OVO Energy Women’s Tour
Five-day stage race
June 7-11, 2017
Defending champion Lizzie Deignan will start as the favourite for the fourth OVO Energy Women’s Tour, the UK’s top women’s five-stage race and one of the most prestigious events in the 20-round Women’s World Tour (WWT).
All 15 teams from the WWT, plus British teams WNT and Drops, ensure that the UK race will be as hard fought as any this year. Deignan is back, and so too are winners of previous editions Lisa Brennauer and Marianne Vos.
Deignan, nee Armitstead (after marrying Team Sky pro Philip last year), was the recent winner of the Tour de Yorkshire, and after a string of second places in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne and Amstel Gold, will be eager to win in front of her home fans. Backed up by her Boels-Dolmans team, with current WWT leader Anna van der Breggen, it’s a formidable combination.
Vos, the triple women’s world road race champion, may not be the campionissimo of old but she remains a formidable opponent on any terrain. Brennauer is having a solid but unspectacular spring and may not be the force she was in 2015.
Current British champion Hannah Barnes (Canyon-Sram) will be looking for a sprint stage or two to go with her red, white and blue jersey.
The fourth edition is longer and harder than the preceding three. Stage four looks decisive with a 123km loop from Chesterfield, featuring climbs in the Derbyshire Peaks totalling 2,000 metres and an extra 20km compared to a similar stage last year where Deignan sealed the overall win.
For the first time London hosts the Women’s Tour finale using the same circuit as the men’s Tour of Britain (both organised by Sweet Spot). Starting and finishing in Regent Street, the race does six laps of a circuit taking in Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus.
Race highlights will be televised each evening on Eurosport and ITV4, with Sharon Laws joining the ITV expert commentary team.
OVO Energy Women’s Tour 2017
Stage one Wednesday June 7, Daventry to Kettering (147.5km)
Stage two Thursday June 8, Stoke-on-Trent to Stoke-on-Trent (144.5km)
Stage three Friday June 9, Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa (151km)
Stage four Saturday June 10, Chesterfield to Chesterfield (123km)
Stage five Sunday June 11, London Regent Street, St James (88.2km)
Total distance: 654.2km
Teams and leaders 2017
Ale-Cipollini – Janneke Ensing (Ned)
Boels-Dolmans – Lizzie Deignan (GB), Anna van der Breggen (Ned)
WM3-Pro Cycling – Marianne Vos (Ned)
Wiggle-High5 – Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita), Jolien D’Hoore (Bel), Giorgia Bronzini (Ita), Emilia Fahlin (Swe)
Veloconcept Women – Sara Penton (Swe)
Team WNT Pro Cycling – Katie Archibald (GB), Eileen Roe (GB), Lydia Boylan (Ir)
Team Sunweb – Lucinda Brand (Ned), Floortje Mackaij (Ned), Leah Kirchmann (Can)
Orica-Scott – Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned)
Lensworld-Kuota – Tetyana Riabchenko (Ukr)
Lares-Waowdeals – Thalita De Jong (Ned)
Hitec Products – Katrine Aalerud (Nor)
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope – Roxane Knetemann (Ned), Shara Gillow (Aus)
Drops – Alice Barnes (GB), Ann-Sophie Duyck (Bel)
Cylance Pro Cycling – Dani King (GB), Kirsten Wild (Ned)
Cervelo Bigla – Ashleigh Moolman (SA)
Canyon-SRAM – Lisa Brennauer (Ger), Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra)
BePink-Cogeas – Silvia Valsecchi (Ita)
2016 Lizzie Deignan (GB)
2015 Lisa Brennauer (Ger)
2014 Marianne Vos (Ned)
4 – Marianne Vos (Ned)
2 – Christine Majerus (Lux), Lizzie Deignan (GB)
1 – Lisa Brennauer (Ger), Emma Johansson (Swe), Jolien D’Hoore (Bel), Lotta Lepisto (Fin), Hannah Barnes (GB), Amy Pieters (Ned), Rossella Ratto (Ita)
Current WWT Rankings
1) Anna van der Breggan 554pts
2) Coryn Rivera 528pts
3) Annemiek van Vlueten 469pts
4) Katarzyna Niewiadoma 429pts
5) Lizzie Deignan 393pts
When the Wind Blows
Lizzie Armitstead – as she was then – made a dramatic start to the 2015 Women’s Tour. And a dramatic end seconds later…
Celebrating the stage win having crossed the line first on the opening stage to Aldeburgh in Suffolk, Lizzie raised her arms aloft, was seemingly hit by a gust of seaside wind and careered into race photographers and even race director Mick Bennett.
The Yorkshirewoman was typically stoic on the unfortunate incident, however. “The finish was completely barriered off,” she told William Fotheringham of The Guardian. “There were more press there than we are used to at women’s racing but that’s a positive when you look at it. I don’t win bunch gallops very often so it was a new experience, but perhaps I’ll do a shorter celebration next time.”
On Thin Ice
Jeroen Blijlevens, DS of WM3 Pro Cycling, has more than one string to his bow. The former sprinter from the Netherlands was famously disqualified from the 2000 Tour de France for landing several punches on American Bobby Julich after the race had finished on the Champs-Élysées.
Even better, he appeared on the Dutch version of Dancing on Ice a while back, performing his ‘artistic’ interpretation of (what else?) Golden Earring’s Radar Love.
Safe to say, he makes a better team boss than either a boxer or a skater.
What Katie Did
Former call centre worker turned track star Katie Archibald could probably make a living out of writing once her cycling career has ended. Her witty take on tackling the Women’s Tour, managing expectations and hair removal cream from The Herald Scotland.