Peloton Watch
  Calendar   2015 World Championships  
  Women's Road Race Preview  
  Defending Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot returns looking to go back to back and also claim world titles in Road Cyclo-cross and Mountain Bike in 2015. It is a very strong field with the race made even more open with the absence of three time world champion and five time silver medallist Marianne Vos

Past Winners

2014 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA)
2013 Marianne Vos (NED)
2012 Marianne Vos (NED)
2011 Giorgia Bronzini (ITA)
2010 Giorgia Bronzini (ITA)
2009 Tatiana Guderzo (ITA)
2008 Nicole Cooke (GBR)
2007 Marta Bastianelli (ITA)
2006 Marianne Vos (NED)
2005 Regina Schleicher (GER)
2004 Judith Arndt (GER)
2003 Susanne Ljungskog (SWE)
2002 Susanne Ljungskog (SWE)
2001 Rasa Polikeviciute (LTU)
2000 Zinaida Stahurskaia (BLR)

The Route

The junior women's race covers eight laps of a 16.2 kilometre circuit around downtown Richmond. The challenging technical circuit with three cobbled climbs in final four kilometres.

First comes the 200 metre cobbled Libby Hill Park climb, before a descending in to a 100 metre cobbled climb up 23rd Street. Once over the top the peloton will descend in to the final Governor Street climb. At 300 metres before a final false flat section of just under 700 metres positioning ahead of the final kilometre will be crucial.

The Contenders

Start list and start order available here

Pauline Ferrand Prevot

Can Ferrand Prevot win back to back and take a third elite world title in 2015 to go with her Cyclo-cross and Mountain Bike rainbow jerseys? You would be foolish to write her off and it would be quite the fairytale win but it will not be easy with a number of riders much more suited to the course than her. Has raced little on the road this year as she splits herself between disciplines but when she had she has been very strong. If she wants to will win likely have to get away solo as the circumstances she won in last year are unlikely to repeat themselves.

Anna Van der Breggen and the Dutch team

Without Marianne Vos is presents an opportunity for others to stand up. Van der Beggen has been the best rider this season that started in February winning Omloop het Nieuwsblad, before claiming wins at La Fleche Wallonne, the Giro Rosa and La Course. Can do everything climb, sprints well from a select group and time trial. Finished just two seconds off gold in the time trial in a sign that her form is right where it needs to be.

The question is can the Dutch team rally around her when every rider on the team could be considered a serious contender. With all eyes focused on Van der Breggen is may allow the likes of Lucinda Brand or Roxane Knetemann to get up the road. In a sprint they have the very quick Amy Pieters who could also contend for the podium.

Megan Guarnier and United States

The US junior women have cleaned up going 1-2 in both the time trial and road race now it is time to see if the elite riders can find the podium. On home soil they will be as motivated as it unlikely any of the team will have another chance for a home Worlds. Megan Guarnier has been on fire in 2015 winning Strade Bianche, Ladies tour of Norway and the US national title plus third at La Fleche Wallonne and the Giro Rosa. Has normally been considered a climber but has been producing a very quick finish this year and outsprinted Coryn Rivera to win the US Nationals. If she wants to win will need to be able to finish off again here.

Evelyn Stevens is an always reliable rider but in the event of a sprint Shelley Olds and Coryn Rivera could both find the podium. Both are very quick on the line but also climb very well increasing their chances of being there at the finish. Both have taken wins in the past two months.


Another team spoilt for talent and includes three former world champions - Marta Bastianelli, Tatiana Guderzo and Giorgia Bronzini. Headlining the squad is two-time world champion (2010 & 11) Bronzini who is looking for number three. Bronzini has not seemed at her best this year but her experience will be very important. Comes in having finished second at La Madrid Challenge to Shelley Olds.

As well as the three former world champions they also have Elisa Longo Borghini and Rossella Ratto who have both finished on the podium. Longo Borghini has had a great year that is highlighted by success at Ronde van Vlaanderen but it is probably not the course for her this time. But with a number of options it wouldn't be surprising to see her up the road to put other nations under pressure.

Elena Cecchini, the Italian Champion is a name to watch very closely. Continues to get better every time she races. Her climbing has really improved this year and that has potentially cost her in the sprint but could be a name to watch if Bronzini is not in contention.

Tiffany Cromwell and Australia

Australia comes in with a very strong squad of eight riders, the largest in the race. Seven of them have won races in 2015 and they have many options to play. Tiffany Cromwell has finished top 10 the past two years including fifth last year. Cromwell loves these types of classics courses. Just missed bronze at the Commonwealth Games last year on a similar city circuit.

Rachel Neylan always performs at big races and has returned to her best this season. Silver medallist in 2012 and she will no doubt want to repeat that with another podium finish. Fast finishers Loren Rowney, Lauren Kitchen and Lizzie Williams have all had strong seasons. Katrin Garfoot proved in the time trial she is travelling very well while Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt are two riders who can also go well on this course.


Jolien D'hoore has emerged as one of the top riders on the road in 2015. Won the junior world title in 2008 and would love to add the elite title to her name. In a sprint D'hoore will be very hard to beat. Has taken 12 wins this year including the Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe and Vargarda World Cup and that includes time spent away competing on the track. The Belgium team may not be the biggest or strongest in the race but can count on strong support from Sofie De Vuyst and Jessie Daams.

Lisa Brennauer

In her last five events at the world championships she has three gold, one silver and one bronze can she make it six gold from six events in two years? Very nearly completed a hat trick last year and while she cannot claim three gold this year she can add the road race to her palmares. Might have missed defending her title in the time trial but was just five seconds off showing she is still in fantastic form.

Brennauer has won the overall titles at the Energiewacht Tour, Aviva Women's Tour and Boels Rental Ladies Tour often off the back of her sprinting. Has beaten the likes of D'hoore and Wild this year in a sprint and if it comes down to it Brennauer will be in contention. A strong German team including trade team teammate Trixi Worrack and Claudia Lichtenberg for support.

Lizzie Armitstead

The British and Commonwealth Champion was in medal contention last year but when the select group she was in wouldn't work they were caught and it all unravelled and she missed the podium. Out for revenge this year on a course that is suited for her. The course has been compared to that of the Commonwealth Games last year although not as hard. The city circuit and cobbled climbs are perfect for Armitstead and if it comes to a sprint regardless of the size of the group Armitstead will be the favourite to take rainbows. Can count on strong support from second place finisher at the British Nationals Alice Barnes while Lucy Garner, Molly Weaver and Jessie Walker will be important support.

Emma Johansson

The Swedish Champion is running out of chances to take the world title after announcing she would step back for full time racing at the end of next season. Johansson has long been one of the most consistent riders in the peloton. Whatever the race you can be sure she will be around the mark. Sweden might only have a four-rider team but they will rally around Johansson to try and deliver her to the win. In the past you would have liked her chances in a reduced bunch sprint but this year she has not seen as quick so you can expect an aggressive race. If we get rain all the better for Johansson.

Katarzyna Niewiadoma

Still just 20 but Niewiadoma has had another very strong season racing against some of the best. Won Euskal Emakumeen Bira, second at European Games and fifth at the Giro Rosa and the recent Lotto Belgium Tour. A very strong climber expect to see her very active at the front in the closing four kilometres. Is not going to beat the top favourites in a sprint so will need to be aggressive.

Ashleigh Moolman

Moolman has finished fourth at Strade Bianche, La Fleche Wallonne and GP de Plouay-Bretagne plus 10th at Ronde van Vlaanderen and Trofeo Alfredo Binda this season. Not just a great one-day rider winning Auensteiner-Radsporttage and fourth overall at the Giro Rosa. Finished third on a similar city circuit at the Commonwealth Games. The course might not be as hard as she would like but should still be in contention.

Alena Amialiusik

After a breakthrough 2014 Amialiusik has had an even better 2015 season winning Gracia Orlova, Winston Salem Cycling Classic and the European Games road race. The biggest question for Amialiusik is how to make the race hard enough. Can sprint from a select group but is not likely to trouble the likes of Armitstead, Bronzini or D'hoore so will need to make a selection. Part of the winning TTT squad with Velocio-SRAM and finished eight in the ITT in a sign is on great form.

Christine Majerus

In the top 10 of every stage bar one (17 of 18) at the Energiewacht Tour, Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs, Aviva Women's Tour, Tour de Bretagne Feminin and Ladies tour of Norway. Has had a very consistent season and will be looking to finish off with a strong note. Not a pure sprinter but with the false flat to the finish and climbs in the final four kilometres will fancy her chances in a reduce bunch to maybe sneak on to the podium. With no team support will have to ride a smart race.

Linda Villumsen

Chloe Dygert managed to pull off the road race and time trial double could Linda Villumsen do the same? Has long been one of the best time trial riders in the world but don't discount her in the road race. Her long solo attacks have often delivered her wins and that is what she is likely to do here. Without a sprinter Villumsen will likely try to attack and get away hoping she can time trial to the finish.

Lotta Lepisto

Champion of Finland Lotta Lepisto could be a strong outsider. Might not be a big name compared to many of the riders in the field but Lepisto has had some very good results this year. Top 10's at Aviva Women's Tour and more at the Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt including a stage win, beating Emma Johansson.

Amalie Dideriksen

Won the junior road race the last two years and will be looking to finish off her first season as a professional on a strong note. Has had a very good year picking up consistent results mostly in smaller races. It will be very interesting to see how she performs her against the best. Comes in off a stage win and second overall at the Lotto Belgium Tour.

Other names to watch: Karol-ann Canuel, Eugenia Bujak, Jolanda Neff, Eugenia Bujak and Tatiana Antoshina.
 © 2016