US time trial champion Kristin Armstrong will be among the women to compete in the inaugural edition of the Women's USA Pro Challenge in August, race organisers announced in Denver today. The two-time Olympic gold medallist came out of retirement to reclaim her stars-and-stripes jersey in May, and earned an automatic nomination for the World Championships in Richmond, her first hurdle toward selection for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Armstrong and her Twenty 16 p/b Sho-Air team will be joined by the other five UCI-registered teams from the US: Optum, UnitedHealthcare, Tibco-SVB, BMW and Pepper Palace, as well as elite teams Visit Dallas, Colavita/Bianchi, DNA Cycling and the Colorado Women’s Cycling Project, with a full list of teams to be announced in early August.
The riders will have three stages, the first of which is an 8.5-mile time trial in Breckenridge on the same course as the men's pro race, a road race from Loveland to Fort Collins, and a criterium in Golden.
“The goal in developing the route for this first Women’s USA Pro Challenge was to create a challenging and diverse course using the incredible terrain that Colorado offers,” said Sean Petty, Race Director for the Women’s USA Pro Challenge. “The great folks in Breckenridge, Fort Collins and Golden really embraced our philosophy and I’m proud we are offering something for every type of rider during the three days of racing. We wanted to honor the legacy of women’s stage racing in Colorado as it’s the first time since 1988 that some of the best men and women in the world will be sharing courses at a major, international stage race in our beautiful state.”
Bigla mutually part ways with Olds and Lacambra
Bigla Pro Cycling team announced on Thursday that they have mutually parted ways with sports director Manel Lacambra and American rider Shelley Olds, effective immediately. Both Lacambra and Olds signed on with the team at the start of the 2015 season in January.
“We are sad to see Manel and Shelley leave," team manager Thomas Campana said in a press release. "We were very excited to have them join the team at the beginning of the season but sometimes things don’t work out the way you’ve planned. We have had respectful conversations and have decided it best to end the relationship now instead of prolonging it until the end of the season. We wish them the very best for the future.”
Olds joined the team from Alé-Cipollini last year and she previously spent a season with Tibco (2013), AA Drink (2012) and Diadora-Pasta Zara (2011). This year she was fourth at World Cups ion Philadelphia and Chongming Island, and second at EPZ Omloop van Borsele WE.
Bigla’s Lepistö and Schweizer win national time trial titles
Bigla riders Lotta Lepistö and Doris Schweizer won national titles for their respective countries this week. Lepistö defended her time trial title at the Finnish Road Championships and Schweizer won the time trial title at the Swiss Road Championships.
"The course really suited me," Schweizer said of the 37.9km course in Lausanne. "It was up and down and windy. The plan was to start fast so I could see the girl in front of me. After 10km I saw her and passed her. I was just suffering. I was the favourite coming into the race but I was nervous because the last few years I haven’t been good here. I’ve made some mistakes in the past and today I was focused and I think I did a good race. The team is Swiss so we really wanted to win and I’ve been second the last two years so I really wanted to win today."
Lepistö won the Finnish time trial title for the second year in a row, covering the 27km course in 38:40 mintues.
“I was a little nervous because it was my first long time trial this year,” she said. “It was 27.4 kilometres. It started to rain in the morning. It just kept pouring. I started a little too fast and took some speed off and kept a good constant pace after that. There were about 25 girls on the start line. The course was flat on and out and back route. I didn’t have that much self-confidence because the route was so long and I knew Sari [Saarelainen] was in good shape in the time trial because she just did the time trial in Baku last week. I had a flat in the last kilometre too so I was very relieved to defend my title and cross the line with the fastest time."
Johansson wins Swedish time trial title for fourth year running
Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) won her fourth consecutive time trial title at the Swedish Road Championships. She won the course in Sollerön in a time of 42:25 beating runner-up Sara Mustonen-Lichan (Liv-Plantur) and third placed Hanna Nilsson.
“Technically my race was good and I was able to settle into a good rhythm,” Johansson said in a team press release. “I still feel the racing from the last two weeks in my legs, so maybe I’m not at my freshest. I lacked a little bit of the explosiveness I have normally out of the corners.
“It’s expected that I’m going to win here. Everyone expects me to win, so I can only come here and lose. It’s a lot of pressure, and second today was closer than second last year, but I’m happy about my race – and it’s a little bit of pressure off my back before the road race.”
She will compete for her fifth national road title on Sunday. “The road race is going to be the hardest race I do all year,” Johansson said. “Sara Mustonen has a ten-rider team. They will all ride together against me. I always have to take a lot of responsibility, and I’m ready for the challenge.”
D’hoore focussed on Richmond Worlds and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
After a strong first half of the 2015 season, Wiggle-Honda’s Jolien D’hoore plans to turn her attention to World Championships in Richmond, Virginia this September, and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Worlds course has been described as a Belgian-style circuit, and one that perfectly suits D’hoore’s style of racing. The Belgian champion opened the season with wins at the Omloop van het Hageland - Tielt-Winge and Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe, second at the Tour of Flanders, and a stage win at the Energiewacht Tour. She recently won the Diamond Tour and a stage at the Aviva Women’s Tour, where she placed second overall behind Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM)
The Olympics in 2016, however, have been placed as her biggest priority where she is aiming to win the Omnium on the track. She finished fifth at London 2012 and was won the World Cup at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London last year.
"For Rio, I am going 100% for the track and my road season next year will be short to plan for that,” D’hoore said in an interview with the Aviva Women's Tour. "My goal is the Omnium for sure.”
inCycle video: Beryl Burton
inCycle look back at the life of arguably the greatest female cyclist ever, the late Beryl Burton, with the help of her daughter, Denise Burton-Cole, and celebrated British cyclist Emma Pooley.
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