Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) will be back in action at the Women's WorldTour's one-day RideLondon Classique held on Saturday. After winning four stages of the Giro Rosa and La Course in July, the former multiple-time world champion will be one of the favourites to win the sprinter-friendly circuit race.
"The race will most probably end in a sprint. For this we have Marianne Vos as a likely candidate for the victory, but certainly not the top favourite," said the team's sports director Jeroen Blijlevens.
Organisers shortened the circuit compared to last year cutting out the section that included Admiralty Arch, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.
The women will race 20 laps of a 3.4km loop for a total of 68km. It's a completely flat loop that starts on The Mall next to St. James's Park in central London. The route continues clockwise around St. James's Park and past the Horse Guards Parade. It then goes down Birdcage Walk and past Buckingham Palace and onto Constitution Hill. The peloton will travel up Constitution Hill to the end and then turn around and come back the same way, and head back onto The Mall for the finish line.
Vos will face a handful of notable sprinters including two-time winner Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor), who she placed second to in last year's race. Marta Bastianelli (Virtu Cycling) has also returned to racing after suffering from a knee injury last month.
There is also Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Cylance), who was third last year, Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), who won the 2017 edition, along with Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg), and Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM).
"This is a real power sprint and that is just a little bit less Marianne's cup of tea," Blijlevens said. "If it does not end in a sprint, then we must be part of the breakaway. With Evy Kuijpers, for instance, we may be able to participate in the intermediate sprints."
Vos will be joined on the RideLondon Classique start line by Valerie Demey, Evy Kuijpers, Jeanne Korevaar and Riejanne Markus.
Moolman-Pasio to new Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa
CCC-Liv will also send a team led by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio to the newly launched Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa held on the same day as RideLondon.
The race is UCI 1.1 is held alongside the men's Clasica San Sebastian and will have the same start-finish area in Donostia. The women's 126.7km route will also include much of the same climbs; Jaizkibel (category 1), Arkale (category 3), Mendizorrotz (category 2) and finish over the Murgil Tontorra (category 2).
"A beautiful, challenging race with prestige and character," said the team's director Eric van den Boom. "Fantastic that the initiative was taken to add this race to the women's calendar. In the beginning the Jaizkibel is a challenge and at the end there are again several steep climbs."
Moolman-Pasio will be joined by Agnieszka Skalniak, Pauliena Rooijakkers, Marta Lach and Inge van der Heijden.
"As a team we want to be well positioned in the race and with Pauliena Rooijakkers and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio we see chances to spice the final."