Women's news shorts: Teams head west to the Tour of California Women’s Race

Armstrong, Stevens and Brennauer headline ITT in California, Abbott leads NRC, Velocio-SRAM triumph in Gracia Orlova

Top teams head west to the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race

Fourteen teams will travel to the west coast of the US to take part in the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race (UCI 2.1), a three-day stage race held from May 8-10, with a selected group of riders also invited to participate in the following Women's Individual Time Trial (UCI 1.1) at Big Bear Lake on May 15.

The fourteen teams that will participate in the stage race include Ale-Cipollini, BMW p/b The Happy Tooth, Colaivta Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking, Itaú Shimano Ladies Power Team, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Pearl Izumi - Sports Tours International, Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth, Team Tibco - SVB, Twenty 16 p/b SHO-AIR, UnitedHealthcare, Velocio - SRAM, Xirayas de San Luis, and Canadian and Mexican national teams.

The women’s stage race will start on Friday, May 8 with 120km from South Lake Tahoe to Heavenly Mountain Resort and has 5,300 feet of elevation gain. Stage 2 held on Saturday, May 9 will host an 80km race in the same location and has 3,300 feet of elevation gain. The race will conclude on Sunday, May 10 with a 55km circuit race in Sacramento.

Race organisers invited 23 women to compete in the 24.2km Women's Individual Time Trial. Double world champion and Olympic gold medallist, Kristin Armstrong recently announced that she has come out of retirement and will participate in the event for Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air, a race that she has won on two previous occasions (2011 and 2012). Current world champion Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) will start. Evelyn Stevens (Boels-Dolmans) will also be on the starting ramp. She won the time trial in 2013. Last year's winner Alison Powers has retired from professional bike racing.

Evelyn Stevens (USA) gets back into her aero tuck

Tour of California Women's Individual Time Trial start list

#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Maria Carla Alvarez (Arg) Xirayas de San Luis  
2Kristin Armstrong (USA) TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air  
3Maddie Boutet (USA) Team USA Cycling  
4Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Velocio-SRAM  
5Laura Brown (Can) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team  
6Karol Ann Canuel (Can) Velocio-SRAM  
7Ana Teresa Casa (Mex) Mexico National Team  
8Jackie Crowell (USA) Breakaway from Cancer  
9Allie Dragoo (USA) TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air  
10Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
11Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
12Amber Neben (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good  
13Rhae Shaw (Can) BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental  
14Carmen Small (USA) TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air  
15Lauren Stephens (USA) TeamTIBCO-SVB  
16Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
17Sarah Storey (GBr) Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International  
18Alison Tetrick (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
19Anika Todd (Can) TeamTIBCO-SVB  
20Linda Villumsen (NZl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team  
21Emma White (USA) Team USA Cycling  
22Tara Whitten (Can) Canada National Team  

Tayler Wiles (USA) Velocio-SRAM


Velocio-SRAM triumph at Gracia Orlová Tour

Velocio-SRAM's Alena Amialiusik won the overall title at the Gracia Orlová Tour on Sunday in Orlova, Czech Republic. The UCI 2.2 five-stage race was held from April 30-May 3 and included four road races and an individual time trial.

Amialiusik won the title by 15 seconds ahead of teammate Trixi Worrack and 32 seconds ahead of third placed Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana). Velocio-SRAM won four of the five stages with Amialiusik taking the opening road race, Lisa Brennauer won the stage 3 time trial, Karol-Ann Canuel won the stage 4 road race and Elise Delzenne won the stage 5 circuit race. Ingrid Lorvik (Norway) won stage 2.

"My teammates were so strong all week, I am so happy to have the win for them. Trixi did work on all of the climbs for me, she was always there, she was great. The Gracia Orlová Tour is special to me because I remember when I was a little bit younger I did this race and for me then, it was a big race, really! And now I have won it, it's amazing, and almost too much to take in at once," Amialiusik said.

Amialiusik (Velocio-SRAM) wins Gracia Orlova

Van der Breggen seals overall win at Elsy Jacobs thanks to collective Rabo-Liv support

Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling) took the overall win at the three-day Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclisme féminin Elsy Jacobs, which wrapped up on Sunday.

Van der Breggen won the opening prologue were she gained the slim early lead in the overall classification ahead of Annemiek Van Vleuten (Bigla Pro Cycling Team) and Ann-Sophie Duyck (National Belgium).

Elena Cecchini (Lotto Soudal Ladies) won the stage 1 sprint but it was not enough to knock van der Breggen from the GC lead and she remained two seconds ahead of Van Vleuten heading into the stage 3 finale.

A threatening breakaway formed during the final day from which Floortje Mackaij (Team LIV Plantur) won the stage. However, Rabo-Liv worked hard to keep the gap at only four seconds by the finish line and van der Breggen took the overall win by two seconds ahead of Van Vleuten and an additional second ahead of her Rabo-Liv teammate Lucinda Brand.

"The main prize remained in our possession," said team manager Koos Moerenhout. "Anna, on Friday with an exquisite prologue make the difference and the team was then able to defend the small margin to Annemiek van Vleuten. A success of the collective. We are very satisfied after a good round."

Anna Van Der Breggen leads the overall at Elsy Jacobs

Abbott increases NRC lead after Tour of the Gila victory

Mara Abbott (Wiggle Honda) has increased her lead in the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) following her overall win at the Tour of the Gila on Sunday. She now has 570 points and is ahead of second-placed Lauren Stephens (TIbco-SVB) who won Joe Martin Stage Race and has a total of 444 points. Amber Neben (Visit Dallas p/b Noise) is in third with 334 points.

Women's individual  NRC standings after Tour of the Gila

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mara Abbott (USA) Wiggle Honda570 pts
2Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-SVB444 
3Amber Neben (USA) Visit Dallas p/b Noise334 
4Katharine Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare324 
5Scotti Wilborne (USA) UnitedHealthcare268 
6Brianna Walle (USA) Optum Pro Cycling258 
7Coryn Rivera (USA) UnitedHealthcare254 
8Allie Dragoo (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air250 
9Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Optum Pro Cycling246 
10Linda Villumsen (Den) UnitedHealthcare244 

Mara Abbott (Amy D Foundation) takes a corner during todays criterium.

Jackson on the rise with sprint classification in Tour of the Gila

Canadian Alison Jackson (Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air) confirmed her promise in the women's peloton by winning the sprint jersey at the Tour of the Gila and finishing on the podium in stages 2 and 4. The 26-year-old from Alberta is new to the pro peloton, having come from a background in running and triathlon, but enjoyed immediate success last year when she tested herself at the BC Superweek in British Columbia.

"When I did triathlons, I trained cycling with cyclists, and entered a few races here and there, and did quite well without that being my focus in training," Jackson told Cyclingnews. "Last summer I thought I'd see how I could do against some of the pros and Canadian national team members, so I entered BC Superweek, and was on the podium and won the omnium at Tour de White Rock."

Her consistent results attracted the attention of Twenty16 manager Nicola Cranmer, who signed her this season. Jackson repaid her faith by winning the first National Racing Calendar event she entered, stage 1 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. This combined with her solid results in Tour of the Gila have cemented her desire to continue her professional career.

"I would love to be a pro athlete, whichever sport that might be. Cycling is so exciting with all the tactics, there's a million ways to win," she said.

Alison Jackson (Twenty16) takes the win on stage 1.

Wilborne earns "New Mexico True" jersey in Tour of the Gila

UnitedHealthcare's Scotti Wilborne was awarded the New Mexico True jersey at the Tour of the Gila, an honour that went to the most aggressive and courageous rider. The American crashed hard on the descent of stage 2, but got back up and continued to work for her team, lighting up the stage 4 criterium with a late-race attack that lasted two laps. The move set up her team for its only victory of the week, with Hannah Barnes winning the sprint.

After the criterium, Wilborne told Cyclingnews that she was sore but said it's just part of the sport. "It's something every one of us has experienced at some point. The best thing you can do is get up and race the next day so you don't build up any anxiety about crashing. It was good for me to come out and race hard and get those nerves out so I can be more confident in the next days."

The 32-year-old came to the sport late, but was immediately posting solid results, taking second at the Joe Martin Stage Race for category 3/4 women in 2009. Her career was interrupted by the birth of twin boys, now three years old, who were at the race to cheer her on.

"It's been really fun to be a mom and pursue cycling at the same time," Wilborne said. "My husband is here as well, and he helps out a lot - keeping the kids - and he's my coach as well. We try to involve the family as much as we can."

Kitchen wins Ronde Van Overijssel

Hitec Products added another win to their early season with Lauren Kitchen sprinting to victory at the UCI 1.1 Ronde Van Overijssel held on Friday in Rijssen in the Netherlands.

Kitchen won the sprint from a breakaway of six rider ahead of Natalie Van Gogh (Parkhotel) and Anouska Koster (Rabo-Liv), while her Hitec Products teammate Kirsten Wild won the bunch sprint for seventh place. Kitchen also won the sprint competition with equal points as her teammate Charlotte Becker.

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

Video: Tour de Yorkshire Women's Race Highlights and analysis w/ Sarah Storey

Louse Mahé (IKON-Mazda) won the inaugural women’s Tour de Yorkshire in York city-centre, out-sprinting Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda) and Katie Curtis (Pearl Izumi Sports International). Check out the video highlights of the women's race below. To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel please click here.

Annika Langvad wins MTB Bundesliga in Heubach ahead of World Cup opener

Denmark’s Annika Langvad won the MTB Bundesliga in Heubach, Germany on Sunday. Norway’s Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå fought for second place ahead of Austria’s Lisi Osl. It was an important mountain bike race, which gave the riders an indication of their form ahead of the European marathon championships next week, and three weeks later the World Cup season kick-off in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic on May 24.

“I certainly was not at my best today, but as a preparation for next week’s European marathon championships this was exactly the kind of race I needed as a preparation,” Dahle Flesjå said.

 Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing XC)

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