The Women’s WorldTour heads to Spain for the two-day Madrid Challenge by la Vuelta on September 14 and 15 in Madrid. The race is held in conjunction with the finish of the men’s Vuelta España and includes an individual time trial and a circuit race.
The women will compete in a new individual time trial, which replaces the previous year's team time trial won by Team Sunweb. This year’s version of the race against the clock is 9.3km that starts and finishes in Boadilla del Monte.
The circuit is on the technical side, with roughly eight corners and roundabouts, but it is mainly flat and will suit the most powerful time triallists.
The second and final stage is once again a 100km circuit race in downtown Madrid. The 5.8km T-shaped circuit starts at the Paseo del Prado/Plaza de Cibeles and travels along the Calle Alcala, Grand Via, through Plaza Callao se Sigue, and back onto the Calle Alcala for the final straightaway toward the Paseo del Prado.
The women will race 16 laps with a sprint on every other lap: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14. Last year, Giorgia Bronzini won the circuit race before closing-out a nearly two-decade career in pro cycling.
Ellen van Dijk won the overall classification at the 2018 Madrid Challenge after her former team, Sunweb, won the team time trial and she was sixth in the circuit race.
The Dutch time trial specialist, who now races for Trek-Segafredo, will not be able to defend her title after she broke her arm and pelvis in a crash at the Boels Ladies Tour.
Riders to watch
Trek-Segafredo will be on the start line, as will the top teams in the world including Boels Dolmans, Sunweb, WNT-Rotor, Mitchelton-Scott, Valcar-Cylance, Movistar and Ale Cipollini.
The remaining teams include FDJ, Cogeas Mettler Look, Massi-Tactic, Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport, Hitec Products, Sopela, BePink, BTC City Ljubljana, Bizaia-Durango and Eneicu Cycling.
Some of the fastest time triallists will be on the start line in what will be a final tune-up ahead of the UCI Road World Championships held in Yorkshire at the end of the month.
Former world champion in the discipline Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor) will be looking to see how she stacks up against the other time triallists. Sunweb’s Lucinda Brand is also a favourite to watch for the time trial win.
Trek-Segafredo bring Ruth Winder, who won the prologue at the Lotto Belgium Tour this earlier this week, and will look to continue her late-season success. Cogeas Mettler bring Olympic medallist Olga Zabelinskaya.
The circuit race will once again cater to the sprinters in the field. Look for Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) to secure the victory.
She will face former two-time winner Jolien D’hoore (Boels Dolmans), Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini), Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Cylance) and Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo) in what promises to be an captivating finale to the two-day event.
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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