In the days following the conclusion of the Ladies Tour of Norway many of the teams will stay in the area, honing their team time trialling skills ahead of the Women’s World Cup Vårgårda on Friday. The team time trial marks the start of the penultimate weekend of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup and is the first of two World Cup races in Vårgårda with the second a road race on Sunday.
Current World Champions, Specialized-Lululemon have dominated the discipline in recent years but opportunities to assess form this year have been few and far between and considerably shorter than the World Cup race. Ellen van Dijk’s arrival at Boels Dolmans no doubt raised the focus on the discipline for the Dutch team whilst Marianne Vos and her Rabo-Liv team have been very vocal about their focus of the team time trial at Worlds, is it time for a ‘changing of the guard’ at the top of the team time trialling?
World Cup standings
Despite missing Sparkassen Giro to win the Commonwealth Games, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) has a healthy lead in the World Cup individual standings, ahead of Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) only a disastrous weekend for Boels Dolmans would see the leader’s jersey change hands before the final race of the competition, GP de Plouay the following weekend.
|3rd||Ellen van Dijk||
|4th||Anna van der Breggen||
Out and back 42 kilometre course, based in Vårgårda, just under an hour’s drive, north-east of Gothenburg. After navigating their way out of town the ‘team trains’ will head east, towards Herrljunga. It’s mostly flat with a couple of short, shallow climbs as the road cuts through exposed fields and woodland sections.
Upon reaching the centre of Herrljunga there are a series on tight turns before the race heads back along the road it came back to Vårgårda.
Upon reaching Vårgårda the course loops around the south of town along the same circuit that will be used for Sunday’s road race. The circuit includes the biggest climb of the course, starting off with a shallow gradient and slowly getting steeper. As far as climbs go it’s not especially difficult in isolation but can easily upset the rhythm of teams, especially if they’re riding on the limit and have already ‘shed’ a few riders. Remember, it’s the fourth rider across the line that determines the team’s time.
After coming back into the town centre under the railway line it’s flat all the way, with couple of ninety degree turns before the final straight drag to the finish.
All eyes will be on the battle between Rabo-Liv and Specialized Lululemon but who else will we see on the podium? Last year’s third place team, Orica-AIS will there to mount their challenge, but with last year’s fourth place team, Sengers Ladies now defunct and fifth place, Wiggle Honda not contesting the TTT, will Boels Dolmans, Rusvelo, or perhaps the American outfit, Tibco challenging for the top spaces.
|Estado Mexico Faren||Bigla||Servetto Footon|
|BTC City Ljubljana||Team Rytger||Astana BePink|