Boels Dolmans has dominated the inaugural Women’s WorldTour this season, but they will not be present at its next race the RideLondon Classique. The Dutch team had been down to ride the one-day race, which takes place on Saturday, but had to pull out due to a lack of riders
With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, Boels Dolmans had only been able to field three riders, one less than the minimum requirement and half a full-size line-up. The two Dutch riders Chantal Blaak and Demi de Jongh and Poland’s Katarzyna Pawlowska are the only riders from the team not competing in Rio. Race organisers can request an exemption so that a team can start with fewer riders than the required minimum. However, as the team was not certain to start even with this exception both the UCI and the team chose not to take this route.
While organisers are required to invite the top 20 teams for one-day races, unlike the men’s WorldTour, it is not compulsory for them to accept the invitation. As the WorldTour becomes established, this rule is expected to be implemented along with a tiered system (you can read UCI president Brian Cookson’s thoughts on the future of women’s cycling here).
Boels Dolmans has been the dominant force in the Women’s WorldTour, winning nine of the first 12 rounds. Megan Guarnier holds a commanding lead in the competition with 886 points while her teammate, world champion, Lizzie Armitstead sits in second place with 545 points. Evelyn Stevens makes it three Boels Dolmans riders in the top five of the rankings with only Wiggle-High5’s Elisa Longo Borghini and RaboLiv’s Anna van der Breggen the only two riders to infiltrate their lock-out of the top positions.
Their success means that they also hold a strong lead in the team rankings, which is sufficient to keep them ahead of the chasing pack despite missing a round.
The RideLondon Classique is an update of the previous RideLondon GP. It takes place over a 5.5km circuit in the centre of London on Saturday evening.