Grand Prix de Plouay – Bretagne: who will be crowned UCI Women Road World Cup winner?
The ultimate round of the 2015 UCI Women Road World Cup will take place this Saturday 29th of August in Plouay, Brittany. The Grand Prix de Plouay - Bretagne is part of a 4-day festival of cycling in the French town. The people of Brittany love their cycling and they know how to celebrate it - many giants of the sport such as Bernard Hinault hail from the region.
The overall classification will change again this Saturday as current leader of the UCI Women Road World Cup Jolien D’Hoore (BEL) has confirmed she will not take the start to focus on the UCI Road World Championships in three weeks’ time. This means that everything is still at play in round 10.
Ranked second on the leader board, Anna van der Breggen (NED, Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) is best placed with 385 points ahead of Lizzie Armitstead (GBR, Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) and her 364 points and Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA, Wiggle Honda) 320. Whichever order the threesome finishes in this Saturday’s race may very well decide the winner of this year’s overall UCI Women Road World Cup. But as we witnessed last week in Vårgårda, anything can happen...
Talented Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma (POL) leads the young rider classification.
A nice rollercoaster ride to celebrate the end of the season
The 121 kilometre circuit will take the bunch on a real roller coaster journey in the undulated backdrop of Brittany. This course is well known for its high rate of attrition. The first climb starts almost immediately as the race goes over the Côte du Lézot, a 1 kilometre climb with an average gradient of 6%. The next ascent takes us up over a gentle 6 kilometre climb up to the Chapelle Sainte-Anne des Bois marking the half way point of the loop. After a flat section, the race will go over the Côte de Ty Marrec, which has a maximum gradient of 10%. The riders will have to tackle this 26.9 kilometre loop 4 times, before entering a last shortened 13.9 kilometre version of the loop, taking the riders over the Côte du Lézot and the Côte de Ty Marrec. With a slight downhill run to the finish, the best sprinter of the climbers should be in for a win.
Who’s in it to win it?
In 2014, the Rabo Liv Women Cycling team made all three steps of the podium. This year, UCI World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (FRA) and Lucinda Brand (NED) return to lend Anna van der Breggen a hand in her attempt to top the overall leader board. Katarzyna Niewiadoma will also be looking at keeping her young rider jersey. The team knows how to make a race hard, and they could make this weekend even more challenging for everyone.
With the absence of Jolien D’hoore, it’s Elisa Longo Borghini, fourth overall who is likely to take the lead. She has a real chance of winning this round and the overall UCI Women Road World Cup. She will be helped by local French woman Audrey Cordon-Ragot, racing at home among others. As we have seen so far this year, Wiggle Honda can win just about anything, so expect some real exciting moves from these ladies.
Lizzie Armitstead may have had some bad luck last weekend in Vårgårda, but if there is one team that can turn things around, it’s the Boels Dolmans Cycling Team. We will certainly see them pacing the race again, making everyone work hard over the steep climbs of Brittany, shaking things up which they’re renowned for. Be prepared for some explosive racing!
One last push for one last SufferPrize
Who will be the last SufferPrize winner of the UCI Women Road World Cup? Who will go the extra mile for her team mates? Who will grit her teeth the hardest? The Sufferfest will one last time, reward the toughest woman on the day.
The Grand Prix de Plouay will be broadcast live on tv.uci.ch from 13:30 local time.