The Women’s Tour de Yorkshire includes two hilly 132km stages on 3 and 4 May. Both stages will be broadcasted live in full on ITV4 from 9am-1pm
The 2019 Women’s Tour de Yorkshire is a World Tour race in all but name. It’s got a stacked startlist, live coverage of the full stages, the race is on equal footing with the men’s in prize money and race courses, and most importantly: it’s got the best crowds.
The TdY is still a young race, with the 4th edition taking place this year. It is however fast earning an excellent reputation in the women’s peloton, especially as the race keeps expanding each year.
Moving over to the UK from the Netherlands some 10 years ago as a cycling fan, it took me a while to get used to cycling being a niche sport over here. The rise of Team Sky did a lot to change that, but it was the Grand Depart in Yorkshire in 2014 that really changed things.
Women’s Tour de Yorkshire 2019 Favourites
Stage 1 is a likely prey for the sprinters. Lorena Wiebes, the 20 year old sprinter from ParkHotel Valkenburg has had an excellent Spring season with 4 podium finishes. She’ll want to strut her stuff in Yorkshire to claim her spot on the shortlist for the Worlds later this year. Amalie Dideriksen didn’t manage to get a win on the road yet this year. Coming from a busy winter on the track, that might be understandable. After a month’s rest, and with a win in a similar stage in last year’s Women’s Tour she’s one to watch.
As is her teammate Amy Pieters. Similar to Dideriksen, she’s still missing a win on the road this year. However, as the reigning Madison champion on the track, she is a sprinter to keep an eye on if she’s there in the final kilometres.
Stage 2 is where the GC will be decided. The first stage has some bonus seconds on offer, but with 5 categorised climbs (all short but steep), and much of the route along the coast line on a windy day, Stage 2 will be the decider. It will likely be a race of attrition with a small group sprinting for the win. With hills on the menu, Annemiek van Vleuten will be the one to watch. Her worst result so far this year is a 7th place in Dwars door Vlaanderen. As she’s shown in Strade Bianche and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, if she manages to get a gap uphill, she’ll be gone. Lizzie Deignan also has something to prove. And she has the home advantage. She’s only been back in the pro peloton for 3 weeks, but managed to pull off an impressive 7th place in the Amstel Gold Race. She also hasn’t hidden the fact the Worlds are her major aim this year, so she will want to show she’s a serious contender for that.
Marianne Vos is always a name to write down. She’s won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda this year, and just about everything else before that. It might be her first time in the Tour de Yorkshire, but she’s been a contender in the Women’s Tour of Britain every time she’s competed in that, so she knows how to deal with British roads. Anna van der Breggen is another rider to always keep an eye on. Her season isn’t quite as stellar as last year’s yet, but she’s shown she can deal with brutal power climbs better than any other woman in Fleche Wallonne, so the Yorkshire climbs should suit her as well.
Women’s Tour de Yorkshire 2019 Outsiders
Neo-pro Demi Vollering is having one hell of a season, finishing 7th, 5th and 3rd in her last three World Tour races. A 1st place might be next. When there’s hill, there’s Soraya Paladin. She’s stringing together an impressive collection of top 10 finishes and won the KOM jersey in the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.
Things to look out for
On Friday, in Stage 1 (or Stage 2 for the men) the route will include the finishing circuit for the World Championships that will be held in Yorkshire later this year. There will be some points for the sprinters’ jersey on the World Championships finish line, so we might get to see some riders give it a cheeky trial run.
As it’s a British race, a lot of Brits are on the start list. One notable name to remember for the future is 17 year old Elynor Backstedt riding for Storey Racing. This will be her first World Tour Level race, after impressing in this year’s junior races by winning Gent-Wevelgem and the Omloop van Borsele. She’s already got several national track titles under her belt (and has the help of her British national champion mum and Paris-Roubaix winning dad) and got a whiff of the World Championship podium with a 3rd place in the junior women’s ITT last year.
The World Champs ITT this year will be covered in the circuit during Stage 1, so she’ll be ready for that after this week.