The late-summer one-day races on the Women's WorldTour continues at the 2019 Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden that offers two separate but back-to-back events beginning with the team time trial that was held on Saturday, August 17 won by Trek-Segafredo, and a road race on Sunday, August 18. The cycling world will be watching to see if Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) can once again dominate the road race for a second year in a row.
The women will complete 149.7km on a route that has changed compared to last year. This year, the peloton will take on a longer circuit of about 69.3km that includes five gravel road sections; Brunnlid (6.3km) at the 16km mark, Eklanda (3.5km) at the 23km mark, Slatthult (3.7km) at the 32km mark, Kvinnestad (2.7km) at the 55km mark, and Landa (3.1km) at the 63km mark.
Then there are four shorter Hägrunga laps that are 11.4km each, and finally four closing longer laps of 15.3km each in Vargarda.
In last year's edition of 2018 Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden Road Race, Vos (then WaowDeals) jumped around the Team Sunweb lead-out in the final corner to take the victory. Kirsten Wild (then Wiggle High5) beat Lotta Lepistö (then Cervélo-Bigla) in the sprint for second.
The one-day races in Vargarda will soon see a reformat as Scandinavian race organisers have unveiled a new ten-stage event known as the Battle of the North and will make its debut in 2021. The new stage race is expected to be the combined efforts of the organisers of the PostNord Vårgårda WestSweden and Ladies Tour of Norway, along with the Danish Cycling Federation. The new event is expected to replace the Swedish and Norwegian races.
Riders to watch
Teams will, in most cases, line up with the same rosters they fielded during the team time trial the previous day. CCC-Liv’s Vos will once again be the rider to watch after a series of dominant performances saw her win four stages of the Giro Rosa and La Course last month. She arrive with a supportive team that includes Jeanne Korevaar and Riejanne Markus.
It will be a race that suites the strong sprinters and puncheurs and so Team Virtu Cycling will line-up with Italian champion Marta Bastianelli as their shot at victory in Vargarda. She will have a strong teammate in her younger compatriot Sofia Bertizzolo.
Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini) is expected to make a return to the start line after a crash during RideLondon Classique left her with a concussion and forced to miss the recent Women’s Tour of Scotland.
Perhaps one of the most talked-about sprinters in the field is Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg), who has had much success on the Women's WorldTour. She won all stages and the overall title at the Tour of Chongming Island, and she was bumped up from second to first at the RideLondon Classique, after Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) was relegated for deviating from her line in the final sprint.
WNT-Rotor will be on the start line with a team of five riders that includes Lisa Brennauer. The team did not participate in the team time trial after the riders crashed while previewing the course on Friday. The riders were not seriously injured, according to the team, but their equipment was damaged and unusable.
Lizzie Deignan will be back in action for Trek-Segafredo and supported by the likes of Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Ellen van Dijk, Elisa Longo Borghini, Ruth Winder and Trixi Worrack. Deignan did not race the team time trial but swapped places on the roster with Tayler Wiles.
Canyon-SRAM have a number of riders who could potentially win the title; Alice and Hannah Barnes, and Alexis Ryan are all capable of winning on the sprinter-puncheur-friendly course.
Other riders to watch: Valcar-Cylance have a sprinter in Elisa Balsamo, Mitchelton-Scott field Grace Brown, BTC City have Eugenia Bujak, Tibco-SVB bring Women’s Tour of Scotland winner Alison Jackson, Movistar field Shiela Gutierrez, FDJ have a contender in Charlotte Becker, and Sunweb have Leah Kirchmann.
There will be two national teams on the start line from Sweden and Norway with promising talent from both countries.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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