Today is the start of the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour. The riders will begin with a prologue of 7.82 kilometers in Soignies. Tomorrow there's a stage of 110 kilometers with start and finish in Honnelles. A lap of 12.24 kilometers will have to be covered nine times.
On Saturday there's another time trial, then the teams will have to compete against each other. The course in Colfontaine is 20.1 kilometers long. Next there's a stage in Halle of almost 103 kilometers that consists of nine local laps. Geraardsbergen will welcome the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour on the final day. The women can warm up with a first lap of 29.31 kilometers. That is followed by one of 33.28 kilometers. In both laps the ladies will have to cover Tenbosse. At the end there are two laps of 18.86 kilometers with the Muur. The finish lies on the Vesten.
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Isabelle Beckers, Amy Cure, Jolien D'hoore, Chantal Hoffmann, Joëlle Numainville and Anisha Vekemans.
Photo: Krist Vanmelle
A team of six Lotto Belisol Ladies stands at the start of La Route de France. This is a seven-day stage race which heads from the west of France to the east. The start takes place this afternoon in the Vendée. Mouilleron-en-Pareds hosts the start and finish of the first stage and the second stage begins there as well. The race ends on Saturday the 16th of August in the department Saône-et-Loire.
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Jolien D'hoore, Liesbet De Vocht, Lieselot Decroix, Sarah Rijkes, Celine Van Severen and Anisha Vekemans.
The Australian Amy Cure conquered two medals at the past Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In the individual pursuit she battled against Scottish Katie Archibald for bronze, the rider of the Lotto Belisol Ladies turned out to be the best. Gold was for the English rider Joanna Roswell. Cures fellow countrywoman Annette Edmondson gained silver.
A day later Cure attended the scratch event. The 21-year-old got second and on the podium she received the silver medal. She stood next to Edmondson again, who had won gold this time. Elinor Barker, from Wales, completed the top three.
Individual pursuit: Bronze
The importance of the Commonwealth Games
Back to road racing
Emma Pooley has completed her last days as a professional cyclist. The time trial and road race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were her last two races. She defended the English colours. In both races she gained the silver medal!
Emma Pooley: "I was happy to get the silver medal in the time trial, but also a bit disappointed that I missed out on gold. It was very close. But you can't change anything afterwards. I'm just so pleased that I won a medal in the time trial, it's a nice way to finish my career. In the road race I worked for Lizzie Armitstead, so I didn't expect to get on the podium. I worked hard for her. At a certain moment I was solo and then Lizzie bridged to me. I was lucky to stay ahead and gain the silver."
"It was not so hard to defend that second place. I just kept riding. I'm surprised they didn't catch me, because I had done most of the work in the break. When I crossed the finish line on Sunday I was very emotional because of the cheering, the crowd, my family who was there and of course because it was my last race. As a team we won the race and I got a medal myself. So I wasn't emotional in a sad way, but I knew I would never have that feeling again in a bike race. I'll just keep on training for triathlons now."
Past weekend the seventh and last race of the Lotto Cycling Cup took place: the Erondegemse Pijl. Ann-Sophie Duyck arrived solo at the finish, eight seconds later the peloton sprinted for the second place. Liesbet De Vocht turned out to be the fastest of the pack. The Swiss riders Désirée Ehrler completed the top three. In the overall classification of the Lotto Cycling Cup De Vocht got second with 151 points. Just like in 2013 Sofie De Vuyst is the overall winner, with a total amount of 188 points. Valerie Demey, third in GC, won the youth classification. She had 21 points more than Celine Van Severen, who was sixth overall. The Lotto Belisol Ladies were third in the club classification.
Liesbet De Vocht got second on Sunday as well. In Ninove she finished behind Maaike Polspoel.
Yesterday there was a Lotto Belisol Ladies delegation at the start of the Sparkassen Giro, a World Cup race. Marianne Vos won before Bronzini and Lepistö. Jolien D'hoore became fourth, a nice result.
From the 23rd of July until the 3rd of August the Commonwealth Games took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Amy Cure and Emma Pooley both returned home with two medals.
Amy Cure gained the bronze medal in the 3000 meters individual pursuit. A duel with Katie Archibald decided about the third place. A day later the Australian rider of the Lotto Belisol Ladies conquered silver in the scratch race (10 kilometers).
For Emma Pooley the time trial and road race at the Commonwealth Games were her last races before she retired from cycling. She won silver twice for England.
Emma Pooley has decided to retire from cycling. She will do two more races: the time trial (31st of July) and road race (3rd of August) at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Recently she won three stages at the Giro Rosa and could go home with the green jersey as winner of the mountain classification.
Sunday it's finally time, then the women will ride La Course! This race is organized by ASO, just like the Tour de France. Before the men will ride the last Tour kilometers of this edition on the famous avenue in Paris, the ladies will battle on the Champs Elysées for the first victory of La Course.
Jolien D'hoore: "I think everyone is really looking forward to Sunday. It's the first time this race takes place, a milestone for women's cycling. We start with teams of six riders and I'm glad I'm one of them. I'm proud to show the Belgian national jersey in Paris. I expect there will be many people along the road. There will be so much more media attention than we are used to and the race will be broadcasted live. That's all new for us. It's exciting."
"I expect that it will be fast from the start. It will be a tough race. Everyone will want to show that women can race as well. We definitely have to try to get into top five, maybe even top three. I think everybody wants to stand on that podium on the Champs Elysées. I certainly hope there is more to come, next year maybe a stage race of one week or longer. This is a step in the right direction."
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Jolien D'hoore, Liesbet De Vocht, Lieselot Decroix, Chantal Hoffmann, Emma Pooley and Anisha Vekemans.
She did it again! Emma Pooley took her third stage win in the Giro Rosa 2014. She finished solo at Madonna del Ghisallo, another summit finish. Her efforts of the past week also yielded her the green jersey, as winner of the mountain classification. In GC she became 9th at 8'23" of pink jersey Marianne Vos.
Team time trial in the stage
Attack on the final climb
It was fun
"Taking this green jersey is really great for the team, to be on that final podium. It's a big honour. I'm very pleased with that. I feel like we earned it after all the hard work. I had such great support of the team, they really believed in me."