This weekend New Zealand’s men and women will be thrown headfirst into a huge stretch of racing. While the Kiwi quartet of Bauer, Bevin, Scully and Smith are tackling the Tour de France, Kiwi women will be taking on the Tour de Feminin – O cenu Českého Švýcarska and the biggest stage race in women’s cycling; the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile.
Multiple motives for riders at Czech Republic
For a whole host of New Zealanders the Tour de Feminin – O cenu Českého Švýcarska in the Czech Republic will represent a whole range of opportunities. There will be chances to join together competitively with track teammates in preparation for the new track cycling season, group together following a bumpy ride of a season in Europe, or return to the road following track success in America.
Eight riders will be taking on the five-day stage race across three different teams out of the 26 teams that will be present for the race. Bronwyn MacGregor and Amanda Jamieson will be part of the Maaslandster Veris CCN International Women’s Cycling Team of seven. Jamieson comes to the race in good form, the former U23 national road race champion embarked on a long-range break at the Souvenir Marcel Gilles and despite eventually being caught still managed to finish fourth.
New Zealand will be sending their national endurance track team to the Czech Republic for the race, with Elyse Fraser joining Kirstie James, Racquel Sheath, Michaela Drummond and Bryony Botha on the roster. Rushlee Buchanan will also be racing, but in the colours of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. Buchanan was on electric form on the track recently, enjoying victory at the UCI Festival of Speed omnium.
The Tour de Feminin – O cenu Českého Švýcarska begins tonight from Krásná Lípa with the longest stage of the race at 119.4km. Day 3 will take place in two-parts with the individual time trial over 14.6km from Varnsdorf to Krásná Lípa followed by the 71.3km race around the Rumburk area; before the final stage on the fourth day of racing back in Varnsdorf.
Williams sports fern at Giro Rosa
Elsewhere in Italy, Georgia Williams is about to get underway in the biggest race on the women’s calendar. The Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – or Giro Rosa – will start tomorrow evening with a 15.5km team time trial. Williams will be lining up for her fourth Giro Rosa, and this year she and her Mitchelton-Scott team will be looking to send Annemiek van Vleuten to the top step of the GC podium. The Dutch rider finished third last year, 1.39mins behind Anna van der Breggen.
Williams comes to the Giro Rosa on the back of a big race at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, where the team came away with a stage win courtesy of Sarah Roy. Williams will line up with the national champion’s jersey on her shoulders in both road race and time trial, having done the double in Napier in January. Since then Williams has taken seven top ten finishes in races throughout the season including silver in the road race at the Commonwealth Games, and fourth place at the WWT Emakumeen XXXI. Bira.