This weekend Marion Rousse will be riding the Giro del Trentino with the French national team. The race started this morning with a team time trial of 11,5 km. The riders started at 736 meters and finished 400 meters higher. Also this afternoon they will have to climb, then the finish is 2 km after a climb of 2nd category.
Tomorrow's stage mainly consists of six laps of 15,3 kilometers, which the women have to cover six times. On the route there's a climb of 2nd category. Marion can prepare herself for the French championship that takes place next Saturday and where she'll defend her title.
Photo: Krist Vanmelle Photography
Yesterday the final stage was ridden of the four days race Emakumeen Euskal Bira. It was won by Elisa Longo Borghini, the overall victory was for Emma Johansson. Celine Van Severen left the race after about 20 kilometers on day two because of illness. In the final stage Ashleigh Moolman quit after a crash. She'll focus now on the Giro Rosa which starts on Sunday 30th of June. Sharon Laws, who made her comeback in the Basque Country, finished the race and became 30th in the GC.
Kim Schoonbaert finished on the 13th place in Belsele on Saturday. The race ended with a bunch sprint, won by Thalita De Jong. In Kieldrecht Steffi Lodewyks became 7th yesterday. She arrived first of a group of twenty at 2'42" with Nathalie Nijns of the youth team, Kim Schoonbaert and Michal Ella. The victory was for Sanne Cant.
Normally the Lotto Belisol Ladies would start next Thursday in the 9th edition of the Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden, but this three days race was cancelled because of financial reasons. The organization is now talking to sponsors for next season.
The Lotto Belisol Ladies are racing in Spain this week. Tuesday the one day race Durango - Durango was programmed. Ashleigh Moolman became fifth. The victory was for Marianne Vos. Emma Johansson and Evelyn Stevens stood on the podium as well. Today the ladies start in the second stage of the Emakumeen Euskal Bira.
For Sharon Laws it's a comeback after she was absent for months after a crash on March 10 in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in South-Africa at about 55 kph. In this race also men participated. One of them crashed in the final and Laws couldn't swerve anymore. She landed very hard on her back. She fractured the L2 vertebrae, broke 4 ribs, had lung problems and had a comminuted fracture of the collar bone. After two weeks she could leave the hospital. Then a long recovery followed, that wasn't only tough physically but also mentally.
Sharon Laws: "I landed hard on my back and was in absolute agony. I had to wait over 30 minutes for an ambulance and it was one of the worst experiences in my life. I was in the intensive care unit for 6 days and then 8 days in a normal ward. The first five days I couldn't move at all. I even had to be fed by someone. After 7 days I was able to walk a tiny bit."
"The first week after hospital I could only make short walks. Even taking a shower, sleeping and simple things were incredibly painful. I then started some pool running and increased the walking to twice a day. I went on the indoor trainer 3 weeks after the accident and another three weeks after I started riding on the road again. It has been a quick progress in some ways when I consider how injured I was, but also frustratingly slow in other ways and I'm still in quite a lot of pain even 12 weeks after the accident. Often during my recovery I was in tears over the pain."
"Mentally it was difficult as well, especially because I was in such a good form in South-Africa. I was looking forward to go racing in Europe. Now I'm not even at the level I was after my end of season break. I was nervous before the start of Durango and I think I will still be quite nervous in the peloton for a while, particularly with the speed and descending. The girls in the peloton made me feel welcome which made me feel good. I was 8th at Durango last year and 5th overall at Bira so not being able to perform as well is not good mentally. But it's great to be able to race again, at some points I thought I might not race ever again."
"I'm hoping I can support Ashleigh in the stage races. I need to get stronger now and gain confidence. That's only possible by taking part in races. I'm hoping that I will feel much better by the end of Bira and that it will have been a good preparation for the Giro. I'll be satisfied if I will have been able to help the team and have become fitter. Hopefully I will get selected for the World Chapionships at the end of this season. I guess my main goals are to be happy, to get fit again, to enjoy racing in my new team and not to have any more serious crashes!"
Yesterday the Flemish championship for Women Youth was held. The Lotto Belisol Ladies took a prize two times: Fenna Vanhoutte and Jesse Vandenbulcke both won in their category.
This week part of the Lotto Belisol Ladies will ride in Spain, more precisely in the Basque Country. Tomorrow they'll participate in the Durango - Durango Emakumeen Saria and from Thursday till Sunday in the Emakumeen Euskal Bira. In the first stage only one climb is rated, but it's going up and down all the time. The climb (3rd cat.) is 3,3 kilometers long and has an average gradient of 4,8%. Then it is about 34 kilometers to the uphill finish.
In the next stage the first climb appears not before halfway. After this climb of third category there is one of first category in the final: 6 km and 5,8% average gradient. The top is 15,5 kilometers before the finish, the ladies will approach it in a descending line. Saturday is an individual time trial of 13,4 kilometers, again on an uphill and downhill terrain. The final stage leads the riders via Guernica. The course is again feisty. First there's a climb of third category and than two of second category. Just like in stage one also here there are other hills which are not rated. The finish is uphill.
These races in Spain are the comeback of Sharon Laws after a long revalidation. On March 10 the British rider crashed heavily in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in South-Africa. She broke a collarbone, four ribs and had a compression fracture of a dorsal vertebra. Now she can finally get back in competition.
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Marijn de Vries, Kaat Hannes, Sharon Laws, Ashleigh Moolman, Carlee Taylor and Celine Van Severen.
Stages Emakumeen Euskal Bira
Celine Van Severen is riding for the Lotto Belisol Ladies since this season. The 19-year-old West-Flemish girl is feeling good in the team and notices she has made progression. Riding uphill is one of her strong points, but she doesn't want to be seen as a climber alone. She is young, is standing at the beginning of her career and wants to see what she can achieve. We look back on the first half of the season with Celine, she assesses her results and we look forward to what's coming.
Celine Van Severen: "I am in the team since this year, but I have integrated well. When I arrived this season I hardly knew anybody, but now I feel home. I have been able to assist the team many times, but I haven't had a real peak myself. I'm getting eager for it. In comparison to last year I have set a step forward and I am satisfied with that. I notice I can help to make the race, it isn't limited to following. I also get more race insight."
At the end of April Van Severen became fifth in the final stage of the three days race City Trophy Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg, which ended with a sprint won by Marianne Vos. She proved there she has fast legs. About ten days before the young rider set an impressive result in the Flèche Wallonne. She became 27th at only 1'06" of teammate Ashleigh Moolman who was third in the same time as winner Vos.
Celine Van Severen: "My fifth place in the last stage of the Citry Trophy Elsy Jacobs definitely was a nice result, especially because few people believed I could sprint. In Dwars door de Westhoek I had pulled the sprint for Jolien D'hoore and she won the race. In Luxembourg I proved I can ride a good sprint myself and that I'm not only good uphill. In the Flèche Wallonne I showed my climbing skills. I find the 27th place on the Mur de Huy my best performance of the season, especially at my age. I worked for Ashleigh Moolman, who became third. I was the second Belgian rider in the classification. When you're 19 and set that result in such a tough race, that really gives you a boost. I don't want to pin myself down on climbing however, because there is still so much to explore."
In the Lotto Cycling Cup Van Severen is third in the GC and she leads the youth classification. In August there are still two races to come: Erondegem and the four days Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour. She wants to hang on to the youth jersey and in the stage to Geraardsbergen she wants to play out her cards. In the short term she focuses on the Belgian national championship in La-Roche-en-Ardenne and the European championship U23 in the Czech Republic.
Celine Van Severen: "I think I can hang on to my position in the Lotto Cycling Cup. In August there are some beautiful stages in the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour. It's my goal to win the youth jersey. Jessy Druyts is close, if there's a sprint in Erondegem I have to be careful and also in the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour we have a couple of flat stages. There's another system to earn points than in other races. The stage to Geraardsbergen in which we have to climb the Muur several times suits me very well and I expect to give all I have got. It's also my favourite race of the Lotto Cycling Cup. It's a tough stage where you can't hide. Last year it boosted my confidence. It's a great initiative that there's a tough race as well. But it's still far ahead of us. In the short term I'm focusing on the Belgian and European championship. At the moment I'm training in La Roche. The national championship won't make or break my season, but it's a very tough course and I want to finish high. On July 20 I'll participate in the European championship U23 in the Czech Republic, the finish is slightly uphill, so that has to suit me."
Photo: Krist Vanmelle Photography
Last week three races succeeded each other from Friday until Sunday: the Boels Rental Hills Classic, the 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg and Gooik - Geraardsbergen - Gooik. Ashleigh Moolman was the best in the Hills Classic. The name gives it away, there were many hills on the route. The riders had to climb the Slingerberg, Eyserbos and Vrakelberg to name a few. Of course the most famous Dutch hill couldn't be left out: the Cauberg. After that climb a front group of fourteen was formed. The Lotto Belisol Ladies were represented by Ashleigh Moolman. Rabobank had five women in the break, one of them was Annemiek Van Vleuten. The group went to the finish line together and South-African champion Moolman was the fastest. She won before Lizzie Armitstead and Annemiek Van Vleuten.
The 7-Dorpenomloop in Aalburg was a home race for World champion Marianne Vos. Her team Rabobank took control of the race and led their leader to the victory. Celine Van Severen was the first rider of the Lotto Belisol Ladies. She finished 2'39" later at place 24. Gooik - Geraardsbergen - Gooik was the last of three races. Emma Johansson took the win. Kaat Hannes was the first of the team, also at place 24.
Saturday a race in Schellebelle is programmed. Next week the team goes to Spain for the one day race Durango - Durango Emakumeen Saria and the four days stage race Emakumeen Euskal Bira. Monday you get a preview.
Photos: Bart Hazen
Ashleigh Moolman has become fourth in the Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon which ended on Wednesday. This French stage race started on Saturday, a day later than foreseen. Sunday the South-African rider became third in the mountain stage to Camurac. In the final stage she became fifth. The British Emma Pooley is the overall winner. Tatiana Antoshina and Alena Amialiusik could join her on the podium with a difference of respectively 1'29" and 2'30" in the GC. Moolman was only two seconds behind Amialiusik.
Today the Lotto Belisol Ladies will ride the Boels Rental Hills Classic which was called Parkhotel Valkenburg Hills Classic until last year. Start and finish are in Sittard, the race is 120 kilometers long. It's a feisty race throughout Dutch hills like Slingerberg, Eyserbos, Vrakelberg and Cauberg.
Tomorrow the Rabobank 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg is on the calendar. It's a race in the hometown of world champion Marianne Vos. Sunday the ladies will ride Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik in Belgium. In all these three races points can be picked up for a joint classification.
Saturday the Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon started with a delay of one day, with stage two. The riders held a small protest before the start to show their discontent, they sat on the ground for a while. Ann-Sophie Duyck unfortunately had to leave the race because of pain in her knee. In the third stage, a mountain stage from Maury to Camurac, Ashleigh Moolman lived up to the expectations and became third. Carlee Taylor had torn the group apart for her. Then Moolman climbed to place three. The stage was won by Emma Pooley. Fabiana Luperini became second. This made Moolman was third in the GC, 45" behind leader Pooley. There was also less good news, Marijn de Vries crashed hard in stage four and has a concussion and many grazes.
Tuesday there was a time trial of 27,9 kilometers. Moolman finished on place fifteen at 2'25" of winner Lisa Brennauer, Pooley became second at 32" and keeps the leader's jersey. Before entering the final stage Ashleigh is now fourth at 2'38", only two seconds behind Alena Amialiusik from Belarus. There is much wind on the course and in the middle there is a climb. Moolman has to either jump away from her nearest opponent or take bonification seconds in the sprint to end on the podium.
Yesterday normally the Tour du Languedoc-Rousillon had to start. But when the riders were on their way to the south of France on Thursday they heard the race was cancelled. And this for the second year in a row. Thursday the deposit for the police hadn't been paid yet, so the safety of the riders and caravan couldn't be guaranteed.
After a couple of hours the message was given that there might be a chance the race would still go ahead. A lot of uncertainty for the teams. The first stage would be cancelled anyway. The Lotto Belisol Ladies decided to spend the night on the camping and see what the next day would bring. In a meeting on Friday an announcement was made that from today on the race would be on. Rabobank Liv/Giant and Boels Dolmans among others decided not to start. Our riders chose to stay. All sports directors that are still over there have said that safety should be guaranteed at the start otherwise the teams would still withdraw.
Dany Schoonbaert, manager: "The organization says the government was late with the official permit for this race, so the deposit couldn't be paid yet. Without the money, the police didn't come to the race. Every village has gotten a mail from the government not to let the race start if there are no police services present. On top of those problems there will be a rally on the Col du Portal where we pass on Sunday on the same road. But now the route has changed. So normally there shouldn't be any problems anymore. We have let our riders decide and they chose to stay here."
So today the second stage will be ridden. Tomorrow the riders have a tough mountain stage to Camurac. Also the fourth stage is a feisty one. The day after an individual time trial is programmed of 27,9 kilometers. In this race we have a guest rider: Carla Ryan. She is a climber and will support Ashleigh Moolman.
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Marijn de Vries, Ann-Sophie Duyck, Kaat Hannes, Ashleigh Moolman, Carlee Taylor and guest rider Carla Ryan.
Stages Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon