After a 20-year wait, the Tour de Suisse Women made a return to the calendar in 2021. There’d been a few editions around the turn of the millennium, with Zulfia Zabirova winning two of them. There’s a link with the last edition of the Tour de Suisse Women when Olga Zabelinskaya took part in last year’s race, 20 years after her last Tour de Suisse Women race.
All my posts that a probably race previews in some way.
Officially this race is just called the Women’s Tour but may have to unofficially finally become the Women’s Tour of Britain. With the Tour de France Femmes coming, the original name all feels just a little too vague. The Women’s Tour is another race affected by COVID in 2020, but 2021 saw the race return, albeit in September rather than its usual timeslot of June.
The Thüringen Ladies Tour has a long history in women’s cycling. First run in 1986, the race was one of the key races on the eastern side of the iron curtain. With the Peace Race a major event for male cyclists (and told well by Dieter Wiedemann in his book) the Thüringen Ladies Tour tried to emulate that for women.
Another relatively new race in Spain, the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas will have only its 3rd edition at UCI level in 2022. The race’s history goes back a little further though, raced as a national level Spanish race with some big names on the previous winners list. Anna van der Breggen won the head to head against Annemiek van Vleuten last year. The climb up to Lagunas de Neila on the last stage was the major battleground.
With this year’s Itzulia Women, women’s racing in the Basque County has come full circle after quite a lot of change in recent years. We used to have the long-term staple of the Emakumeen Bira stage race which ran from 1988 to 2019. One of the major stage races, surprisingly given the climbing it was a race that neither Anna van der Breggen nor Annemiek van Vleuten ever actually won.
The Tour de Bretagne Féminin has been run since the 1980s, albeit with some interruptions. Catherine Marsal won a pair of the early editions, before Jeannie Longo unsurprisingly won too. It was German rider Hanka Kupfernagel who was the first to win 3 editions of the race though. She was joined on 3 victories by Marina Jaunatre in the mid-2000s. Brit Emma Pooley won in 2008, taking 2 stages along the way.