Vos joins Rabo-Liv at Pajot Hills Classic
Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) will be back in action on Wednesday at the Pajot Hills Classic, a new race added to the women’s UCI calendar in 2016. The Dutchwoman only began her season two weeks ago after taking nearly a year off to recover from injury and overtraining.
Vos will join teammates Anna van der Breggen, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Shara Gillow, Thalita de Jong and Kasia Niewiadoma in the 122.4km race.
Vos was forced to take a break last year due to a hamstring injury that she sustained at the Dutch national cyclo-cross championships at the beginning of January 2015. It was a long recovery process, and she briefly returned for two races in April and May. However, Rabo Liv announced last June that Vos would not return to road racing and that she had written off her 2015 goals. Vos later described her health problems and tired feeling as a sign of over training but stated that she would return in 2016 with an eye on the Olympic Games in Rio.
Her first race this season was on March 13 at the Drentse Acht van Westerveld where she placed tenth.
The Pajot Hills Classic will be held on a 21km circuit, followed by a main loop of 56.7km, and then two final circuits of 22.3km each. There will be eight cobbled sections.
Lepisto and Small back in action at Pajot Hills Classic
Cervelo Bigla will take to the start line at the Pajot Hills Classic on Wednesday with a strong team that includes Lotta Lepisto and Carmen Small. Lepisto was third at Omloop van het Hageland in February and Small had a stand-out performance at Gent-Wevelgem Women where she placed fifth.
Cervelo Bigla’s team will also include Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Clara Koppenburg, Joelle Numainville and Nicole Hanselmann. The team is preparing for the next installment of the Women’s WorldTour at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
"We are in Belgium for the whole week since Gent Wevelgem," Lepisto said in a team press release. “It's good to stay here for a while and get used to the racing as we prepare for Flanders. I rode a lot here when I was younger so I like it. The team has been working really well together in the last few races. We are staying together in the bunch and growing together all the time.
“We are hungry for that next podium and tomorrow is a great opportunity for us. Tomorrow is a good preparation for Sunday’s race. It is a 1.2 race and we don't have radios so team communication is more important in the race.”
Mackaij and Kirchmann lead Team Liv-Planut at Tour of Flanders
Team Liv-Plantur power-house duo of Leah Kirchmann and Floortje Mackaij will be looking to make an impact at the Women’s Tour of Flanders held on Sunday. Both riders have had strong seasons so far but have yet to win an round of the new Women’s WorldTour.
Mackaij has had consistently strong performances during the classics with a 13th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 4th at Le Samyn des Dames and 7th at Ronde van Drenthe. While Kirchmann brough the team their first win of the season at Drentse Acht van Westerveld two weeks ago and she was 7th at Gent-Wevelgem.
"The Ronde van Vlaanderen is always a really difficult race and usually the best riders of the bunch can make a difference during this race. I am expecting this scenario to happen and we can be very confident that Leah, who is showing great form at the moment, can make the decisive selection. Since the start of the season, Leah has been within the top 10 and she currently is ninth in the WorldTour ranking,” said director Hans Timmermans.
The team will also field Sara Mustonen, Rozanne Slik, Julia Soek and Carlee Taylor.
The Women’s Tour of Flanders is a lengthy race at 141.2km and it boasts ten hills and nine cobble sections, making for a challenging race all-around.
"The important moment of the parcours will be of course the Kwaremont and Paterberg in the final 20km and we have to stay alert and be in a good position. The goal of the team will be a top 10 result with Leah and this would be a great achievement in such a race,” Timmermand said.
Brennauer dedicates Gent-Wevelgem podium performance to injured Worrack
Worrack crashed on a descent at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Cittiglio WorldTour race and was rushed to the hospital in Cittiglio. Following a CT scan she was moved to the hospital in nearby Varese where she had emergency surgery on her left kidney on Sunday night.
At Gent-Wevelgem, Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) won the race solo and Brennauer took the bunch sprint for second place ahead of Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv). In a team press release, Brennauer paid tribute to her teammates and overall how the team has reacted following Worrack's crash.
"With everything that happened last week to Trixi, I really think it's nice that we stuck together as a team. We really are a strong unit and I'm pleased to get second today for the team."