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  • Preview La Course

    25 july 2014 - 13:07

    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.

    Online petition
    It all began with an online petition of Le Tour Entier, founded by Emma Pooley, Kathryn Bertine, Marianne Vos and Chrissie Wellington. More than 97.000 people signed that petition. This initiative was followed by a cooperation with ASO.

    Champs Elysées
    La Course by le Tour de France consists of thirteen laps of about seven kilometers on the Champs Elysées, good for a total distance of 89 kilometers. There will be twenty teams of six participants at the start, like the Lotto Belisol Ladies. The women will start at ten to one in the afternoon. The race will be broadcasted live on twelve channels, which can be watched in 104 countries.

    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.

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  • New stage win for Emma Pooley

    13 july 2014 - 20:07

    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
    Emma Pooley:
    "It was a very fast start with lots of attacks. The bunch was stretched out. After fifty kilometers there was a section with tunnels. There wasn't much light in those tunnels. I dropped back too far in the bunch; it was very stressful for everyone there. Then we got to the road alongside Lake Como. It's quite narrow there with twisting roads and there was a high pace in the peloton. My teammates brought me back to the front, which was really hard. It was an amazing job of them! Really crazy! They did a team time trial there for me. At the end Anisha Vekemans passed the whole bunch and brought me back in the right position a few kilometers of the foot of the last climb. My teammates are fantastic, this wouldn't have been possible without them."

    Attack on the final climb
    "The climb to Madonna del Ghisallo is pretty steep at the start. The first six kilometers it's alternating between some less hard sections and peaks up to 14%. I went full gas at the bottom, because I wanted to try to drop the riders of Rabo Liv Giant. After yesterday I had more confidence on the climb. We got ahead with a smaller group and Rabo Liv Giant was riding in front, I thought that might be because they were scared so I decided to attack. I got a little gap. It looked like they were going to catch me on a flat section. But because Mara Abbott was a threat for GC they were more scared of her and didn't chase me too hard."

    It was fun
    "After the first six kilometers there's a flat section and even a downhill part. I went full gas again. The last 1.5 kilometer was uphill. I enjoyed that bit because I had about fifty seconds lead. It was definitely not easy, and it was really painful but still it was fun. There were lots of people watching and cheering along the road. This was a perfect location for a mountain top finish at the end of the Giro Rosa. The Madonna del Ghisallo chapel has a special significance for cyclists."

    "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."

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  • Second stage win for Pooley

    12 july 2014 - 18:07

    This afternoon Emma Pooley won the eighth stage of the Giro Rosa. Here second stage win this week. There was a summit finish in San Domenico di Varzo. Pooley arrived five seconds before Mara Abbott, last year's winner of the Giro Rosa. Thanks to this victory Pooley keeps the lead in the mountain classification.

    Emma Pooley: "There was a very sharp climb early in the stage, even with cobbles. With the team we stayed in the front, because it was going very fast and there were lots of attacks. The road went up and down the whole time. Jolien D'hoore, Liesbet De Vocht and Sarah Rijkes looked after me. Afterwards the race got less hectic and we came on a terrain that was rather flat. My teammates took me to the front before the climb towards the finish."

    "I didn't start with the idea I could win the stage, my main goal was to keep the green jersey. I knew who to watch. When we started the climb I waited, tried to conserve energy and be relaxed. I benefited a bit from the GC tactics. I stayed in the wheels of those going for GC. In the end I was alone in front with Mara Abbott, who won the Giro Rosa last year. Then I started raising the tempo, because I wanted to make her tired. At that point I wanted to win the stage, certainly after all the work the girls did for me."

    "I didn't really attack I just rode harder. It wasn't a sprint at the end, just by raising the pace I apparently had created a gap. I didn't even put my hands in the air, because I was sure she was coming so I didn't have time for that. This victory is really nice for me and the team. Tomorrow it's another mountain top finish. At the Madonna del Ghisallo this time, a famous climb. We'll give it all again tomorrow."

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  • Pooley conquers green jersey

    11 july 2014 - 20:07

    After yesterday's stage win, Emma Pooley took over the mountains jersey today from Valentina Scandolara. Between Aprica and Chiavenna lay one climb, about seven kilometers after the start. Emma crossed the top first and gained seven points. The British leads with five points on Scandolara, who didn't grab any points today.

    Emma Pooley: "To wear any of the classification jerseys at the Giro is a great honour, and the green jersey is particularly close to my heart as a climber! I have to say, I wasn't expecting it this year, I was worried that I'd lost my climbing legs altogether... But it's a lovely surprise, thanks to yesterday's stage and getting the GPM today! And it certainly wouldn't be possible without the support and backup of the team. I'm very grateful to my teammates and the staff too, for encouraging me and believing in me. The green jersey is for all of them!"

     

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  • Pooley wins stage at Giro Rosa

    10 july 2014 - 18:07

    In the Giro Rosa a mountain stage was programmed today. Between Gaiarine and San Fior lay three climbs, on a course of 112 kilometers. Emma Pooley attacked on the first climb and could celebrate at the end.

    On the Muro di Ca' del Poggio (2nd category) Emma Pooley was the first to attack. Six others joined her. Together they crossed the climb of fourth category in the middle of the course. The last climb on the route was the Salita dei Carbonai (1st category). Pooley attacked again. The peloton with pink jersey Marianne Vos followed at two minutes.

    Pooley reached the top alone. Then there were 27.7 kilometers left, mostly descending. The Polish rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma was her nearest chaser, she would get caught by a group with Marianne Vos. Pooley, current British time trial champion, could hold them off and crossed the finish line solo. Fifteen seconds later Anna van der Breggen got second, before Marianne Vos. In the general classification Pooley jumps to place thirteen, at 8'35" of leader Vos.

    Nothing to lose
    Emma Pooley:
    "In the information we got in advance, the stage didn't look so hard. But I heard from others that the climbs were really difficult. After the problems I had in the first stage there was no point anymore for going for GC, so I had nothing to lose. I just had to ride aggressively and try to win a stage. You don't win if you don't try. With that in mind I started the stage. We're lucky it worked, it was really close at the end."

    "The girls put me in the right position for the first climb, that was a really steep one. They did a great job, looking after me. After my first attack I was about 25 kilometers alone, then I was caught by a group. Then I was alone again for the last forty kilometers. It was hard. Rabo Liv Giant chased, because they wanted to win the stage as well. I thought they would catch me for sure. I had two minutes at first, then suddenly 1'20" and then the gap was reducing very quickly. With two kilometers to go I had about nineteen seconds. I really wanted to do it for the other girls, because they really believed in me. Also our team manager Dany Schoonbaert, who was in the car behind me. I didn't want to let anyone down. It's because of all their support this was possible."

    Emotional
    "It was very emotional to win. The Giro Rosa is the most important stage race for women. It's very prestigious to win a stage here. It was a good time trial training as well (laughs). I only won a stage here once before, in 2011. Today was very exciting. The first stage went really badly for me. I had a nosebleed and problems with my breathing. I lost much time there. That was sad, in the mountains you can't take back that difference. I was disappointed that the GC was gone. Now we'll try to win another stage with the team. We have the freedom to try everything. This victory gave us confidence."

     

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  • La Course: Greipel vs Kittel

    7 july 2014 - 15:07

    Top sprinters André Greipel and Marcel Kittel don't only clash on the bike...: http://youtu.be/VXk_59Y2tMM

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  • Preview Giro Rosa

    3 july 2014 - 19:07

    Tomorrow the 25th edition of the Giro Rosa starts with a prologue of 2,050 kilometers in Caserta. These are the eight Lotto Belisol Ladies who will participate in the ten-day stage race: Jolen D'hoore, Heidi Dalton, Liesbet De Vocht, Lieselot Decroix, Chantal Hoffmann, Emma Pooley, Sarah Rijkes en Anisha Vekemans. First, new Belgian champion Jolien D'hoore looks back on Sunday's race and then she tells about her expectations for the Giro Rosa. Manager Dany Schoonbaert talks about the ambitions of the team. Also Emma Pooley, who just conquered the British time trial title, gives her preview of the Giro Rosa.

    Party is for later this month
    Jolien D'hoore
    : "The day after the Belgian championship I was quite busy with media requests and I got many messages to congratulate me. I didn't have a real party yet, because the Giro Rosa is coming up. That will be for later this month. Before the start on Sunday I did have the feeling a second title was possible, I felt confident. The course was flat and suited me and Liesbet De Vocht, the Belgian champion of 2013. We were the leaders in the team."

    Thanks to Liesbet
    "Liesbet and I have a very good understanding. The advantage of our group was about half a minute, that wasn't enough space for Liesbet to try to attack. She chose to aim for a sprint with the group and I could take my chance. I'm very grateful for that. It was only in the last straight line to the finish I was certain we would battle for the victory. This second title is really nice. I'm very proud to wear this tricolour again for one year. It's a very beautiful jersey and if you can ride in the international peloton with it, that feels great."

    Now to the Giro Rosa
    "In the first days of the Giro Rosa I strive for a good result in possible bunch sprints. Then we go into the high mountains, that's not for me. My focus lies on the first stages. I'm curious to see how far I stand compared to the top riders. I hope for a place in top five in the sprints. Maybe top three. It's the first time I ride this race, so I'm waiting to see how it goes. It's fun to start in the Giro Rosa as new Belgian champion, it's the biggest stage race for women."

    We aim for a stage win
    Dany Schoonbaert, manager Lotto Belisol Ladies
    : "We aim for a stage win with the team. Jolien D'hoore is fast, she can mingle in the bunch sprints. Liesbet De Vocht can attack. In the mountain stages Emma Pooley can target a victory. She can also strive for a good GC, we will see that in the second half of the Giro Rosa. The other girls can of course also jump along in a breakaway or work for the others."

    "For the young girls in the team the Giro Rosa is all about learning. Heidi Dalton for example did it very well in Bira, but that's a much shorter stage race. The Giro Rosa will be a tough race, like always. In Italy it's never completely flat to start with. Marianne Vos and her team are of course strong. Elisa Longo Borghini and Ashleigh Moolman will also ride for a good GC. Just like Mara Abbott, who won last year. Apart from them there are several other candidates for top ten."

    Most prestigious stage race for women
    Emma Pooley
    : "The Giro Rosa is the most prestigious stage race for women, so it's always a challenging and exciting race. It will be tough on GC because Rabobank, with Marianne Vos, has such an incredibly strong team, but we will do our best for sure! We have a great team, and great morale, and some very good chances I believe for stage wins both in sprint and mountain stages. I hope that the hard racing at Bira and last weekend at the Nationals will help me to be in the right form."

     

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  • D'hoore Belgian champion

    30 june 2014 - 19:06

    Party is for later this month
    Jolien D'hoore:
    "The day after the Belgian championship I was quite busy with media requests and I got many messages to congratulate me. I didn't have a real party yet, because the Giro Rosa is coming up. That will be for later this month. Before the start on Sunday I did have the feeling a second title was possible, I felt confident. The course was flat and suited me and Liesbet De Vocht, the Belgian champion of 2013. We were the leaders in the team."

    Thanks to Liesbet
    "Liesbet and I have a very good understanding. The advantage of our group was about half a minute, that wasn't enough space for Liesbet to try to attack. She chose to aim for a sprint with the group and I could take my chance. I'm very grateful for that. It was only in the last straight line to the finish I was certain we would battle for the victory. This second title is really nice. I'm very proud to wear this tricolour again for one year. It's a very beautiful jersey and if you can ride in the international peloton with it, that feels great."

    Photos: Krist Vanmelle

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  • Interview with Sarah Rijkes

    25 may 2014 - 12:05

    Last week a selection of the Lotto Belisol Ladies took part in the Langenlois Cycling Days in Austria, the home country of Sarah Rijkes. She became ninth in the overall classification, after among other a sixth place in the short hill race on Saturday. The ideal occasion to get to know Sarah better, for whom it's the first season with the Lotto Belisol Ladies.

    Dutch roots
    Sarah Rijkes
    : "My father is a Dutchman. I was born and raised in Austria and he spoke German to me, but I learnt Dutch by speaking to my grandparents on father's side during their holidays. By riding in a Belgian team, I speak it more often. My dad raced when he was young, in the U23 category. We often went cycling with the family. I rode on a tandem with my father for example. One moment I got my mother's race bike. First she was afraid, but when I was fifteen years old I started competition. I graduated as a teacher. I do extra studies, but I'm finished for this semester and focus completely on cycling."

    Langenlois Cycling Days
    "It was cold and rained each day during the Langenlois Cycling Days. I liked it a lot to race in Austria, it was my first race in my home country in the shirt of the Lotto Belisol Ladies. We participated with a team of four riders. I didn't expect it to go that well, because I didn't do much race kilometers last year due to a crash. Last year I had to watch the race on the side of the road on crutches. Now I got out the best I could. I was very satisfied about the time trial in which I became thirteenth. It had been one and a half year since my last time trial. In the mountain sprint Saturday night I was sixth, I was happy with that result. The victory of Anisha Vekemans on the last day made our performance complete."

    Good feeling in the Lotto Belisol Ladies team
    "It's completely different to ride for this team. I'm very happy to be part of the Lotto Belisol Ladies. I feel good with the other girls and staff. The team offers me opportunities and I'd like to prove myself. In Belgium there's a real cycling mentality. Compared to Austria there's much more attention for women's cycling. In Belgium lots of people ask an autograph for example."

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