Road World Cup Round 7: Sparkassen Giro preview

by Jessi Braverman


The UCI Women Road World Cup heads to Bochum, Germany on Sunday. The former mining town plays host to the seventh round of the 10-race series. Formally a 1.1 race, the Sparkassen Giro gained World Cup status last year. Run over a largely flat but technical 15-kilometre urban circuit, the German World Cup is thought to be a day for the sprinters

(But so was La Course, and we all know how that played out…)

Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) won Sparkassen Giro last year, sprinting to victory from a reduced bunch of around 40 riders. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) called on her quick kick en route to second place and Lotta Lepistö scored her first World Cup podium in third.

Ella CyclingTips spoke with the Sparkassen Giro’s third place finisher for insight as to what we can expect come Sunday. Lepistö shared her thoughts on the course, the atmosphere and the contenders.

THE COURSE

Sparkassen Giro van Bochum 2014

The 124 kilometre race is made up of eight laps of a 15.5 kilometre circuit in and around Bochum, Germany. Those hoping for the lumps, bumps and cobbles that made Thüringen Rundfahrt so exciting will be disappointed. The Sparkassen Giro features only one true hill – a 600-metre kicker that comes around mid-lap. A descent follows the hill, and there is a sharp corner 300 metres before the finish line.

Lotta Lepistö says:

The race is flat compared to most of the World Cups except for China. There’s some technical parts – the uphill followed by the downhill and a few sharp corners. The run to the finish can be really fast, so positioning is important.

The course suits a strong sprinter. The finish can get a little crazy. It’s important to be the first, second or third rider through that last corner.

THE ATMOSPHERE

Sparkassen Giro van Bochum 2014

The nature of a circuit race encourages spectators to spend the day out at the races. What this course makes up for in technical features, it makes up for in repetitiveness. Stand anywhere on the course, and you’ll see the riders pass nearly three times an hour for eight times in total.

Lotta Lepistö says:

The people in Germany are big cycling fans, so I think there will be a lot of spectators again this year. Look at how many people came to Thüringen. When a race starts and finishes in the same place, it’s good for the fans. They can see us start and then have their beer or their lunch and come back to see us for the finish.

THE 2014 Sparkassen Giro

Although the course lends itself to a sprint, that didn’t stop teams from attempting to force a break. By lap two, the aggression had begun, but the race was too fast and the sprint teams too keen to allow anything to stick. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda) and Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) each launched solo moves in the last lap, but neither were allowed a long leash. Johansson was swept up by a reduced bunch four kilometres from the finish as the pace picked up in preparation for the sprint.

Lotta Lepistö says:

I didn’t have much help from the team last year, so I had to sprint really early. I had one teammate bring me up to the front at three kilometres. From there, I was just trying to hold my position. I remember that I was already sprinting at one kilometre to go just to stay on the front.

I took the last corner in second wheel, but Marianne came from the inside. She was in a race of her own. I was already tired by the time we reached the corner, but I tried to give everything I had in my legs. Giorgia Bronzini passed me 50 metres before the finish, but I could hold onto third place for my first World Cup podium.

The 2015 Sparkassen Giro contenders

Sparkassen Giro van Bochum 2014

The usual sprint suspects will likely contend in Bochum on Sunday. That list of names we gave for the La Course contenders is the same we would give here – but we would add Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv). Both courses favour sprinters who can easily cope with irregular accelerations and a technical finish.

Early in the season, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) had said she wasn’t interested in defending her 2014 World Cup overall title, but it seems plans have changed since she pulled on the leader’s jersey following the Philadelphia World Cup. Her Boels-Dolmans team issued a statement on Facebook that says that plan is to defend Armitstead’s World Cup lead.

Boels-Dolmans team manager/director Danny Stam said: “The race will probably end in a bunch sprint. We hope Lizzie Armitstead will be ready to collect as many points as possible in the sprint to hold on to her jersey as World Cup leader. It would great to get her on the podium. That should be possible. I know Christine Majerus did well also in this race in the past – she won in 2013 – but we have to make a clear choice, and that is to defend the leader’s jersey of Lizzie.”

Lotta Lepistö says:

Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle Honda) is one to watch for sure. She won already in Drenthe, but she will want to be on the podium again on Sunday. Wiggle also has Giorgia, who was second last year. I saw in her face how badly she wanted to win, so maybe they are riding for her. That’s the tricky thing with Wiggle Honda. You never know.

Kirsten Wild is missing a World Cup win this year, and I think she will also be on the hunt. This is a World Cup for sprinters, and everyone who can sprint will want the win on Sunday.

Additional Sparkassen Giro resources:

We’ll be live tweeting the race from Bochum at CyclingTipsLive, so give us a follow to follow along.

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