Women's news shorts: 25 teams confirmed for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Ronde van Drenthe kicks off 2015 World Cup, Eight medals for Australian women at Track Worlds

25 teams confirmed for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Liv-Plantur's Amy Pieters will return to the elite women's UCI 1.2 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to defend her title on February 28 in Belgium. The Dutch rider will have tough opposition from last year’s podium finishers; Emma Johansson (Orica-Ais) and Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), as both riders will be aiming for that top step on the podium this year.

They have already raced against one another at the recent Ladies Tour of Qatar, where Armitstead won two stages and the overall title, Johansson was fifth overall and Pieters finished ninth.

Race organisers announced a total of 25 teams confirmed for this year's event, and some 200 riders in total. Of those 25 teams, 18 are UCI-registered, also including Lotto-Soudal Ladies, Topsport Vlaanderen-Pro Duo, Lens World eu Zannata, Alé-Cipollini, Be Pink La Classica, Inpa Sottoli-Giusfredi, Rabo Liv, Liv-Plantur, Hitec Products, Velocio-SRAM, Team Rytger, Poitou Charentes-Futuruscope.86, Wiggle-Honda, Parkhotel Valkenburg, Matrix Fitness, Bigla and Lointek Team.

The US national team will also be present, along with Isorex, Napoleon Ladies, Kitchens Redant, Autoglass Wetteren and Sprinters Malderen to complete the field.

Elite women's podium: Emma Johansson (Orica - AIS), Amy Pieters (Team Giant-Shimano) and Elizabeth Lizzie Armitstead (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team)

World Cup calendar kicks off at Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe

The start of the World Cup's 10-round series is almost upon us with Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe kicking things off this year on March 14 in the Netherlands.

Last year, Armitstead won the first round at the Ronde van Drenthe and then went on to secure the overall title in August. She has shown top form coming into this season after taking an overall win at the Ladies Tour of Qatar and she will no doubt want to defend her title in the World Cup standings.

After the Ronde van Drenthe, the World Cup series will continue with the Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio on March 29, where Johansson won last year. There will be double rounds held in Belgium at the Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 5 and La Flèche Wallonne Féminine on April 22, where Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) and the current world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo Liv) won, respectively.

The series will move to China at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup on May 17, where Kirsten Wild took the win last year. Riders will then head to the US for the newest addition to the series at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic on June 7. The race uses a similar course to the Liberty Classic World Cup, last on the series in 2001, but with the start and finish atop the Manayunk wall.

The World Cup will resume with the last four rounds in August. Sparkassen Giro will be held in Germany on August 2, where former world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) won last year. The series will then head to Sweden for the Crescent Women World Cup Vargarde team time trial and road race held on August 21 and 23. Last year, Specialized-lululemon won the team time trial and Chantal Blaak won the road race.

The World Cup will conclude at the GP de Plouay in France on August 29, where last year Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) won the final round.

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) won the World Cup before the race started

Australia tops the women's medal standings at Track World Championships

The Australian women topped the medal standings at the UCI Track World Championships that concluded on Sunday in St. Quentin en Yvelines, Paris. They took home a total of eight medals, of the 27 medals won by women throughout the five days of racing.

The Australians earned four gold medals starting with their winning team pursuit squad; Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins. They also broke the world record when they finished the event in 4:13.683.

"It's still a bit surreal. I just can't believe it," Cure said following the win. "We've been training so well together as a group. I think this last year we've really been focusing on ourselves more and I think that really showed today. We all went out there, backed ourselves and each other."

Rebecca Wiasak claimed the rainbow jersey in the individual pursuit in her first-ever track World Championships. "I've dreamed of this," Wiasak said after the race. "I'm 30 so I'm a late starter, it's my first World Championships, I've never even won a national title so I kind of skipped a step there."

Cure earned the bronze medal in the individual pursuit and took the silver medal in the scratch race.

Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch nabbed the bronze medal in the team sprint and Meares went on to take the silver medal in the women’s time trial. She made history when she won the gold medal in the keirin, adding an eleventh world title to her accolades, which made her the most decorated female track cyclist of all time.

"Very happy, little bit emotional, very proud.  It has been a tough run, but it has been a lot of fun," Meares told Cycling Australia.

Admondson closed out the 2015 World Championships by winning the world title in the omnium.

Anna Meares with the Australian flag after winning the Kierin

Illness forces Small to miss the team pursuit at track Worlds

Illness kept Carmen Small from competing in her first-ever track World Championships with the US women's team pursuit squad in Paris. The American time trial specialist woke up with flu-like symptoms just days before the event.

"I am more then disappointed in not being able to compete with the team pursuit team today or tomorrow," Small told Cyclingnews prior to the opening day. "Illness came at a very inopportune time. I guess this is part of our sport. I am cheering from the sidelines and can't wait to help my teammates next season to reach our goals. The US team is a very strong squad and I know they will be successful this World Championships."

Small was a part of the team pursuit squad that earned the bronze medal during the third World Cup in Cali, Colombia. She was named to the World Championships team along with Sarah Hammer, Ruther Winder, Jennifer Valente and Lauren Tamayo.

The team placed sixth in the qualifying round on Day 1 and fifth in the finals on Day 2.

US national team sweep overall podium at Women's Tour of New Zealand

The US national team swept the podium at the Women’s Tour of New Zealand, which concluded with stage 5 on Sunday in Masterton. Tayler Wiles won the overall title with Megan Guarnier taking second and Evelyn Stevens in third.

"Today was pretty incredible!" Wiles posted on Twitter. "Thanks so much to my amazing @usacycling teammates and staff, this tour has been all about teamwork!"

The team also won four of the five stages beginning with the opening team time trial, Lauren Hall won stages 2 and 5, and Wiles won stage 4, where she moved into the overall race lead.

Team USA won the Teams Classification

Cant tops 2014-2015 UCI cyclo-cross standings

Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) finished the 2014-2015 UCI cyclo-cross standings as the top placed rider with a total of 2040 points. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) was second with 1520 points and Ellen Van Loy (VZW Young Telenet) was third with 1415.

Cant won her 19th UCI race of the season at the Internationale Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle on Sunday. She also won the Belgium Championships, European Championships and the World Cup overall title.

2014-2015 UCI cyclo-cross standings - Elite women

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP2040 pts
2Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team1520 
3Ellen Van Loy (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team1415 
4Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona1334 
5Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Factory Racing1308 
6Nikki Harris (GBr) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team1278 
7Sophie De Boer (Ned) Kalas-NNOF Cycling Team1182 
8Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra) 1160 
9Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo-Liv1110 
10Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv1016 

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