Archibald will debut with Wiggle High5 at Tour de Yorkshire

Wild for sprint-friendly opening stage, Longo Borghini suits hilly second stage

Wiggle High5 announced Tuesday that Katie Archibald will make her debut with the team at the Tour de Yorkshire. The two-day race is held on May 3 and 4 in Great Britain, where Kirsten Wild will lead the team during a flat stage 1 and Elisa Longo Borghini will eye hilly stage 2.

Archibald, 24, has been concentrating her season on the track until now. She won the world title in the Madison and more recently won the gold medal in the Individual Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.

"I didn't want to make a big deal of it [being my first race for the team] because it's May," Archibald said in a team press release. "I'm very much looking forward to it."

Archibald rode in the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire, when it was an 80km circuit race around the city of York, and she won the sprinter's jersey.

This year's Tour de Yorkshire overlaps with the first two stages of the men's race. Stage 1 will be 132.5km from Beverley to Doncaster and is expected to be one for the sprinters. The team will focus their efforts on leading out Wild for the opener. Stage 2 is 124km from Barnsley to Ilkley and caters to the climbers, so Longo Borghini will focus on that stage.

"It's always funny looking at profiles and things because it really makes a big difference whether you're looking at a Spanish climb compared a British one," Archibald said. "It'll be narrow roads, especially through Yorkshire; narrow and steep, and a lot of up down, up down. Instead of glorious, Alp, threshold climbs it's going to be punchy, into-the-red stuff.

"I guess it'll be similar to the Women's Tour, that kind of idea, savagery all round."

Wild will be the team's designated sprinter. She secured three world titles on the track before making her debut with the team during Classics. She most recently won a stage of the Tour of Chongming Island.

Wild won the second edition of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016, between Otley and Doncaster, and is looking forward to the identical finish of this year's opening stage.

"It's a really nice race. I did it twice, and both times it was a different course," Wild said. "This time one day is a bit flat, and the other day is a bit more hilly, so I think for our team it's really interesting.

"It looks like a sprint, but you never know… it's not flat like Holland's flat, I think!"

Wild said she is in top form, but she is still recovering from a crash during the opening stage at the Tour of Chongming Island.

"It's OK I think," Wild said. "I did some physio yesterday, and in Yorkshire it will have been a week ago so it'll be fine."

The team will also field Italian champion Longo Borghini, suited to the second stage, which finishes at the top of the Cow and Calf. The 1.8km climb has an average gradient of 8.2 per cent but has sections as steep as 19 per cent.

"I'm feeling better than in the Ardennes," said Longo Borghini, who suffered from illness and allergies during the Classics season. "I had some setbacks with my allergies, and with my physical condition, but I'm feeling better. Hopefully I will feel better also in the race and surely if I'm feeling well I want to be up there fighting for a result."

Wiggle High5 roster for the Tour de Yorkshire: Katie Archibald, Rachele Barbieri, Lisa Brennauer, Elisa Longo Borghini, Kirsten Wild and Eri Yonamine.

 

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