Festival Elsy Jacobs kicks off jam-packed women's racing programme in May
Teams wave goodbye to the Spring Classics and hello to a month of stage races and one-day events
The Spring Classics are officially over and stage racing season will begin at the Festival Elsy Jacobs held from April 29-May 1 in Luxembourg.
The May calendar offers little reprieve with nearly a month full of events including three Women's WorldTour events at Itzulia Women (May 13-15), Vuelta a Burgos Feminas (May 19-22) and RideLondon (May 27-29).
Emma Norsgaard and Movistar Team will not be on the Festival Ely Jacobs start line to defend their title but the high-quality field includes Luxembourg national champion and former overall winner Christine Majerus and Demi Vollering, both and SD Worx riders who will be guided by another former overall winner Anna van der Breggen as the team's sports director.
SD Worx will field one of the strongest teams also lining up with Hungarian champion Blanka Kata Vas, climbers Anna Shackley and Niamh Fisher-Black, and sprinter Roxane Fournier.
The start list also includes eight Women's WorldTeams, and alongside SD Worx are Liv Racing Xstra with Canadian Champion Alison Jackson, Canyon-SRAM with Alice Barnes, Jumbo-Visma with Anna Henderson, UAE Team ADQ with Marta Bastianelli, Uno X with Hannah Barnes and Joss Lowden, and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB with Kathrin Hammes and US Champion Lauren Stephens.
Festival Ely Jacobs offers the women's field a segue from the one-day classics into the season full of stage races with an opening 2.2km prologue in Cessange. The race then moves into stage 1 for a 121.4km race in Steinfort and will conclude with stage 2's 109.3km in Garnich on Sunday.
Organisers will offer live coverage of the three-day event beginning with a live tracker for the prologue on Friday and daily live streaming of all three stages.
Festival Ely Jacobs
- April 29: Prologue - Cessange to Cessange (2.2 km), live from 2.30 pm CET
- April 30: Stage 1 - Steinfort to Steinfort (121.4 km), live from 2.30 pm CET
- May 1: Stage 2 - Garnich to Garnich (109.3 km), live from 3.00 pm CET
Following the Pro Series-level Festival Ely Jacobs, the women's peloton will have an option to compete in the new Vuelta Ciclista Andalucía Ruta del Sol Women (May 3-5) and the Bretagne Ladies Tour (May 3-7), both 2.1-level stage races.
A series of 1.1-level one-day races will include GP Eco-Struct (May 7), Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar (May 8), Emakumeen Nafarroako Women's Elite Classics (May 10), La Classique Morbihan (May 13) and Grand Prix du Morbihan Femmes (May 14), Durango - Durango Emakumeen Saria (May 17) and Veenendaal - Veenendaal Classic (May 21).
Threaded in between the one-day races are the top-tier stage races Itzulia Women, Vuelta a Burgos Feminas and RideLondon Classique, which will overlap with the Pro Series six-day Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (May 24-29).
On US soil, women's teams will compete at the Tour of the Gila (April 27-May 1) and Joe Martin Stage Race (May 19-22), while a series of criteriums will continue at the Rochester Twilight on May 21.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.