championship on a course that didn't really suit her and will wear the jersey for another year. While Cecchini is very consistent and has improved greatly this year winning a big bunch sprint will be hard. Won a stage at Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs and had two podium finishes at the Giro Rosa. Her climbing has improved but her speed seems to have suffered for it. Crashes prevented her from fighting for the win but expect to see her bounce back and try to improved on 12th last year.

Lucy Garner

La Course was a big target for Garner but crashes and bad luck conspired to ruin her chances. Had good form at BeNe Ladies Tour and since turning professional has been a regular challenger to the best in the world. Garner's last win was back in 2013 at the Tour of Chongming Island over two years ago but she is returning to her best after some injury issues. Liv Plantur also have Amy Pieters who rounded out the podium at La Course after being given the go ahead by Garner.

Rabo Liv

Without defending champion and a big name sprinter Rabo's chances of back to back wins will be difficult. The absence of Vos and a sprinter didn't bother them at La Course when a late attack by Anna Van der Breggen was able to hold off the peloton. Van der Breggen's form is clearly still good after her Giro Rosa win so expect to see her on the attack and try and make it a second win in two weekends. In a sprint look for Lucinda Brand who finished eighth at La Course.

Shelley Olds

Shelley Olds has moved back to Ale Cipollini after spending the first half of the season with Bigla. While Olds is one of the most reliable sprinters in the peloton she struggles to convert her consistent placings in to wins. Has been on good form picking up wins at BC Superweek in Canada but to take the win ahead of many of the pelotons best finishers will be a difficult ask for her.

Kelly Druyts

2014 world champion in the scratch race is usually at her best in the second half of the season. After finishing seventh in 2014 Druyts will be looking to improve on that this year. Finished second at the Diamond Tour behind Jolien D'hoore but ahead of some quick finishers including Lucy Garner.

Roxane Fournier

The up and coming French sprinter has had a breakout season winning Grand Prix de Dottignies ahead of Chloe Hosking and then upstaging the biggest names in the sport to win the final stage of the Tour of Chongming Island. Won the bunch sprint on the final stage of Tour de Bretagne Féminin before finishing 11th at La Course in a sign of good form.

Emily Collins and Kendall Ryan

The US Tibco squad continues the European campaign and brings two underrated riders. Emily Collins the pocket rocket from New Zealand spent two seasons with Wiggle before moving to Tibco. In the past month has claimed three podium finishes in Europe and the 2013 Omloop van het Hageland winner will be hoping to produce a good result. United States criterium champion Kendall Ryan is another name to watch with the 22 year old taking two podiums at Tour de Feminin.

Other names to watch: Leah Kirchmann, Eugenia Bujak and Sofie de Vuyst.
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