Car manufacturer Skoda has expanded their sponsorship deal with the Women's Tour as they sign a new agreement that will see them take over the sponsorship of the Queen of the Mountains competition from Strava. It brings them in line with the men’s Tour of Britain, where they already sponsor the mountains classification.
"ŠKODA started life as a bicycle company in 1895 and being the official partner of the King and now Queen of the Mountains helps us to continually honour that heritage. It also provides the perfect platform for bringing our cycling season to life alongside our new Brand Ambassador, Sir Bradley Wiggins."
Skoda is also the official car partner of both the Women's Tour and the Tour of Britain. The route of the Women's race was announced earlier this month, with a the event visiting London for the first time.
The women's Classics continue with Le Samyn des Dames, Gutierrez Ruiz wins for Cylance
The annual journey around Belgium made by the peloton each spring continued for the women as well as the men, with Le Samyn des Dames today, with Sheyla Gutiérrez Ruiz (Cylance Pro Cycling) taking victory in a five-rider sprint finish after a wet and windy day in the Wallonne part of Belgium.
Gutiérrez Ruiz beat Amy Pieters (Boels Dolmans) and Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM).
The 23-year-old Spanish champion was eighth at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and Le Samyn des Dames was the second victory of her career; two years ago she won the Grand Prix of Plumelec.
"The rain and wind did not deter me. I can look after myself on the cobblestones. I now hope for more success in the bigger Belgian races," Guterrez said after her victory.
The decisive five-rider group formed mid-way through the race, quickly opening a 30-second gap. The gap increased to three minutes with 10 kilometres to go.
Click here for the Le Samyn des Dames results.
Vogel on song at Track World Cup in LA
German sprinter Kristina Vogel was one of the stars of the second round of the Track World Cup in LA last weekend. Vogel opened up the competition with victory in the Keirin in convincing style.
Two days later, she beat Liubov Basova in two straight bouts to win gold in the individual sprint, having smashed the track record for the flying 200 in qualifying. The time of 10.896 was still a few hundredths short of the world record she holds, 10.384, which was set at altitude in Aguascalientes, Mexico in 2013.
The USA's Chloe Dygert had a successful start to her attempt at the individual pursuit, when she bested Ashlee Ankudinoff of Australia by two hundredths of a second to take gold. She had already been on the podium during this round of the World Cup as the USA took a convincing win over New Zealand in the team competition.
Australia were the winners in the Madison, while Gazprom-Rusvelo won the team sprint and Tetyana Klimchenko of Ukraine won the scratch race.
Moolman-Pasio: Cycling makes me confident to stand for what I believe in
The second edition of the Women's WorldTour is just a few days away, with Strade Bianche set to be the curtain opener on Saturday. In preparation for this, the UCI have been producing short videos with some of the stars of women's cycling.
In this video, Cervélo Bigla's Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio talks about what racing has done for her. The South African had a mixed season in 2016, with strong results at the Women's Tour and the Giro Toscana, among others, but it was heavily disrupted by illness and injury too. She made her comeback to racing after a collision with a vehicle during the Chrono des Nations with victory in the South African national time trial championships.
"Cycling is a tough sport; we push ourselves to the limits daily," she says. "The weather, the obstacles on the road, crashes, all these things we have to overcome. In those ways, I've grown in confidence and that growth in confidence has made me a stronger woman. Cycling makes me feel motivated and confident to go out there and stand for what I believe in."
Watch the full video below and click here for Moolman-Pasio's latest blog.