Off to China, California and Spain: the women’s peloton is travelling the world in May

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There are only two Women’s WorldTour events in May, but they’re long and on either sides of the world. May racing starts off with the Tour of Chongming Island in China, followed by the UCI2.2 Tour of Zhoushan Island in the same country.

The peloton then will have to decide for the Amgen women’s Tour of California, the second Women’s WorldTour event this month, or the much loved Spanish races Durango-Durango and Emakumeen Bira. With the discontinuation of the Philadelphia Cycling Classic, the Winstom Salem Classic is the only other US based race this month that might see world class riders take to start. 

Here’s an overview of the top women’s races this month. The Women’s WorldTour standings will be updated after every Women’s WorldTour race, as will the race information, as startlists and TV coverage information become available so make sure you come back here before every race! 

Women’s WorldTour standings going into June

General classification
1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) – 544
2. Coryn Rivera (Team Sunbweb) – 528
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) – 469
4. Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) – 429
5. Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) – 393

Young rider classification
1. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla) – 28
2. Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal) – 10
3. Alice Barnes (Drops Cycling) – 10

Team classification
1. Boels-Dolmans – 1458
2. Team Sunweb – 850
3. Wiggle-High5 – 845

Tour of Chongming Island

Friday, May 5 – Sunday, May 7 – Women’s WorldTour – China

Riders sprinting to the line in the 2014 Tour of Chongming Island.

The Tour of Chongming Island is a true sprinter’s ball, with previous overall winners including Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini), Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling), and stage winners Nettie Edmondson (Wiggle-High5), Giorgia Bronzini and Lucy Garner (both Wiggle-High5).

Unfortunately, due to the the travel and difficult visa requirement to enter the country, a lot of teams tend to opt out of making the trek to China, which means a less international roster but also some surprise winners. The start list shows thirteen UCI-teams, including WM3 Pro Cycling, Wiggle-High5 and Orica-Scott, two Chinese teams, Minsk Cycling team and the national teams of Russia and Malaysia.

Official start list.

Update

With Jolien D’Hoore left battered after a crash in the third round of stage one, it was Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling) who took the win in the sprint finish. However, with the bonus seconds she took at the intermediate sprints, it was Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini) who got to put on the leader’s jersey after the first stage.

In the second stage, lots of work was done to prevent anyone dangerous from getting away off the front. The sprint teams had everything under control, and D’Hoore showed to be back on top as she won the second stage with ease. She took over the leader’s jersey from her former teammate Hosking. 

The third stage did see a break get away early in the stage, while WM3 Pro Cycling tried their best in the final part of the stage to prevent a bunch sprint from happening. With late attacker Valentina Scandolara reeled in at the flamme rouge and another bunch sprint finish, it was another victory for D’Hoore, who secured the overall win

Ella CyclingTips caught up with Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini) after the Tour of Chongming Island, where she talked nerves, sprint trains and her new team.

Watch: China Central Television (CCTV) provided some live streams of the races, but if you missed that, catch up on the action in stages one, two and three in the UCI highlights videos.
Twitter: there is no Twitter account or official race hashtag, so you’ll need to use #UCIWWT for live updates.

Amgen women’s Tour of California empowered with SRAM

Thursday, May 11 – Sunday, May 14 – Women’s WorldTour – The United States

In good company. Sara Poidevin (left) with the other jersey winners after stage one of the 2017 Amgen Breakaway From Heart Disease Women’s Tour of California.

The Amgen women’s Tour of California was the first race in Megan Guarnier’s (Boels-Dolmans) campaign to eventually win the overall Women’s WorldTour in 2016. She took the leader’s jersey after winning the first stage and never gave it away. Although she is still working towards peak shape after a crash in Omloop het Hageland-Tielt-Winge took her out for a couple of weeks, she’ll return to California this year to try and repeat her win.

Boels-Dolmans is one of 17 teams entering this race. Among them, there will be eight American-registered UCI teams line-up as well as the US national team. The eight Women’s WorldTour teams include the aforementioned Boels-Dolmans along with squads from Team Sunweb, Canyon-SRAM and Wiggle-High5, which will make for a fiercely contested event.

However, with the Philadelphia Cycling Classic no longer on the calendar, some teams also have opted not to travel to the US. While Marianne Vos took her first Women’s WorldTour-victory there in 2016, her WM3 Pro Cycling team will not be attending the event due to financial considerations. We’re also missing Cervélo-Bigla and Orica-Scott.

The race covers four stages, which are made up of three road races and a criterium on Sunday.

Start list.

Update

Read about cyclocrosser Katerina Nash’ experience in the American Women’s WorldTour race.

Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) repeated her stage 1 win in the women’s Tour of California and took the leader’s jersey, with teammate Anna van der Breggen in second place. A different American rider won the second stage, United Healthcare’s Katie Hall. At the summit finish line, she had enough seconds to take over the leader’s jersey from Guarnier.

In the flat stage 3, Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) took the win in her home race that she was after to finish off her successful spring campaign on a high note. Hall was still leading after stage three, but with Van der Breggen at only one second. In the final stage, Van der Breggen turned this into a one second advantage on Hall, not only winning the Amgen Women’s Tour of California, but also being the new Women’s WorldTour leader. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) sprinted to the win in stage 4.

Watch: There is no live coverage of the women’s race for the first three stages, but the Tour of California app does provide live information, clips, photos and current race situational information. NBC Sports Group will air the Sacramento conclusion in stage four. Additionally, the UCI will provide highlights videos of all stages.
Website: amgentourofcalifornia.com
Twitter: @AmgenTOC, #AMGENTOCWOMEN
Who to keep an eye on: Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), Coryn Rivera (Team

Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria

Tuesday, May 16 – UCI1.2 – Spain

This one-day race that precedes the Spanish stage race Emakumeen Bira might only be a UCI1.2 race, but it usually attracts an all-star international cast. It has therefore had top level athletes on the top step of their podium, like Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High5), Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) and Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling).

This year it might be slightly different as teams have to choose between the Californian Women’s WorldTour race or both Spanish races. As we are yet waiting for a team start list it’s hard to tell at the moment. We will update as soon as we know more.

Update

Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) didn’t shy away from working at the front of the peloton to get the early break back. Only a small peloton was left when the leaders were reeled back in on one of the numerous climbs on the course. Some shortlived attacks followed, but nothing stuck.

Katrin Garfoot, Van Vleuten (Orica-Scott), Shara Gillow (FDJ-Futuroscope-NA) and Eider Merino (Lointek) escaped the very thinned out peloton. Van Vleuten attacked and kept her lead until the line, celebrating solo, while Gillow won the sprint for second place ahead of Merino.

Website: duranguesa.com

Emakumeen Bira

Wednesday, May 17 – Sunday, May 21 – UCI2.1 – Spain

The Emakumeen Bira threatened to disappear from the women’s cycling calendar as race organisers were upset with the UCI. Not allowed to enter the Women’s WorldTour in 2017, the race also clashed with the newly revived women’s Amstel Gold Race on their original race date in April. Eventually a new date in May secured the continuation of both Durango-Durango and the Emakumeen Bira, races which have been on the women’s calendar since 1988 and are therefore cherished by the women’s peloton.

A team start list has been published, on which WM3 Pro Cycling is the biggest team missing (as it’s also not entering the women’s Tour of California). Cervélo-Bigla, Orica-Scott and Alé Cipollini are the only top ten UCI teams travelling to Spain.

In the 2017 edition, the prologue of the last two years is gone and replaced by a 50-kilometer stage from and to Iurreta. We are used to shorter stages in Emakumeen Bira, but this year all are under a 100 kilometers, even only 77.6 kilometers in the third stage and 58 in the fourth.

Start list.

Watch: Euskal Irrati Telebista provides highlights like it did last year, with the final stage even shown live.
Website: emakumeenbira.com
Twitter: @EEmakumeenBira, #Bira
Who to keep an eye on: Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott), Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla), Shara Gillow (FDJ-Futuroscope-NA) and Ane Santesteban (Alé Cipollini).

Winston Salem Classic

Monday, May 29  – UCI1.1 – The United States

The Winston Salem Classic covers an 8.5 mile circuit in the city centre. Not closing down the entire city, but creating ‘rolling enclosures’, the organisation proudly announced that the longest time an intersection has been closed in 2016 was a mere four minutes.

Although she’s still riding for the American team Cylance Pro Cycling, last year’s winner Rosella Ratto will not defend her win in this race, which has this year been upgraded from UCI1.2 to UCI1.1 status, as her team doesn’t take to the start.

Sixteen teams have entered the Winston Salem Classic with BTC City Ljubljana and RoxSalt Attaquer New Zealand listed as the only non-American trade teams on the start list. Most top US teams will be present in Winston Salem, along with the Canadian and Colombian national teams and club teams Ortho Carolina, Pure Energy Fearless Femme and Stan’s No Tubes.

Website: winstonsalemcycling.com
Twitter: @WSCycling
Who to keep an eye on: (updated as a full start list become available)

Other interesting women’s cycling events this month

7 May: Trofee Maarten Wynants, Belgium UCI1.1
10-12 May: Tour of Zhoushan Island, China, UCI2.2
13 May: 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg, The Netherlands, UCI1.2
14 May: Dwars door de Westhoek, Belgium, UCI1.1
19 May: Chrono de Gatineau, Canada, UCI1.1
20 May: Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau, UCI1.1
20 May: Salverda Omloop van de IJsseldelta, The Netherlands, UCI1.2
21 May: SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn, Switzerland, UCI1.2
26 May: La Classique Morbihan, France, UCI1.1
27 May: Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan, France, UCI1.1
27 May: Horizon Park Women, Ukraine, UCI1.2
28 May: VR ITT, Ukraine, UCI1.2
28 May: Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, Belgium, UCI1.1 – livestream available

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Which race are you most looking forward to in May?

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