The Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team will head to the United Kingdom for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour (June 13-17) with a strong team. World Champion Chantal Blaak, the winner of the Ronde van Drenthe Amy Pieters and Luxembourg Champion and 2017 runner-up Christine Majerus will be leading the team of manager Danny Stam. The leader in the WorldTour ranking Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen will not travel tot he United Kingdom to participate in this event. She prefers another preparation towards the National Championships later this month in Apeldoorn (Mountainbike XCO Nationals) and Hoogerheide (Road Nationals).
The Women's Tour, which will be held for the fifth time this year, has always been a good race for the Boels-Dolmans team in the past four editions. Lizzie Deignan won this stage race in 2016 while Christine Majerus finished twice on the podium in 2015 (3rd) and 2017 (2nd). In addition, Deignan, Majerus and Pieters both won two stages. The latter did not win these stages in the colors of Boels-Dolmans.
Next to Blaak, Majerus and Pieters, the team will be completed by former world champion Amalie Dideriksen, Jip van den Bos and Anna Plichta.
The OVO Energy Women's Tour is one of the youngest events on the women's calendar. Despite the fact that this year is only the fifth edition, this five-day course is highly regarded in the peloton. It’s one of the leading stage races with an interesting course, it attracts a lot of enthusiastic public and the prize money is equal to the Tour of Britain for men organized by the same organization, Sweetspot.
The first stage from Framlingham to Southwold (June 13) over 130 kilometers will take the peloton through the undulating roads in Suffolk. These roads are far from unknown to Boels-Dolmans. Lizzie Deignan won the stage in Aldeburgh (2015) while Christine Majerus won the opening stage in Norwich in 2016. The stage first goes south towards Ipswich before returning to Southwold where the stage will likely end in a sprint finish.
The second stage from Rushden to Daventry (June 14) over 145 kilometers is slightly hillier than the first stage. The stage takes the riders through the heart of England before arriving in Daventry for two tricky local laps including Newnham Hill (16%). Last year, Daventry was hosting the Grand Depart where Kasia Niewiadoma won the stage. She also won the overall ranking a few days later.
The third stage from Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa (June 15) over 151 kilometers is a copy of last year's stage. The stage was then won in the sprint by Chloe Hosking. The third stage is the longest stage of the entire week and is quite unpredictable. The center of gravity is at the end and can cause some differences.
The fourth stage from Wychavon District to Worcester (June 16) over 130 kilometers will take the peloton over the picturesque roads of Worcestershire. It is for the first time in the history that this area will be visited. The stage has some difficult climbs in the middle section which might can shake things up. But it is to be seen whether the differences will last until the finish. This stage is also a tribute tot he late Sharon Laws, who was from this region.
The fifth and final stage from Dolgellau to Colwyn Bay (June 17) over 122 kilometers leads the peloton across the Welsh countryside. It is the first time that the OVO Enery Women's Tour is a guest in Wales. The stage through Snowdonia Park with some strong climbs will be decisive for the overall victory.
Boels-Dolmans for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour
Jip van den Bos