What's Cool In Road Cycling

Race Preview: August 22 – 30

After last weekend’s Vårgårda races in Sweden, the women’s WorldTour continues in France this Saturday with the penultimate WT race of the season, the GP de Plouay-Bretagne. Held in Brittany, the race features a rolling circuit that often wears down the legs over the course of the race, providing a worthy winner on the long finishing straight into Plouay.

Leah Kirchmann (CAN) leads the Team Liv-Plantur line-up at the race, with a strong support team to keep her third place overall and get her into the final ready to fight for the win.

“Plouay is always a hard course here, and every year you see a selection of top riders racing for the win,” explained Coach Hans Timmermans (NED). “With Leah we have a rider who can be there in the mix and a podium is a realistic target for us. Besides Leah we have a strong team in support on such a hard course.”

GP de Plouay-Bretagne (WWT)



Hans Timmermans (NED)

Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Riejanne Markus (NED)
Rozanne Slik (NED)
Kyara Stijns (NED)
Carlee Taylor (AUS)
Molly Weaver (GBR).

A day after the women race around the hilly circuit of Plouay, the men head out to fight over the roads of south Brittany. There’s a change to the usually route, but the race will still be based on a tough circuit that leans towards a fight between the puncheurs and the sprinters that manage to survive the large amount of climbing to be done over the race. Team Giant-Alpecin will be looking to leave its mark on the WorldTour race.

After a win on the final stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, followed by a close second place at the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg, John Degenkolb (GER) comes to France looking for another result. He will be aiming to improve on his best result of 10th here, from back in 2013, the team’s first and only top 10 finish at this race.

Degenkolb will be joined by a strong line-up capable of both challenging for the late breakaways on the tough climbs that the circuit repeatedly tackles, as well as delivering him to the finish in a position to sprint for the victory.

Coach Adriaan Helmantel (NED) said ahead of the race: “There’s a different course to usual which will for sure have an influence on the race. If you ride the same course you know how to react and what should happen, so now it will be a more open race, but I expect that like other years that it will be close between a small bunch sprint or a breakaway just staying away.

“In the team we have John who showed in Hamburg that he’s getting better and better. The course suits him here so we will aim for a good result with him, while the others will support him as much as possible and will try to be sharp with the dangerous breaks, making sure that we are there.”

Bretagne-Classic – Ouest France (WT)



Adriaan Helmantel (NED)

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Roy Curvers (NED)
Bert De Backer (BEL)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Max Walscheid (GER).

The six-day Boels Rental Ladies Tour, previously Holland Ladies Tour, gets underway next Tuesday for six fast, predominantly flat stages in the Netherlands, with a sting in the tail at the end of the week.

The opening stage takes the riders 103.1km on a circuit that starts and finishes in Tiel, after covering two loops of a large circuit. The preceding stage will be a team effort over 26.4km, with this time trial, longer than the previous individual efforts over the last few seasons, potentially shaping the GC for the days to come.

The race comes to a close with the toughest stage, a rolling 119.4km route from Bunde to Valkenburg, a stage that last season saw the GC decided on the final day.

“The race covers six stages with two hilly days, three opportunities for a sprint and a team time trial,” coach Dirk Reuling (NED) explained when looking towards the race. “The goal for us is firstly to go for a stage result with Leah and after the TTT we will decide whether the GC is still a realistic goal to go for.

“The TTT is only on the second day so we will know pretty early what our strategy will be focused on. The third stage has a start and finish right in front of the team house in Sittard, so that will be quite special.”

Boels Rental Ladies Tour (2.1)



Dirk Reuling (NED)

Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Riejanne Markus (NED)
Sara Mustonen (SWE)
Rozanne Slik (NED)
Julia Soek (NED)
Kyara Stijns (NED).


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