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UCI Road World Championships: 10 riders to watch in the elite women’s road race


With the time trial firmly in the rearview mirror, all attention is on the road racing at this year’s UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia.

On Saturday, the elite women’s race, confusingly within the same race as the U23 event, takes place with a fantastic line-up from Italy, Holland, France and more.

After pre-race favorite Annemiek van Vleuten crashed out at the TTT, the Dutch team headed into the 164.3 km race, albeit clearly in trouble. Defending his champion Italy has his two cards of Elisa Salongo his Borghini and last year’s winner Elisa Balsamo. The home crowd hopes Grace Brown and her teammates will rise to the occasion.

The course has several key points, with the first half climbing Mount Kiera and then six laps around the local Wollongong City Circuit. The route should be balanced between climber and classic specialist, but the weather and tactics should make him one of the best races of the entire season.

Let’s take a look at 10 riders to watch.

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Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands)

Despite her unstable form and broken elbow, Annemiek van Vleuten remains one of the favorites of the women’s elite road race. There are clear doubts as to whether she will come after her TTT crash, but regardless of her course profile or her condition, the veteran Dutch rider cannot be ignored. . Over the past five years, Van Vleuten has made it to the top 10 four times, earning her a win and her second place. Palm tree, a disappointing 7th place in the individual time trial, but an incredible 100km solo break in the road race after missing out on gold in the women’s TT in Yorkshire three years ago. , it is worth remembering that won the gold medal. A Giro, Tour and Vuelta winner, not to mention winning or finishing in the top 10 in nearly every major one-day race of hers this season.

Grace Brown (Australia)

A home favorite and clearly in stellar form after winning the silver medal in the individual time trial, Brown leads the line for the impressive looking Australian team. Her results so far in the elite women’s race haven’t been anything to write home about, but her two attempts in 2018 and her 2020 show her experience at age 30 and her role in the country. It is worth considering in relation to team at the time. This time around, Brown has had a really consistent season with impressive wins and encouraging performances. Aggressive racing certainly suits her skill set and she will be able to win big in one day.

Juliette Laboote (France)

It was another season of progress for the 23-year-old French rider as Labous won the Giro d’Italia stage, the Vuelta a Burgos, and finished fourth at the Tour de France Femmes. With the exception of Audrey Cordon Lago, the French rider with a strong French team around her saw the climb of Mount Keira and two short climbs on the final lap marked for dropping the faster finishers. is attached. Labous isn’t a top contender in the women’s race, but she flies well and unobtrusively. Don’t forget Évita Music. She’s had a remarkable season and has the qualities to shine on Saturday.

Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

A standout favorite has to be Elisa Longo Borghini for Annemiek van Vleuten and the ornithologists joined by the Dutch to explain why the local birds hate them so much. The Italian has five top 10s and two of her second place finishes in elite road races, but more importantly she has a stage win and second overall at the recent Vuelta. I am flying now. Her racing in Spain Her profile hasn’t been ideal for her, but the 30-year-old is always finding ways to turn her profile into an opportunity on an unfriendly course. She is arguably one of the most tactically sharp riders in the peloton and has one of the strongest teams around her in the race. Italy actually have some potential cards, but with Balsamo waiting to sprint, it is Longo Borghini who has the chance to grab the race and make it his own. Two wins for Italy? no problem.

Demi Volelling (Netherlands)

Much depends on Annemiek van Vleuten’s health and whether he can go far with a broken elbow. If she gets upset or doesn’t start, her whole race complexion will change and the Dutch team will lose the leader to her one. That will likely change the team’s approach, but it doesn’t take away the option of both Vollering and Marianne Voss being able to wrestle the rainbow jersey back from Italy.Vollering has been winning races since May. No, but she’s consistently finished second all summer, including a runner-up finish to van Vleuten at the Tour de France femme. Vollering’s early season form was out of this world. If she manages to peak again in Australia, she could be out of her hands.

Marianne Voss (Netherlands)

In 14 starts, Vos has only missed the top 10 twice, has three wins and six runner-up finishes. It’s a staggering record, and few would disagree with her adding Rainbow to her jersey tally this weekend. The Van Vleuten-teetering Dutchman needs a strong character to step up, and Vos has all the credentials and skills to get her job done. Last year she was second, but her form this season has been excellent. She didn’t mess up the time trial, so the weekend should be incredibly fresh. Vos can win out of many of her scenarios as well. This has been a key factor in her Worlds success due to her balanced course and essential sprinting and climbing ability.

Cecilie Utrup Ludwig (Denmark)

The Danish rider created one of the season’s most memorable and popular moments at the Tour de France Femme, taking a stage win at Epernay and heading into the World Championship as one of the key riders to watch. The big question is whether her course will be hard enough for her to make a difference. Because if she arrives at the finish with a small group of riders, her chances are greatly reduced. She was top 10 in her last two editions of the race and was arguably the tougher. Journey However, the Danish arrives at the race in great form winning the Tour of Scandinavia and finishing fifth at the Vuelta. The Danish also doesn’t have to control the race because he only has a four-seater team, but he also doesn’t make mistakes. Uttrup Ludwig has a chance, but it will be tough. What is certain is that she will be the most popular winner outside of her win in Australia.

Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)

Race director Scott Sunderland said vero news The qualifications of Tour of Flanders winner Lotte Kopecky cannot be ignored, as classics specialists are best suited to the Wollongong course. Strade he is no doubt the spring rider with another win at Bianche and his second place at Paris-Roubaix. She has the full backing of the Belgian team and her punchy climb on the circuit suits her well. She can match pure climbers on those climbs and overtake them on shortened sprints. Time could be seen enlivening the race and attracting climbers who could later be beaten.

Elisa Balsamo (Italy)

There is no such thing as the curse of Elisa Balsamo's rainbow jersey
There is no such thing as the curse of Elisa Balsamo’s rainbow jersey (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

The defending champions arrived in Australia perfectly positioned in terms of expectations and pressure after a surprise win 12 months ago. With Longo Borghini leading the line and the hope that the race won’t end in a bunch of sprints, Balsamo can sit back and develop the race and potentially come to her. Like her in Leuven 2021. Her form is excellent, she is a better climber than many would admit, and Longo is her two attacks perfect to work with Borghini. She doesn’t have the wow factor she had 12 months ago, but she’s become an all-around athlete this time around.

Kristen Faulkner (USA)

A relatively late entrant to the sport, Faulkner surprisingly easily settled into life at BikeExchange-Jayco and became an attacking mainstay for the Australian team. is an outsider in women’s road racing, but with Coryn Labecki treating an injury at home, the US team will have to go all-in on the 29-year-old. She won two stages of the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, so competing at the top and beating the best riders in the world is clearly a level she can reach. Unlike, Faulkner doesn’t put a lot of pressure on his shoulders.


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