The inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland has received a boost with the world number one-ranked team Boels Dolmans confirming that they will be among those on the start line this August. The remaining teams are yet to be announced.
Unveiled last October, the Women’s Tour of Scotland is a three-day event that will take place between August 9 and 11, the same weekend as the European Championships. It is the fourth UCI women’s race that will take place in the UK after the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, the Tour de Yorkshire and the RideLondon Classique.
As well as their participation in the Women’s Tour of Scotland, Boels Dolmans also confirmed a packed 2019 calendar. Beginning next month at the Setmana Valenciana, the programme covers all but one of the Women’s WorldTour races and includes races such as Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik.
Unlike in the men’s peloton, women’s teams are not required to accept invitations to WorldTour races. However, Boels Dolmans will ride the vast majority, including the Tour of Flanders, the Giro Rosa, La Course and the final round in Guangxi, which they have not previously ridden.
The Tour of Chongming Island, which takes place between May 9 and 11, is the only event on the 23-race Women’s WorldTour calendar that the team will miss this season. Instead, the team has chosen to ride the Tour de Yorkshire on May 3 and 4, before flying to the Women’s Tour of California, which starts on May 16.
Last season, the team decided to skip the Tour of California due to its clash with the Spanish race Emakumeen Bira, as a reduced roster prevented them from riding a dual programme. For 2019, the team is back to a 12-rider roster, while Emakumeen Bira has been moved slightly in the calendar, leaving four days between the end of the race in California and the start in Spain. Another change in the calendar means that there will be a five-day gap between the Giro Rosa and La Course, compared to the one day the riders had in 2018.
For the past few years, Boels Dolmans have been the team to beat in the women’s peloton, winning the individual and team rankings in the first two editions of the Women’s WorldTour. They also retained the rainbow bands of world champion for the fourth year running with Anna van der Breggen winning in Innsbruck last September. While they held onto their team titles in 2018, they faced much tougher competition from Mitchelton-Scott, with Annemiek van Vleuten finishing the year as the top-ranked rider and the winner of the WorldTour competition.
Boels Dolmans have brought on reinforcements for 2019, particularly with the signing of Jolien D’hoore from the Mitchelton-Scott team. Katie Hall, Eva Buurman and Annika Langvad are all new signings, while Lizzie Deignan, Anna Plichta and Megan Guarnier all left last season.
Boels Dolmans 2019 calendar: Setmana Valenciana (February 21-24), Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (March 2), Le Samyn (March 5), Strade Bianche (March 9), Drentse Acht van Westerveld (March 15), Ronde van Drenthe (March 17), Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio (March 24), Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne (March 28), Gent-Wevelgem (March 31), Dwards door Vlaanderen (April 3), Volta Limburg Classic (April 6), Tour of Flanders (April 7), Healthy Ageing Tour (April 10-14), Amstel Gold Race (April 21), Fleche Wallonne (April 24), Liege-Bastogne-Liege (April 28), Tour de Yorkshire (May 3-4), Tour of California (May 16-18), Emakumeen Bira (May 22-25), Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, Ovo Energy Women’s Tour (June 10-15), Giro Rosa (July 5-14), BeNe Ladies Tour (July 18-21), La Course (July 19), RideLondon Classique (August 3), Women’s Tour of Scotland (August 9-11), Crescent Vargarda TTT (August 16), Crescent Vargarda (August 18), Ladies Tour of Norway (August 22-25), GP de Plouay (August 31), Boels Rentals Ladies Tour (September 3-8), Madrid Challenge (September 14-15), Tour of Guangxi (October 20).
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