The OVO Energy Women's Tour will see five former winners take the start line and go head-to-head for the overall title in the six-day race held from June 10-15 in the UK. Defending champion Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) will face previous title winners in Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor) and Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv).
Rivera won the overall title last year, becoming the first non-European winner, ahead of Vos and Dani Rowe. She told Cyclingnews at the recent Tour of California Women's Race that she hasn't had the best spring campaign, but that she was preparing to target top performances mid-season at the OVO Energy Women's Tour and USA Cycling Road National Championships.
"My spring was worse than last year; crashed twice was sick twice, and a lot of bad luck," Rivera told Cyclingnews. "I'm learning how to cope with those difficulties better than I did last year. I've reset and will focus on the rest of the season. I really do like the next part of the season. The Women's Tour is very much suited to my strengths and the Nationals course hasn't changed and I've done well there, so I hope to win them again."
Rivera knows what it's like to race for the title against Vos, as both riders vied for the overall title last year. Vos was the first overall winner of the OVO Energy Women's Tour in 2014 and she has won a record five stages in the five editions of the race. The 2015 winner Brennauer will continue her record of having participated in every edition of the race. The 2017 winner Niewiadoma completes returns after a successful spring where she won Amstel Gold Race.
Deignan, who won the title in 2016, will be a dark horse GC contender at the OVO Energy Women's Tour this year. She returned to competition after taking some time off to have her first child. She started her season at the Ardennes Classics and then competed at the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour of California Women's Race.
She told Cyclingnews that she would be continuing her racing schedule through the end of the OVO Energy Women's Tour in an effort to build her high-intensity form. Her main target of the season will be the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire in September.
The OVO Energy Women's Tour expanded to six stages this year. It will also offer a first-ever hilltop finish in Warwickshire, which has hosted the event for four seasons, through Burton Dassett Country Park.
Hear from former cyclist and human rights activist Kristen Worley on gender verification testing, testosterone, old ideologies and human rights in the latest Cyclingnews Podcast Women's Edition.
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