Women's news shorts: Canadians aim for team pursuit medal at Worlds, Cant wins final Superprestige

USA women start Tour of New Zealand with a win

Canadian women's team pursuit squad aim for medal at Track Worlds

The Canadian women’s team pursuit squad arrived in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, for the start of the UCI Track World Championships on Wednesday with hopes of winning a medal. In the qualifying round, the team placed third fastest, earning them a chance to race for the medals in the first and final rounds.

The team includes Jasmin Glaesser, Stephanie Roorda, Kirsty Lay, Alison Beveridge and Annie Foreman-MacKey. Glaesser will also race in the individual pursuit and Beveridge will also compete in the scratch race.

The Canadian team earned the bronze medal at the London Olympics and the silver medal at the World Championships last year, after placing second to Great Britain in the gold-medal round.

Monique Sullivan and Kate O'Brien will compete in the women’s team sprint, while Sullivan will also race in the sprint and the keirin, and O'Brien will also race in the time trial.

"Canada is ready to leave a mark at this World Championship," said Jacques Landry, Cycling Canada's high performance director. "Our women's team pursuit program has shown that it can unequivocally stand on the podium while our team sprinters continue to gain some critical international experience while improving their rankings. We feel that we can and will be strong competitors at this event."

Cant wins Superprestige finale in Middelkerke

Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) took her sixth win of the Superprestige series during the final round at the North Sea cross in Middelkerke on Saturday. She took a solo win ahead of Helen Wyman (Kona) and Femke van den Driessche (Kleur op maat-Corpellets-Sortimmo Cycling Team).

"I'm still riding pretty well," Cant told Sport.be. "I also surprised myself a little, even though the season is coming to an end. It's still good, as is every victory."

The World Cup leader, European champion and Belgium champion also won rounds in Gieten, Zonhoven, Ruddervoorde, Gavere and Hoogstraten. There is no overall classification for the women in the Superprestige series. It was her 18th UCI win of the season.

Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) wins the elite women's race at Belgian Cyclo-cross Nationals

USA leads first stage of Women's Tour of New Zealand

The US National team topped the opening team time trial at the Women's Tour of New Zealand in Masterton yesterday. Megan Guarnier led the five-woman squad across the line to take the race lead over teammates Lauren Hall, Lauren Komanski, Evelyn Stevens and Tayler Wiles.

Australia's national team was second at 18 seconds, with Lauren Kitchen leading the team to the finish. The American Tibco-SVB team led by Lauren Stephens was third at 42 seconds.

12 teams are racing in the Women’s Tour of New Zealand held from Feb 18-22 in the Wairarapa region. The race will be celebrating its 10th edition, however, this season it is sanctioned under the UCI as a 2.2-level event.

Evelyn Stevens, who won the race in 2012, is racing with US national team instead of her Boels-Dolmans trade team. Two US-based UCI teams will make appearances with Tibco-SVB, led by New Zealand's own Joanne Kiesanowski and Emily Collins, and Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth, led by New Zealand's Courtney Lowe and Karen Fulton.

National teams will be competing from New Zealand, Australia with junior time trial world champion Macey Stewart, and Japan with recent Asian Continental Championship junior women’s winner in the time trial and road race Yumi Kajihara. The elite teams include The Sign Factory, Fagan Motor Cycling Team, Ramblers Club, 3Sixty Sports and Holden Racing, High5 Dream Team.

Evelyn Stevens (USA) on the podium

Optum Pro Cycling together again in Borrego Springs

The women of Optum Pro Cycling have met for a pre-season training camp in Borrego Springs, located in the Anza-Borrego State Park in California. Many of the women are training in the area from February 8 to 23.

Those who are at the camp are Alison Tetrick, Amy Charity, Annie Ewart, Andrian Horbach, Brianna Walle, Janel Holcomb, Lex Albrecht, and Canadian road, time trial and criterium champion Leah Kirchmann.

Jasmine Glaesser did not attend due to her commitments to the Canadian national team at the UCI Track World Championships and Maura Kinsella is currently recovering from two broken ribs sustained in a crash at the Ladies Tour of Qatar.

The women will start their domestic racing season at the San Dimas Stage Race (March 27-29) followed by Redlands Bicycle Classic (April 8-12), Professional Criterium National Championships (April 18), Team Time Trial National Championships (April 19), Joe Martin Stage Race (April 23-26), Tour of The Gila (April 29-May 3), Amgen Tour of California Women’s events (May 8-10 and 15) and the US National Championships (May 23-25).

Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies)

Poitou-Charentes.Futurescope.86 look to improve on successful anniversary year

Poitou-Charentes.Futurescope.86 celebrated their 10th anniversary last year with 24 victories. The French UCI women's team is aiming to continue their success into 2015.

"We have achieved the goals we set, including the success of UCI races in France with Roxane Fournier and Pascale Jeuland at the Trophée d'Or," team director Paul Brousse told La Nouvelle République.

This year's team of all French riders includes Aude Biannic, Charlotte Bravard, Eugénie Duval, Séverine Eraud, Roxane Fournier, Pascale Jeuland, Lucie Pader, Greta Richioud and Amélie Rivat.

The team will target many of the top French races as well as international events. "Our calendar will be international. We will participate in the first round of the World Cup in Holland and also the fourth in China. Furthermore, it is expected that we will go to Spain and align ourselves with the Tour of Britain," Brousse said.

Kitchen and Garfoot Oceania Continental Championships

Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products) won the Oceania Championships road race title from a select four-up sprint in Goombungee, Australia. In the final sprint she beat Orica-AIS teammates Lizzie Williams and Katrin Garfoot, while Rachel Neylan was fourth. Australia's Jessica Mundy was awarded the under-23 women's championship title and Kristina Clonan won the junior title.

"Im really happy with this win, I've been close a few times to the top step so far this year but for it all to fall into place today for a big title like this, I’m really stoked," Kitchen said.

Garfoot went on to secure the title in the elite women’s time trial. She rode the 23.1km course in 32:55 minutes. Kitchens was second and Rebecca Mackey (Wormall CCS) was third. Australian’s Alex Manly won the under-23 time trial title and Anna-Leeza Hull won the junior title.

"I struggled after my effort on the way out but I fought it back in and it was enough," she said.

Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products) wins the 2015 Oceania road race ahead of Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS)

Moolman continues winning steak at African Continental Championships

After winning the South African titles in the time trial and the road race, Ashleigh Moolman took two more wins in the same disciplines at the African Continental Championships last weekend in Wartburg.

The Bigla rider finished the 24km time trial course in a winning time of 38:19, beating South Africa’s Heidi Dalton by 2:36 and Mauritius’ Aurelie Halbwachs by 2:45 minutes. Leandri du Toit won the junior time trial.

Moolman went on to win the road race in a two-up sprint against Lise Olivier, also from South Africa. Ethiopia’s Hadnet Kidane soloed in for third place 3:51 behind the two leaders. South Africa’s Helen Mitchell won the junior road title.

Bigla's Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio defends double South African titles

Japan's star junior Kajihara takes double wins in Asian Continental Championships

Japan’s Yumi Kajihara captured double junior women’s titles in the Asian Continental Championships held in Nakhon Ratchasima. She won the 10.9km time trial in 15:33 minutes and then secured the road race title after riding away from the field and winning the race by nearly a minute over her nearest competitors.

In the elite women’s events, Taiwan’s Ting Ying Huang won the road race title from a small group sprint ahead of her compatriot Yu Mei Hsiao and Hong Kong’s Zhao Juan Meng in third. South Korea’s Reum Ah Na soloed to victory in the time trial, 30 seconds ahead of Japan’s Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle-Honda) and 1:35 ahead of Mongolia’s Enkhjargal Tuvshinjargal.

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