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  The Women's Tour Preview  
  Despite being only the second edition the Women's Tour is already one of the biggest and most important races on the calendar. Its position on the calendar has moved and the mid June date sees it an important warm up race for the European National Championships and the Giro Rosa.

As you would expect all the big teams are here. The top six teams Rabo, Boels Dolmans, Wiggle, Velocio-SRAM, Bigla and Orica-AIS line up. 12 of the top 13 squads will start the race with only Hitec Products absent. Reigning Time Trial World Champion Lisa Brennauer are here as is Junior Road World Champion Amalie Dideriksen. Team Pursuit World Champion Melissa Hoskins, Team Pursuit Omnium World Champion on the track Nettie Edmondson anmd Junior Individual and Team Pursuit Champion Alex Manly will also line up.

Last year Emma Johansson took the win on stage one and the first leaders jersey. A break held off the chase on stage two with Rossella Ratto crossing the line first and taking the race lead. The final three stages went to then World Champion Marianne Vos who also claimed the overall victory ahead of Johansson with Ratto holding on for third overall.

2014 Results

1 Marianne VOS
2 Emma JOHANSSON +30
3 Rossella RATTO +35
4 Giorgia BRONZINI +38
5 Susanna ZORZI +44
6 Amy PIETERS +50
7 Lucy GARNER +50
8 Hannah BARNES +50
9 Lauren HALL +52
10 Elena CECCHINI +54

Stage 1 - Emma Johansson
Stage 2 - Rossella Ratto
Stage 3 - Marianne Vos
Stage 4 - Marianne Vos
Stage 4 - Marianne Vos

Past Winners

2014 - Marianne Vos


Time Bonuses

Intermediate Sprint: 3-2-1 (Top 3)
Finish: 10-6-4 (Top 3)

Points Classification

Intermediate Sprint: 3-2-1 (Top 3)
Finish: 15-12-9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Top 10)


QoM Points: 6-5-4-3-2-1 (Top 6)
All climbs offer the same points.

Young Rider Classification

Born on or after 1 January 1992

The Route

Stage 1

The opening 112.6km stage starts in Bury St Edmunds winding its way to a finish on the coast in Aldeburgh. The first of two QoM's is 1.9km and comes in Hemingstone, starting at the 47.8km mark. Expect to see the points chased with the opportunity to wear the first QoM jersey up for grabs. The two sprint points are within 10 kilometres of each other the first in Kesgrave (67.8km) followed by Melton (77.7km). The final QoM is 1.2km in Snape and starts with just inside 20km remaining

Stage 2

Second longest stage of the race at 138 kilometres. The first QoM comes relatively early in the stage after 30.2km. The one kilometre Finch Hill climb will give riders an opportunity to chase more QoM points. It is rolling roads for the next 50 kilometres ahead of the two sprint points. Kirby Le Soken and Great Bentley at the 95.9km and 111.2km points. The final QoM point is the 1.1km Tenpenny Hill climb with that tops out with 13.9km remaining. The race again finishes on the ocean in Clacton.

Stage 3

It was a long stage yesterday and stage three is longer, though only marginally so. At 139.2 kilometres the Oundle to a lot more climbing than the previous two days it is a chance for the puncheurs and climbers to try and take one over the sprinters.

The first sprint comes after 19km in Fotheringhay and expect the bonus seconds to be chased by those targeting the overall. After the sprint much of the stage is uphill with little chance for recovery. Rockingam is the first QoM at 1km it is short and steep. 20 kilometres later riders reach the second sprint in Desborough at the 77km mark. The Harrington KoM starts six kilometres later and while it is short at just 300 metres it doesn't mark the end of the climbing. Undulating roads continue for much of the remaining stage before a descent in to the finish. Don't expect to see a full peloton contesting the finish today.

Stage 4

The penultimate stage starts in Waltham Cross and passes through Cheshunt the home of Olympic Omnium Champion Laura Trott. At the stage is considerably shorter than the previous two days but it is by no means easy and the two QoM's are not the only climbs on the course.

The road starts climbing almost immediately and will likely see riders putting in attacks from the start. The road descends before a quick rise and the 600m Port Hill QoM after 10.8km. Undulating roads face the peloton for much of the stage again ahead of the two sprints that again come within just over 10km of each other. Barkway after 62.1km and Royston at the 72.6km mark. Expect to see the second sprint closely fought after not just for potential bonus seconds but positioning ahead of the steep Therfield Heath QoM. Coming immediately after the sprint the 900m climb will likely test the legs of many but with much of the remaining kilometres downhill riders will have a chance to rejoin. Ahead of the finish the road kicks up before a quick descent in to Stevenage proving one last opportunity for riders to attack and avoid a sprint.

Stage 5

At 102.6 kilometres the final stage is the shortest but it will not be a procession for the sprinters. It is up and down all day with little in the way of flat roads. Uphill almost from the start again and while there is a lot of climbing in the first half the majority of the action is likely to come in the final 55 kilometres.

The 1.2km Cryers Hill QoM stats at the 48.1km mark and is closely followed by the Prestwood sprint after 54km. The final QoM and sprint point are again closely clustered together. Tom's Hill Road QoM at 1.1km in length is the last chance to score QoM points. The Little Gaddesden sprint after 86.5km could be important with the bonus seconds on offer.

Another uncategorised climb inside the final 10km which will likely see plenty of attacking from those wanting for avoid a sprint. With a quick descent in to Hemel Hempsted if a strong group gets away they could hold on.

The Contenders

Start list available here

Emma Johansson and Orica-AIS

The Queen of Consistency is back at her best after breaking her collarbone earlier in the year. Whatever the race you can be sure Johansson will be around the mark and here is no different. Won the opening stage last year getting the better of then World Champion Marianne Vos before going on to finish second overall. Three wins in the past week have put Johansson seasons back on track. First the Swedish Champion won Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria before picking up two stages and third overall at Euskal Emakumeen Bira, where her only time loss came in the short prologue.

Johansson is at her best after a hard days racing and with the field and course here it suits her perfectly. Several of the stages are up and down all day and should thin out the bunch but Johansson has prove multiple times can go up against the fastest finishers in the bunch.

Expect the team to ride for Johansson while giving the other riders opportunities. After a maiden European win Gracie Elvin will be full of confidence. Packs a quick finish from a select group and is capable of putting in strong attacks on the climb. Look as well to Team Pursuit World Champion Melissa Hoskins. Hoskins climbs and sprints well and if the opportunity presents itself can be fighting for the overall win.

Giorgia Bronzini and Wiggle Honda

It is a home race for the British squad and while Dani King is the only British rider in the team they will be looking for a strong result and they bring a team to do it. Two time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini is back after finishing fourth last year. It is a team where really any one of them could win in the right situation and they bring arguably the two fastest sprinters in the race in Bronzini and Jolien D'hoore.

Bronzini has two wins Molecaten Drentse Acht van Westerveld and the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup and has largely been seen playing a support role. D'hoore has had the best season of her career to date with four wins so far including Diamond Tour on the weekend. While the field there wasn't loaded with competition it is a sign of her form after a nearly two month break.

Audrey Cordon is very strong on rolling terrain and packs a quick finish, while Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Elisa Longo Borghini might prefer a slightly hillier route is still very capable. With a strong team of sprinters the duo are likely to have their chances off the front allowing their sprinters to conserve energy in the peloton.

Lizzie Armitstead

On British roads Armitstead will be looking to return to her best. Became a household name after claiming silver in the road race at the 2012 Olympics and with the opportunity to race in the UK expect her to be competing for the win. Was around the mark last year before being forced to abandon due to illness.

Armitstead has taken five wins this year including two world cup rounds Trofeo Alfredo Binda and The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic earlier this month. One of the quickest finishers in the race and able to handle the climbs. Backed by a very strong team including Christine Majerus who can also go well here. Megan Guarnier has been mastering everything and will no doubt be on the attack on the climbs. Watch out as well for Junior World Champion Amalie Dideriksen.


Two of Rabo Liv's big young talents put in a strong performance at Frauen Grand Prix Gippingen on the weekend. Anouska Koster won a two up sprint while Thalita De Jong rounded out the podium in third. Both are young but are gaining experience with every race. Neither is a pure sprinter and the field here is much strong that it was in Switzerland. Expect to see them on the attack.


It is another case of who do they ride for. Time Trial World Champion and road race silver medallist has been a bit quieter this year than usual and will no doubt be looking to build form ahead of a defence of her German National titles and the Giro Rosa. Won the Energiewacht Tour back in May and finished third at the Diamond Tour on the weekend. The form is there and with a quick finish can be in contention.

After a consistent start to the year Tiffany Cromwell's form looks to be improving. The past few weeks have seen her finish tenth at Winston Salem Cycling Classic, fourth at Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau before helping Brennauer to third at Diamond Tour and finishing 11th herself. The short climbs are perfect from Cromwell and her sprinting has been an area she has been improving the past 12 months.

Italian sprinter Barbara Guarischi can go well in the sprints and has been very close to a big win this year. The question is can she get over the climbs if the pace is really on.

Roxane Fournier

The French squad comes here with a very strong team with several cards to play and two sprinters who are getting quicker and quicker. Roxane Fournier is a sprinter on the rise and after some good results in smaller French races those results are being repeated elsewhere. Fournier won the final stage and finished second overall at the Tour of Chongming Island and is not to be discounted.

Pascale Jeuland, Aude Biannic and Amelie Rivat are all riders who will be important to Fournier's chances in the sprints. If Fournier cannot hold on over the climbs look to Amelie Rivat.

Matrix Fitness

A home race for the young British team and a race they will be looking to do well at. While they might not have a standout favourite for the overall it would be a mistake to discount them. Reigning British Champion Laura Trott will look to show off the jersey on home roads for what will probably be the last time for the moment. A regular winner in the UK but with the sprinting talent here and the climbing it is a much bigger test.

Lucy Martin brings experience and a quick finish and could be contending for a top 10 finish by the end of the race. The most exciting rider to watch on the team though is Elinor Barker. Only time will tell how big of a star Elinor Barker will be.

Lucy Garner and Sabrina Stultiens

At 20 Garner is one of the youngest riders in the women's peloton but after winning two world titles as a junior a lot has always been expected of her. Especially after claiming a stage of the Tour of Chongming Island in 2013 as a first year professional. Results have been quieter since but is regularly around the podium. If knee issues are behind her expect to see her fighting for stage wins and even the overall if she can hold on on the climbs.

After a late change to the team Sabrina Stultiens has stepped up in a big way this year. Finished 14th at Fleche Wallonne Feminine. Earlier this month finished second overall at Auensteiner-Radsporttage. Handles shorter climbs very well and might even take the opportunity to attack and while is not going to beat the pure sprinters has a quick finish.

Hannah Barnes and Coryn Rivera

Can the American UnitedHealthcare squad upstage some of the biggest names in women's cycling. The much talked about 22 year old Hannah Barnes could step up here and improve on her eighth overall last year. A third and fourth place stage finish last year shows she can be up there. Races little in Europe so is still really to test herself against the best.

Coryn Rivera who like Barnes is just 22 is capable of a strong showing. Largely thought of as a sprinter but also climbs well and finished an impressive fifth at The Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic. On British roads expect the team to support Barnes but the combination of Barnes and Rivera will make for a dangerous combination in the sprints.

Leah Kirchmann

The Canadian Time Trial and Road Race Champion can do a little bit of everything - climbs, sprints and time trials very well. A harder course suits her best but even in a bunch sprint can finish very well. Finished third and ahead of some more favoured competition at La Course last year behind Vos and Wild. Has limited experience racing in Europe but has been consistent all year in North America. Teams will have to keep an eye on her as she has the potential to upset everyone.

Iris Slappendel

After a mostly quiet 2015 the Dutch Champion produced her best result of the season last weekend finishing fifth at Frauen Grand Prix Gippingen. Bigla doesn't really have a pure sprinter here and Slappendel is a rider who you certainly do not want to give a big gap is she attacks. Teammate Vera Koedooder is a rider who usually can't help but attack and attack and attack. Has had some injury issues this season but expect to see her head down the road.

Other names to watch: Roxane Knetemann, Claudia Lichtenberg, Sarah Storey, Katie Archibald, Maria Giulia Confalonieri, Lauren Komanski and Lauren Stephens.
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