The Classics showcase the development of the UCI Women’s WorldTour

By PressCPA
Aprile 22, 2024

Excitement in the most challenging environment

It’s wonderful to see different teams making the races and different riders winning”, Italian star Elisa Longo Borghini rejoiced.

“It has been a great few weeks for me.” Cycling fans have clearly shared Elisa Longo Borghini’s enthusiasm during the first part of the 2024 UCI Women’s WorldTour, which has been marked by exciting Classics races.

“It’s been wonderful to see different teams making the races, and different riders winning”, the Italian star added during an interview in Maastricht (the Netherlands), where her team Lidl-Trek was based to wrap up a few weeks filled with some of the most prestigious races on the calendar. “I think the races have been thrilling, for the fans as well.”

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes confirmed Longo Borghini’s enthusiastic views with an exhilarating finale… eventually crowning Grace Brown, who brought the FDJ-Suez team its first Classics victory of the season. In the final sprint, the Australian time trial champion got the better of Longo Borghini (2nd) and Dutch Demi Vollering riding for Team SD Worx-Protime (3rd), who had to settle for a different podium position this week after having achieved a fantastic treble last year in the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes.

WINNERS OF 2024 UCI WOMEN’S WORLDTOUR ONE-DAY RACES HELD TO DATE:

  • Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race (AUS): Rosita Reijnhout (NED – Team Visma|Lease a Bike)
  • Omloop Nieuwsblad (BEL): Marianne Vos (NED – Team Visma|Lease a Bike)
  • Strade Bianche (ITA): Lotte Kopecky (BEL – Team SD Worx-Protime)
  • Miron Ronde van Drenthe (NED): Lorena Wiebes (NED – Team SD Worx-Protime)
  • Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio (ITA): Elisa Balsamo (ITA – Lidl-Trek)
  • Classic Brugge-De Panne (BEL): Elisa Balsamo (ITA – Lidl-Trek)
  • Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (BEL): Lorena Wiebes (NED – Team SD Worx-Protime)
  • Ronde van Vlaanderen-Tour des Flandres (BEL): Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA – Lidl-Trek)
  • Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift (FRA): Lotte Kopecky (BEL – Team SD Worx-Protime)
  • Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition (NED): Marianne Vos (NED – Team Visma|Lease a Bike)
  • La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (BEL): Katarzyna Niewiadoma (POL – Canyon//Sram Racing)
  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes (BEL): Grace Brown (AUS – FDJ-Suez)

EXCITEMENT IN THE MOST CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT

Despite victory having escaped Vollering, Team SD Worx-Protime came out of the Classics with the biggest tally of wins (four). Her compatriot Lorena Wiebes has established herself as an outstanding sprinter over the last few years, illustrated by her record in the Miron Ronde van Drenthe (four victories in as many editions) but her progress makes her a winner also on the cobbles, as she won the Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields.

As for Lotte Kopecky (BEL), she displayed the rainbow jersey in its full glory at Strade Bianche and Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, where she finally clinched the triumph that has eluded her in recent years. “The UCI World Championships last year remains the biggest victory for me, but winning Roubaix in this special jersey comes pretty close”, the UCI Road World Champion rejoiced after having tamed the Hell of the North, her number one goal for the spring.

At Roubaix, Kopecky triumphed ahead of Elisa Balsamo, consecutive winner of the Classic Brugge-De Panne and the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio, before the Italian took second position on the podium at Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift.


RESILIENCE, PATIENCE AND CONFIDENCE

Balsamo can be inspired by her friend, teammate and compatriot Longo Borghini, who ended the 2023 season “destroyed” by a series of setbacks (crashes and illnesses) but bounced back with a superb victory in the Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour of Flanders. Resilience was the key word this spring, with Marianne Vos showing her class and race skills just a few months after undergoing iliac artery surgery by winning the Amstel Gold Race by just a few centimetres ahead of compatriot Lorena Wiebes, who seemed guaranteed to win.

As for Niewiadoma, her victory on the top of the Mur de Huy was her first success on the road (she was crowned 2023 UCI Gravel World Champion) since 2019! “She’s more confident and more patient”, her Sports Director Magnus Bäckstedt explained.

As head of Canyon//Sram Racing, Bäckstedt underlines the overall progress made by teams and riders in the UCI Women’s WorldTour. “The UCI Women’s WorldTour is improving at such a fast rate that if you blink, you’ll miss it”, he says with a smile, agreeing with Longo Borghini’s analysis. “It’s more and more important to have a strong team around two key riders. Lidl-Trek is very strong across all races. Team SD Worx-Protime is always very dangerous, and we also play an important role. I would say that every team has moved up at least one level, if not two. I think it makes for very entertaining racing and viewing for people at home and we love being a part of this.”

Lotte Kopecky (2,146 points) dominates the UCI Women’s WorldTour individual classification, ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (1,883) and Elisa Balsamo (1,828). Lidl-Trek leads the team classification with 5,426 points, ahead of Team SD Worx-Protime (5,107) and Canyon//Sram Racing (3,538). Puck Pieterse (NED) is the leader of the Best Young Rider classification.

Individual, team and Best Young Rider classification of the UCI Women’s WorldTour

article and photo from www.uci.org

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