Kapelmuur comes to Women's Tour of Flanders
Like the men's WorldTour event, the women's Tour of Flanders will take on the Muur-Kapelmuur in the 2017 edition. The striking cobbled climb to the chapel in Geraardsbergen returns to the men's course after a five-year absence at kilometer 165 of the 260km race, and for the women it appears as the seventh climb of 12 in a 153km course.
The women's race was lengthened by 12km for 2017, thanks in part to the UCI's new regulations that extend the maximum distance for Women's WorldTour races to 160km.
Longer distance also means more climbs, with two more bergs added to the women's race and two additional cobbled roads.
The climbs begin at kilometer 56 with the Achterberg, and then the Eikenberg and Wolvenberg follow quickly at kilometers 62.7 and 65.8. The Leberg, Berendries and Tenbosse come between kilometer 74.6 and 83.6 before the racers head to Geraardsbergen for the Muur at kilometer 94.
The riders get 18km to respite before climb 8, the Pottelberg, and then the Kanarieberg and Kruisberg/Hotond climbs provide some selection before the final two critical cobbled climbs, the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, which is crested with just 13.2km to go to the finish in Oudenaarde.
At 141km, the 2016 edition of the Women's Tour of Flanders was already a race of attrition, with only 20 riders together at the base of the Oude Kwaremont. After the Paterberg, two riders, Emma Johansson and eventual winner Lizzie Armitstead, were being chased by only eight.
Strade Bianche kicks off 2017 UCI Women's WorldTour
The third edition of the women's Strade Bianche will again mark the first race on the UCI Women's World Tour calendar, and will also take place on March 4, starting and finishing in Siena.
The women's race is 127 kilometres in length and features 30 kilometres of dirt roads spread across eight sectors, all of which appear in the men's race.
The first four sectors of the women's race are the same as the men's, but the women's race skips Montalcino and makes instead for the hilly sector of dirt road at San Martino in Grania, which at 9.5 kilometres is the longest of the race.
The finale is equivalent to the men's race, with the short, punchy sectors of Vico d'Arbia, Colle Pinzuto and Le Tolfe following in quick succession ahead of the spectacular finale on Siena's Piazza del Campo.
The Grand Fondo Strade Bianche takes place on Sunday, March 5 and its long course will be identical to the route of the women's race.
Guderzo signs with Lensworld-Zanata
Former road world champion Tatiana Guderzo has signed with the Belgian squad Lensworld-Kuota for the 2017 season.
The 32-year-old Italian moves across from the Hitec Products squad.
"Of course we are very happy with this transfer. Tatiana has been active at the highest level for years and she is at her best in the most difficult stage races like the Giro," the team wrote in a press release.
"In 2009 Tatiana became world road race champion and she took the bronze at the Olympics in Beijing. In short, a champion that we hardly need to introduce!"
Chilean Paola Muñoz joins Bizkaia-Durango
The Bizkaia-Durango team has added Chilean rider Paola Muñoz to its roster for 2017. The Santiago-born Olympian previously rode for the team in 2012.
Muñoz won the Grand Prix of Venezuela this season.
"I am very excited about my arrival to a team with so many years of history as Bizkaia-Durango," Muñoz said. "This team has created great cyclists and I am happy to join the roster and have the opportunity to compete in the best races in the world, including Belgian classics such as the Tour of Flanders or La Fleche Wallonne, or stage races like the Giro d'Italia. I look forward to growing as a rider and contributing as much as possible to my new team."