Wiggle-High5 managed to get two thirds of their team onto the podium at Tuesday’s Tour of Guangxi Women’s Elite World Challenge. The team was pipped to the post by BePink’s Maria Vittorio Sperotto, but Amy Cure pushed the Italian all the way to the line with Lucy Garner just behind her teammate in third place.
“Considering we’re only with three, we really pulled together as a team, so to get second and third… we’re so happy with that,” Garner said. “It started off pretty steadily, with everybody just getting into it, and then when we made the turn it was quite full on.”
“There were a lot of attacks going, but we were just trying to sit in the wheels and save as much energy as possible. We didn’t know how our fitness was going to be coming into this - we’re kind of in our off-season now - but we did what we could, and to get two of us on the podium, we should be happy with that.”
It was the first running of the Tour of Guangxi Women’s Elite World Challenge, which coincided with the final stage of the inaugural men’s Tour of Guangxi.
Elvin takes home sprint prize in Guangxi
Orica-Scott missed out on the podium in the final Tour of Guangxi standings, but Gracie Elvin gave them something to cheer about. The 28-year-old claimed the sprint competition after taking two of the three intermediate sprints in the 110km event.
“Georgia Williams did a great job of leading Gracie out for the first sprint prime and then Jess Allen helped out in the second and I led Gracie out for the final one," teammate Sarah Roy explained. "She was able to win two of the primes to secure the overall win in this which was great for us to take from today's race, the final UCI race of the season for us.”
Roy was Orica-Scott’s best finisher, coming home in 16th place in the bunch sprint. It had been a fairly straightforward race with only one rider managing to break free of the peloton. After hoping to secure Elvin the sprint competition, Roy looked to mix it towards the front in the sprint but they could only watch others duke it out for the win.
“The plan was for the team to lead me out from the second to last corner, but we just didn’t get there close enough to the front in time,” said Roy. “For many riders it is their first race back after the off-season so it was a messy final with many riders trying to go for the victory after a flat race. I felt awesome today so I am disappointed not to have been able to get into a good position and really go for it."
Koster renews with Team Virtu Cycling
Claudia Koster has signed a one-year extension with Team Virtu Cycling, which raced as Team Veloconcept this year. The 25-year-old from the Netherlands rode on the UCI team Sengers Ladies Cycling Team in 2012 and then returned to the UCI ranks with Veloconcept this year.
“It has been a great year," Koster said. "I did a lot of WorldTour races with some cool girls and a professional atmosphere in the team. It has been fantastic. For the same reasons, I have decided to stay. We are also racing some good races and that is important for us riders.”
A committed domestique, Koster scored her first UCI points for the team near the end of the season whens he placed seventh on stage 2 of the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour.
“Normally I was riding for other girls in the team, but when I got the chance I did everything that I could to take some point, and that was fantastic. When I went on the podium on the first road stage in the Giro that was also really cool," she said.
“To take more top 10 would be nice, but the main goal is to get better and better and help the team as much as possible. I really like the classics, I like the cobblestones, the bad weather and the hard races, so that will definitely be my focus too.”
Team director Carmen Small said Koster really impressed her throughout the year.
"She has been riding strong and showed she has a lot of power," Small said. "She has the ability to do well both in hilly terrain, sprints and ITT’s so there is still potential to unlock. She will be very valuable for our team, and she knows how to take advantages of the chances she will get in 2018."
Sho-Air Twenty20 signs Margot Clyne
Sho-Air Twenty20 has signed climbing Talent Margot Clyne for the 2018 season. The reigning 2017 US hill climb champion and two-time Colorado state champion brings superior climbing power and multi-day stage racing experience to the US UCI team.
Clyne, 22, who is currently in her first year of PhD studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, raced for the University of British Columbia previously, taking up road racing at the elite amateur level with the Amy D Foundation and JLVelo Cycling p/b The Freewheel. She finished fourth on the mountain top finish of the McKenzie Pass Road Race stage at the Cascade Cycling Classic and finished 12th overall.
"I am grateful to be welcomed into the Twenty20 program," Clyne said in a statement released by the team. "The Twenty20 program is known for building world-class athletes. I still have very much to learn and look forward to working with the team and staff on channeling my strengths in climbing and attacking, and on improving my areas of weakness, such as in criteriums and time trials.
"Right now, I do not know what my full cycling potential actually is. I trust in the direction of the Twenty20 program, and know that as I continue to work hard they will help me become the best that I can be," She said. "My goal at every starting line is the same: to ride confidently and create opportunities that impact the race. Past that, we will see what happens."
Team director Mari Holden said she was excited to welcome Clyne to the program.
"I was impressed with both her attitude and her ability," Holden said after watching the rider go through recent team-building exercises. "She is exactly the type of athlete that we try to find, and I'm looking forward to working with her. She houses tremendous self-drive and also works well in a race environment with a team. I am excited to see how she transitions and develops."