WorldTour jersey up for the taking at Ronde van Drenthe
Elisa Longo Borghini is in Valencia, while Kasia Niewiadoma and Lizzie Deignan are not racing this weekend, leaving fourth place Lucinda Brand the best of the finishers from Strade Bianche. Brand is just 50 points off Longo Borghini in the overall standings and a podium finish in Drenthe would be more than enough to take the lead.
Three-time Drenthe winner, Marianne Vos is also within striking distance of the top spot, although her team manager Eric van den Boom says she’s not firing on all cylinders just yet as she gets her road season underway. Her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten, who finished fifth last Saturday, could also take control of the competition with a top-three finish.
Women's WorldTour standings
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Points|
|1||Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5||120||pts|
|2||Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Pro Cycling||100|
|3||Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||85|
|4||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb Women||70|
|5||Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Orica Scott Women||60|
|6||Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||50|
|7||Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica Scott Women||40|
|8||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica Scott Women||35|
|9||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team||30|
|10||Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon SRAM Racing||25|
|11||Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Wiggle High5||20|
|12||Sofia Beggin (Ita) Astana Women's Team||18|
|13||Janneke Ensing (Ned) AlŽ Cipollini||16|
|14||Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana||14|
|15||Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||12|
|16||Dani King (GBr) Cylance Pro Cycling||10|
|17||Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling||8|
|18||Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team||6|
|19||Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank||4|
|20||Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women||2|
Can you name these female cyclists?
It is international women’s day and in honour of the inauguration of the Women’s WorldTour in 2016 we compiled some of the biggest names from the women’s peloton throughout the years.
Can you guess who each of them are by their picture? Click here to take our superstars quiz.
Inaugural Semana Ciclista Valenciana gets underway with team time trial
After plenty of one-day races, the Semana Ciclista Valenciana is the first stage race for much of the women’s peloton this season. Strade Bianche winner Elisa Longo Borghini wears the number one on her back at the four-day race and has a strong team with her including double former world champion Giorgia Bronzini.
The inaugural edition gets underway on Wednesday with a 6.6km team time trial. The short route will take the riders out and back to Vila Real, on a pan-flat course on the Spanish coastline. Two lumpy stages follow from Gania and Alicante, before the race finishes om March 11, in Valencia.
The Russian squad will begin proceedings at 3pm local time in Vila Real, with three minutes separating each team before Wiggle-High5 roll off last at 16:15. Look below for the full start times for the Semana Ciclista Valenciana team time trial.
|8||Hyundai Koryo Car||15:21:00|
|9||Maaslandster Veris CCN||15:24:00|
|14||Team WNT Pro Cycling||15:39:00|
|15||Top Girls Fassa Bortolo||15:42:00|
|21||Astana Women's Team||16:00:00|
Klemencic’s appeal against ban fails
Blaza Klemencic’s appeal against a two-year ban for the use of EPO has been overturned, the UCI has confirmed. Klemencic’s case has been long and drawn out after she was subjected to retrospective testing. Her sample was retested along with Damiano Caruso and Alexey Shmidt, who both also tested positive for EPO.
Her sample dates back to March 27, 2012, but it was not confirmed as positive until three years later in September 2015. In May of last year, the UCI confirmed that Klemencic had been handed a two-year suspension by the UCI Anti-Doping tribunal.
Klemecic competed at both the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London in the mountain biking event. The Slovenian was also a medallist at the 2004 and 2005 MTB World Championships.
Alè-Cipollini name squad for Semana Ciclista Valenciana
Australian Chloe Hosking opened the team's 2017 account in Australia, and came close to claiming Alè-Cipollini's first European win at Omloop van het Hageland. However, with the team also set to start the Women's WorldTour Ronde Van Drenthe, Hosking will be racing in the Netherlands this week.
The newly created Spanish race features four stages, including a team time trial to kick things off. With a balanced squad for both sprint and climbing, sports director Fabiana Luperini is expecting a strong showing.
"A stage victory is our main goal, but we can work as well for the General Classification with Taylor and Santesteban, our talented climbers," Luperini said.
The predominately Italian team will also feature Spaniard Ane Santesteban Gonzalez, Australian Carlee Taylor and Belgian Anisha Vekemans.
Alè-Cipollini for Semana Ciclista Valenciana: Marta Bastianelli, Martina Alzini, Martina Stefani, Anisha Vekemans, Ane Santesteban Gonzalez and Carlee Taylor.