Top ranked team Wiggle High5 sends strong six to Santos Women’s Tour
“The Santos Women’s Tour will be Wiggle High5’s first race as World No.1 so we’ll be thriving as a team to live up to expectations and make the tour an extremely exciting one,” said team owner Rochelle Gilmore.
The team will showcase their Australian riders in Nettie Edmondson, Peta Mullens and Chloe Hosking.
“I'm really looking forward to meeting up with the Wiggle High5 team in Adelaide later this week,” said Hosking, who is recently returning from a hand injury sustained last summer. “I competed in the tour with the team last year and the quality of racing was fantastic. With the new UCI ranking and the addition of other international teams I think we're in for some really fantastic racing.
“As an Australian it's exciting to see more UCI races come to the Oceania region. I'm really excited that I get to line up with a full strength Wiggle High5 squad. I think we can do some damage.”
Wiggle High5’s team will also include Lucy Garner, Dani King and Amy Roberts.
Buchanan secures three national titles for New Zealand
UnitedHealthcare’s Rushlee Buchanan won double national titles in the road race and time trial at the New Zealand National Championships held in Napier last weekend. She now holds three titles simultaneously having also won the criterium championship in November.
"The course suited me, it was a loop over rolling terrain with quite a few corners and on the race day it was very, very windy,” Buchanan said of the time trial course. “I'm not a TT specialist, nor am I amazing at technical descents - but I was still confident I could be the best on the day, especially with the windy conditions thrown in the mix."
Buchanan won road titles in 2010 and 2014 but had never won an elite time trial title. "I've never won an Elite TT before, and while it's certainly been in my sights I never dreamed it would be this year. I'm not a specialist and I didn't necessarily train for this TT, but the training that I did was good and everything worked on the day to give me that win. This is, for sure, a career highlight to take out the TT."
Buchanan won the road race on January 9 ahead of Georgia Williams and Jo Kiesanowski. She won the time trial on January 8 ahead of Jaime Nielsen and Sharlotte Lucas.
Stephens moves into overall lead at Tour Femenino de San Luis
Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s Lauren Stephens has moved into the lead of the Tour Femenino de San Luis ahead of the final two stages on Friday and Saturday. The American all-rounder stormed to the overall lead after crushing the stage 4 individual time trial in El Durazno.
Stephens won the 12.8km time trial by 43 seconds ahead of runner-up Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) and 50 seconds ahead of Maria C. Alvarez (Xirayas De San Luis). “It was a great day,” Stephens said in a team press release. “It’s been a very tough race for our team so to have a good finish today was very exciting.”
She is now leading the GC by 57 seconds ahead of Aranza Villalon (Weber Shimano Ladies P.) and 1:07 ahead of Malgorzata Jasinska (Ale Cipollini).
Stephens placed second overall last year, down by only eight seconds behind overall winner Janildes Fernandes Silva (Brazil).
Stage 5 on Friday will finish on the challenging Mirador del Potrero ascent and stage 6 on Saturday will be a fast circuit race in San Luis.
Astana Women's team pleased with top-15 UCI ranking at start of 2016
The UCI announced the first 40 elite women's teams at the start of the 2016 season and Astana Women's Team were pleased to be ranked as the 15th best team. The ranking means that they will be invited to the major one-day races and stage races this year.
The UCI's statement noted that the ranking order was based on the individual UCI points of the top four best riders for each team. Organisers of events on the Women’s WorldTour are obliged to send invitations to the top 20 UCI women’s teams for one-day races and the top 10 UCI women’s teams for stage races. And organisers of 1.1- and 2.1-level events are obliged to send invitations to the top 10 2016 UCI women’s teams and the top five nations of the 2015 UCI nation’s ranking.
Aside from invitations to the women's events, Astana Women's Team is focused on sending riders to the Olympic Games this summer. They may have that selection opportunity at the Asian Cycling Championships on Oshima Island in Japan. "It's may be the most important race of the year for these riders," said director Zulfia Zabirova, "because they know that it's a great opportunity to qualify for Rio."
The four riders taking part are Faina Potapova, Natalya Saifutdinova, Natalya Sokovnina and Makhabbat Umutzhanova.