The sixth round of the 2010 UCI Women's World Cup heads to Spain for the second year in a row with the 124km out and back from Valladolid. The rolling terrain, punctuated by several short, sharp climbs was enough last year to get a three-woman breakaway free that included Dutch rider Annameik Van Vleuten, Judith Arndt and Charlotte Becker.
While Becker prevailed in last year's round, this year Van Vleuten is going into the race as World Cup leader, where she holds a slim advantage over teammate and compatriot Marianne Vos.
Vos led the series until she skipped the Chongming Island round last month, but will return to enjoy the tactical advantage that having a
highly placed teammate provides.
Van Vleuten has 188 points to Vos's 185, while the nearest competitor, Swede Emma Johansson has 153. Placed fourth with 113 points and a chance to tie for the lead is German Ina Teutenberg. The HTC-Highroad sprinter has chosen to skip the Liberty Classic in the USA, which she has won four times.
That could swing the balance for the race to the side of a bunch sprint, with HTC-Highroad interested in keeping the race together, while Vos and Van Vleuten have both shown the ability to place well in bunch kicks.
Vos is showing fresh legs after taking a little time away from the circuit, going 1-2 with Van Vleuten in the 5e Verti advies 7 Dorpenomloop Aalburg last week and soloed to the win in the UCI 1.2 race in Gooik today by five minutes.