The glorified crit through central London that is Ride London Classique (WWT16) faced direct competition from the first ever women’s Donostiako Klasikoa/Clásica San Sebastián. Though the peloton was perhaps spread a little thinly, in TotW’s view it worked pretty well, with sprinters to London, climbers to Spain. All the same, TotW was glad to hear heavy hints of a more sophisticated women’s Ride London race at the end of the BBC coverage. And not before time.
By contrast, the Klasikoa seems to have already got the riders on side: the Basque fans, the advocacy of former rider Leire Olaberria, live tv and a challenging parcours all help. Its two midweek warm-up races, the Clásica Navarra (won by Sarah Roy) and Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa (won by Ashleigh Moolman) also make for a promising week of racing in Spain. Apart from the uncertainty surrounding Bira, Spanish races seem to be in pretty good place.
Two live races (San Seb/Ride London) on one day. Wonders will never cease.
- Lucy Kennedy : How many goes does it take to win a single race? Out in front at San Seb with a decent gap over Janneke Ensing, Kennedy punctured on a descent then suffered a second mechanical. Dropping back to a chasing group, Kennedy’s teammate Georgia Williams set her up to ride away all over again. A better lesson than at the Giro in not knowing when she’s beaten, though she did look back a few times in the final metres just to make sure. Rider of the Week and deservedly so.
- Georgia Willliams: Helped Kennedy get away in the first place, then, once she was forced to drop back, did a heroic job of cutting Ensing’s lead and delivering her teammate to the final climb.
- Lorena Wiebes : Finally got a WWT win against Kirsten Wild, though not in the happiest of circumstances. Sprinting from behind, Wiebes opened up a lead on the Mall but was just pipped by Wild at the line. Wild, however, was DQed for a sharp move left into a too-small gap, inadvertently clipping Chloe Hosking’s front wheel and detonating a mass pile-up. TotW looks forward to a less incident-strewn rematch.
- Janneke Ensing: Out in front at San Sebastián after Kennedy’s mechanical, Ensing couldn’t quite gain enough time to hold off the Australian’s comeback on the final climb, finishing second. Still, her best race since her mid-season transfer to WNT, and probably of the year, in fact.
- Teniel Campbell : Ok, perhaps Kreiz Breizh didn’t have the strongest field, but you can’t argue with winning both stages and the overall. After Marlen Reusser’s podium at the BeNe Ladies Tour, a great couple of weeks for the UCI’s World Cycling Centre team.
- Pauliena Rooijakkers: Obliged to make TotW at least once a season, CCC-Liv’s Rooijakkers got her due reward for long hours on the front and in breaks with third on the podium at San Seb.
Team of the week
Mitchelton-Scott. In the absence of Boels, Canyon-SRAM, Sunweb and Bigla they were the big fish in the Basque country, but Kennedy and Williams rode a brilliant race and had Spratt and Van Vleuten lurking in the peloton if it didn’t quite work out. TotW was a bit mean about them last week and considers itself well and truly told.
Polemica of the week
Not everyone agreed with Wild’s DQ. TotW was mildly amused by on-air disagreement between the BBC’s two pundits: Chris Boardman thought the decision was correct, while Rochelle Gilmore stuck up for her former Wiggle rider Wild. Presenter Clare Balding was left trying to mediate. More at home with horse racing, Balding described the commissaires’ deliberations as a ‘stewards enquiry’, a phrase which the official race account then bizarrely echoed.
Race preview of the week
Check out Dave-L’s splendid Women’s Tour of Scotland piece, full of top-notch route info and magnificent pics. The startlist is still a little sketchy but Bigla, Parkhotel, Valcar, Tibco and Alé Cipollini are all here, and Dave has heard some excellent rumours. :-)
The Bethinhas lead for another week but it’s oh so very tight at the top. GWolcott’s South Shore Cycling are less than 200 points behind in second, WzK is 60-odd points further back in third and Vlaanderen90 another 50 or so behind them in fourth.
Awaiting updates, but good results for Kennedy-owner Jens and Wiebes-owner Seemsez.
Aquatarkus is our Ride London winner, coming top for the second week running. That’s also enough for joint second overall, neck and neck with Vlady. Needless to say, Frans Verbiage is still way out in front.
Next race(s): the Vårgårda TTT (WWT17) on 16 August, and the Vårgårda road race (WWT18) a couple of days later.