Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour 2024 Race Preview

2023-Lotto-Thuringen-Ladies-Tour-Podium

Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour 2024 History

The Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour is one of the longest-running stage races still on the women’s calendar. Whilst slow to react to the march of progress of women’s cycling it has very much caught up in recent years. The live coverage has come for all stages, the prize money increased and the race is on the cusp of joining the Women’s WorldTour. It has applied but in a busy part of the calendar, it so far hasn’t been accepted. As it stands, it’s one of the highest profile races with the .Pro designation.

The race goes back to at least 1986,  first achieving a UCI level in 1996 and then spending almost all of its existence at 2.1 level. Judith Arndt and Emma Johansson have the most GC wins between them with 3 each, all 6 wins coming between 2007 and 2015. Since then, the only repeat winner has been another German in Lisa Brennauer. The inclusion of a time trial helped her shine along with a series of rolling sprint stages being perfect for the now-retired star.

Last year’s race was absolutely dominated by SD Worx who decided not to go to the WWT race at RideLondon and instead, won every single stage of the 2023 Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. Lotte Kopecky comfortably won the GC ahead of Lorena Wiebes and Mischa Bredewold. The first non-SD Worx rider was Ruby Roseman-Gannon, 59 seconds behind Kopecky. Not only did SD Worx win each stage but they did it with a different rider each time. After taking the opening Team Time Trial, their 5 riders then won one of the following 5 stages each.

Previous Winners

2023
Lotte Kopecky
2022
Alex Manly
2021
Lucinda Brand

Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour 2024 Stage Profiles

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5 (TT)

Stage 6

TV Coverage

Tuesday 25th June – Sunday 30th June 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery across Europe
Coverage will also be on MDR.de

Stage 1: 13:00-15:00
Stage 2: 13:00-15:00
Stage 3: 13:00-15:00
Stage 4: 13:00-15:00
Stage 5: 14:00-16:00
Stage 6: 13:00-15:00

All times in BST

Twitter: #LTLT2024

Startlist: FirstCycling

Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour 2024 Contenders

SD Worx has a lot to do to keep up their record here and will have to do it without Lotte Kopecky or Lorena Wiebes. The upside of that is it allows other riders to shine. Mischa Bredewold will get a solid chance to go for GC and against this field shouldn’t lose much if anything against the clock on Stage 5. She should get a stage win along the way. Sprints are harder to pick with Barbara Guarischi maybe the more likely between her and Femke Markus to get the nod. Guarischi got the nod at Veenendaal-Veenendaal and finished 2nd there in what’s by far her best result of the 2024 season. Normally the lead-out for Wiebes, they’ve been joined at the hip all year. It’s a similar set of results for Femke Markus who won the non-UCI Volta NXT Classic but has barely featured in the top-20 in her role chasing down breaks.

Lucinda Brand will be looking to recreate her 2021 victory at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. She took her first victory in a year this month at the Dwars door het Hageland, outsprinting a small group that day. She’s good enough to make a challenge in the time trial and be in good stead for the overall. She’ll get some good support from the likes of Shirin van Anrooij who is starting to come back into form. 5th at the Vuelta a Burgos, it showed that whilst she can get a good result on a rolling stage she also has some solid climbing legs at the moment too. She was 6th at the Dutch Nats TT, well behind winner Riejanne Markus but good enough to contest at the Thüringen Ladies Tour. Lizzie Deignan is also going well, finishing on the podium at the national championships. That came after a good week at home in the Tour of Britain Women, winning the QoM jersey and taking a pair of top-10s on stages. You also can’t sleep on Brodie Chapman at the moment, especially with a time trial involved. The Aussie was 7th on the mountainous one at the Tour de Suisse and 2nd behind Ellen van Dijk at the Vuelta Extremadura Féminas time trial too. 
Fleur Moors will hopefully get an opportunity to shine here after a run of 3 top-10s in Belgian one-day races in early June before finishing 4th in the national championships. She was mixing it with experienced riders there as an 18-year-old, an encouraging sign of her development. Elisa Balsamo is back here after her brutal crash at the Vuelta a Burgos. Hopefully healed up and ready to go, on paper, she’s the fastest sprint but might need some time to get fully back on the race pace

It’ll be interesting to see how Sarah Gigante fares here. There aren’t the major climbs but with the time trial, the Aussie should be a GC threat with the time gained. Illness took her out of the Volta Catalunya despite an encouraging start and it was a similar story at the Vuelta where she wasn’t 100% either after crashes. Hopefully, back to full form, she could be a threat. Ilse Pluimers is a decent finisher on rolling roads with a few decent results recently at Dwars door het Hageland (11th) and Antwerp Port Epic (6th). She’s been working for Ally Wollaston recently so the results hide that but will be in a freer role at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. Julia Kopecky might also have a similar role to Pluimers with the Czech rider in some good form too. The Tour de Feminin is the obvious one, where she won 2 stages and the GC, but she also worked well with Pluimers at the Antwerp Port Epic to finish 10th there too. Mireira Benito will also be one to watch in the time trial. She convincingly won the Spanish title this week and a good result there could see her sneak up the GC too.

Kasia Niewiadoma is the biggest GC threat here but will potentially be a little bit exposed in the time trial stage. We’ve seen Canyon SRAM happy to attack those in recent races, which saw Kasia finish 4th in GC at the Tour de Suisse whilst riding with and for Neve Bradbury. If they keep that sort of performance up then they will make themselves the team to beat here, with sprints not working for Kasia but the chance to reduce the bunch always there. Ricarda Bauernfeind will be strong support in her first race for a month. She had a very good Vuelta Femenina this year, finishing 6th Overall there as her consistency through the week came through. If the team need someone for sprints then Zoe Backstedt can slot in there and do a job. She had to leave RideLondon early due to illness, only a week after finishing 2nd at the Antwerp Port Epic. She also didn’t take part in the National Champs this weekend.

Karlijn Swinkels (Photo Credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

UAE Team ADQ should be backing Karlijn Swinkels here. She can sprint and time trial and should be in the GC hunt. She was 3rd at the Vuelta Burgos, impressively 4th on the final climb there and should be a sign that she’s in good form. She missed the winning move at the Dutch national champs but wasn’t alone there. There’s a real chance for a win at this race. She’s supported by Federica Venturelli who has been doing well in Belgian one-dayers this year with plenty of top-10 results. She’s also a decent time trialler, not top tier yet but should be able to minimise any losses. It’s similar for Alena Ivenchenko who I’m expecting to go well in the time trial specifically. She was a bit further back than I expected at the Tour de Suisse TT but that was a mountain climb the day after a tough stage. I hope to see Tereza Neumanova sprinting as well if possible. The Czech rider doesn’t get many opportunities to go for results but usually delivers when she does get one. She was 7th on a flatter stage of the Vuelta Burgos to confirm that.

Uno-X Mobility is an interesting team line-up to try and decide who will get chances from because potentially all 6 riders could do something across the 6 stages of this year’s Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. Anniina Ahtosalo and Maria Giulia Confalonieri feel like the two best shouts in a sprint with Ahtosalo winning Trofee Maarten Wynants and finishing 2nd at Flanders Diamond Tour recently. Confalonieri has had a few high WWT top-10s as well at Vuelta Burgos and RideLondon. They’re not alone though because any of Elinor Barker, Susanne Andersen and Amalie Dideriksen could also be up for a sprint if they’re around at the end. Simone Boilard presents a different possibility though. The Canadian might be able to go on attacks and stretch the race rather than get involved in the sprints.

Letizia Borghesi has been going well recently with 5th at the national champs and 11th in GC at the Vuelta Burgos. That result was through a solid collection of top-10 results. She’s ok at the time trial without being strong so a top-10 is possible here as well. Nina Kessler took her best result of the 2024 season at the Dutch championships by taking the bronze medal. That came after 6th at the Flanders Diamond Tour, with Kessler possibly a good sprint option again. New signing Mirre Knaven will also be here. She could do well after securing wins in Czechia this season and not losing much time there in time trials. There’s a chance she hits the ground running. 

Sofie van Rooijen
Sofie van Rooijen

Ceratizit WNT should challenge for GC through Marta Lach. The Pole is a good all-rounder across all of the stages and do ok in the time trial as well. She had an amazing spell near the end of April and the start of May. She won both Festival Elsy Jacobs races and doubled up with 2nd and 3rd in the Morbihan races. She will get support from Martina Fidanza who will be a very good option in the flatter sprints. She won the GP Mazda Schelkens already this year. Nina Berton and Sandra Alonso will also do a job too. Alonso was especially strong in the Spanish time trial championships, finishing 2nd behind Mireia Benito. 

Sofie van Rooijen is potentially one of the fastest sprinters here and should pick up some results. She’s been consistently finishing in the top 10s of fast finishes in 2024, 2 wins along the way and a bunch of 4th places. Balsamo is expected to be the fastest but Van Rooijen can challenge. Eline Jansen impressed at the Tour of Women Britain with 6th overall after making the front group in the GC deciding move. She took a pair of 5th places and a 10th for good measure to highlight a strong week. She’s enough of an all-rounder to challenge on the stages where Van Rooijen is dropped. 

Romy Kasper had a strong national championship, finishing 5th in the road race and 6th in the time trial. She will want to impress on home roads and should be able to get into the mix when moves go up the road. She should do ok in the time trial too and have a chance of the top-10. Ruth Edwards is back in Europe for the first time since the spring. In her first season back there have been some highs like 3rd at Trofeo Oro in Euro and also some struggles at the higher profile races. The parcours here should suit her though for a chance of stage honours.

Flora Perkins is in some form at the moment, winning the U23 British title after being in the mix with the big race favourites. That came after a pair of top-10s in the Tour of Britain Women and 2 more at the Vuelta Femenina. The Brit is starting to become a solid threat at the highest level on rolling terrain. Christina Schweinberger was quiet at the Tour de Suisse but still got some top-10s in Belgian one-day races before then. Working in tandem with Perkins, she should be able to contest for stage wins in the right situation. Hopefully, Sophie Wright gets a chance after a well-timed solo move at the national championships was derailed by a rear puncture and a chain off. She had a real chance there only for that mechanical to prevent her from more.

Roland has a shot at a good GC position through Elena Pirrone. Her 3rd at the Italian TT champs was overshadowed a bit by the drama which saw Longo Borghini lose the win. She was also 6th at Navarra Elite Classics and 8th at Vuelta CV as well to show that she can go well on climbs too. Tamara Dronova will always be a threat but her only top-15 results of the year came in El Salvador, there’s always a chance she will regain her 2022-2023 form. Maggie Coles-Lyster had a really strong spring but had a tough time in Spain over May and early June, not registering a result of note. In theory, she’s one of the fastest sprinters here so it’s a chance to restore some confidence before the Olympics.

Riding for the Netherlands National team here is Amber Kraak, who had a great Bretagne Ladies Tour, finishing 3rd in GC there. That was off the back of finishing 2nd on the TT stage, which bodes well here as well. Her climbing is also strong, finishing 8th at Alpes Gresivaudan Classic too. Her weakness will be in the sprint but the GC is very much in play for the Dutch rider.

Another rider having a strong national championship was Linda Riedmann. The German was 4th in the road race and 5th in the time trial, which all bodes well for the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. Racing for the German National Team here, she should be the GC leader and get support. Hopefully, she’s able to take the leadership chance with a good result. Mieke Kröger has been focusing on the track all season and doesn’t have a road team contract but will get a chance here for the national team. She impressively won the German TT title ahead of Antonia Niedermaier who’d been quicker than her in winning the U23 title on the same course the year before. For Kröger, the time trial will be the key stage.

Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour 2024 Outsiders

Katharina Fox
Katharina Fox

Katharina Fox of MAXX-SOLAR ROSE is always a go-to in these previews as an outsider. The German rider is a perennial breakaway threat who is seemingly always on the cusp of that big breakthrough. She took 18th earlier in the season at the Trofeo Andratx and could improve on that here. A similar style of rider is Helena Bieber who has just gone on a big break at the German national championships that eventually was hunted down. She still hung on to finish 11th though and also finished 8th in the German National TT as well. Expect to see Bieber trying to go on the attack.

The 19-year-old Aussie Lucinda Stewart is starting to get some results in Europe this season as she develops. A best of 3rd at the Pays de la Loire Tour was backed up with 11th at La Classique Morbihan. At WWT level, she also finished 20th in GC at the rolling terrain of the RideLondon Classique as well. She’s a rider to watch that should get picked up by a bigger team in 2025. Teammate Lucie Fityus came to the fore with 5th place at the Festival Elsy Jacobs a Luxembourg this year. Known back in Australia as a solid rider with a sprint, it was nice to see her also deliver in the European peloton too.

Silje Bader announced herself with 4th at Drentse Acht van Westerveld and apparently had Team dsm-firmenich PostNL interested. She’s only 18 years old but that result has been hard to follow up so far. 12th at Omloop der Kempen is her best since but in theory, there’s a chance we’re looking at the next Dutch sprinter to come off the production line. Bodine Vollering will be at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour and is starting to notch up some results. 4th at Pays de la Loire earlier in the year was backed up with top-10s at Tour de Feminin and 4th in the Dutch Elites race for riders with no UCI team contract. The racing here will give a UCI team another chance to see what she can do going into 2025.

Top 3 Prediction

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