Your Friday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

March 3, 2017

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: What is the Hammer Series? Digging deeper into the races that could change cycling; Preview: Women’s WorldTour kicks off on the gravel roads of the Strade Bianche this weekend; Fourth stage of the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo cancelled; British Cycling to rethink relationship with Team Sky; Wiggins refuses to talk to media over UKAD investigation; Belgian race organisers focus on preventing sidewalk riding; Stybar ready for Strade Bianche; Woet Poels will not start Paris-Nice due to knee problem; Final teams announced for Amstel Gold Race; Sporza fails to secure rights for Italian races; Colorado Classic to add entertainment component for financial stability; Video: Final kilometres of Le Samyn; The Peak District Journey.

Preview: Women’s WorldTour kicks off on the gravel roads of the Strade Bianche this weekend

by Jeanine Laudy

The iconic white gravel roads of the Strade Bianche will once again host the kick-off event of the UCI Women’s WorldTour this weekend. Now in its second year, the Women’s WorldTour promises to build on its inaugural success with more racing and exposure as women will take on classic men’s events such as the Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The season-long series starts off this Saturday in Italy, where riders will be battling rough roads and fierce competition for the first win and leader’s jersey of the season. And if last weekend’s European opener, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, is anything to go by, we are in for a treat! Here is an excerpt:

This being the kick-off event of the 2017 Women’s WorldTour, racers will be vying for not just a win, but also series points and, of course, series leader’s jerseys. Two jerseys will be awarded in Siena: the white Women’s WorldTour leader’s jersey for the race winner, and a marine blue jersey for the best U23 rider. The top 20 ranked UCI teams receive an automatic invite to all one-day Women’s WorldTour races, but not all teams will be in attendance. Most notably, the Belgian teams Lotto-Soudal and Lares-Waowdeals – with former former world cyclocross champion Thalita de Jong at the hem – have decided to sit out the 2017 Women’s WorldTour opener.

“This race wasn’t on Thalita’s program because of her ‘cross campaign. Now that she crashed in the World Cup race in Hoogerheide and missed the end of the cyclocross season, she’ll debut for the team in a stage race in Valencia,” commented Marc Bracke, DS of Lares-Waowdeals. “Because of the cost involved in getting the team to Strade Bianche, we decided to skip this race and do a double program in Valencia and the Women’s WorldTour race in Drenthe instead.”

Lotto-Soudal DS Liesbet de Vocht said her team decided to decline the invitation as a lot of their riders are currently active on the track, and their main climber Jessie Daams is still coming back from injury. All other top WorldTour teams are set to attend the event (noting that actual ‘Women’s WorldTour teams’ have yet to be introduced), and will be joined by several Italian UCI teams.

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