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First time World Cup could bring surprises

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Cycling News

Quality field for Spanish round

World Cup leader, Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) retained the jersey after this fourth round

World Cup leader, Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) retained the jersey after this fourth round

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The sixth round of the 2010 UCI Women's World Cup heads to Spain for a brand new course, one that is unique in that it is an out-and-back course rather than circuits.

Heading out from Valladolid, the women will face 122km of deceptively rolling terrain through the heart of wine country punctuated by several short, sharp climbs before heading back into town for two 3.8km finishing circuits.

World Cup leader Marianne Vos (Nederlands Bloeit) holds a 41 point advantage over Belgian Grace Verbeke (Lotto) and will be looking to build upon that tally.

The conflicting Liberty Classic in the USA will draw away HTC-Columbia's Ina Teutenberg, upsetting the balance a bit away from a sprinter's race.

Aside from Giorgia Bronzini's Gauss RDZ Ormu squad, it seems that most teams would prefer to avoid a bunch sprint considering Vos' ability to gain points in any situation. With such a large lead, Vos may look to teammate Loes Gunnewijk, winner of the Ronde van Drenthe, as a key back up for the breakaway.

While Fleche Wallonne winner Emma Pooley (Cervelo) will give the race a miss after winning Tour de l'Aude, there will be plenty of similar opportunists looking to escape the clutches of the peloton and hold off the chase to gain those valuable World Cup points. 

Teams like HTC-Columbia, with veteran Judith Arndt and Italian Noemi Cantele, Great Britain with Nicole Cooke, and Red Sun's Emma Johansson are just a few who could accomplish such a feat.

With Cooke, Johansson and Verbeke being the three riders in the race who could overtake Vos in the standings by winning in Spain, look for a small breakaway that doesn't threaten the Dutch woman's lead to slip away, and for Vos to mop up points from the field.