Grand Prix de Plouay, the final race of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup. Whilst the race may be a ‘dead rubber’ as far as the World Cup is concerned after Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) wrapped that up in Sweden the previous weekend it’s still a big race in its own right that any rider would want to add to their palmares. With the end of the season fast approaching the and most nations making their selections for Worlds in the next few weeks for many, a strong performance in Plouay can ‘make’ their season.
At a glance
30th August 2014
What happened last year?
Anna van der Breggen (then of Sengers), Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) and Emma Johansson had escaped from an elite group and were on their way to contest the podium positions on the final circuit. On the steepest section of the climb on the course, Vos attacked. Neither van der Breggen or Johansson could not match the turn of speed and Vos went on to win solo with Johansson winning the battle for second, distancing Van der Breggen in the final metres.
The race is suited to the punchy, climber types as the riders take on the rolling Brittany countryside. Staring with four laps of a 27 kilometre, anticlockwise circuit. The circuit passes through Plouay before turning north and the into the forest. It’s a long, steady, shallow incline to the northern tip of the circuit, the top of which at Chapelle Saint Anne des Bois is the designated GPM point on the second and third laps.
Chapelle Saint Anne des Bois Climb
Then heading back south the race takes in the village of Poulhibet followed by the short sharp climb of Minojenn du Calvaire, with a gradient of 13% and then straight on to Côte de Ty-Marrec. With just over four kilometres to the finish from this ascent it’s a popular spot for riders to launch their attack for the line. After completing the opening four laps there is one final circuit of just under 14 kilometres which is the southern section of the ‘long lap’, effectively cutting off the section through the forest to the north.
Expect all the big teams to be present with strong line ups. The 12 previous editions of the race are yet to produce a ‘home’ winner. Might the likes of Rabo-Liv’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot end that drought for french riders this year?