The Girls’s Tour Down Below – which was cancelled in 2021 and 2022 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic – will, for the primary time, open the 2023 Girls’s WorldTour in Australia,
In what has been a 12-year construct towards the highest tier for ladies’s racing, the three-day race might be held from January 15-17, the place the general winner may also take dwelling the collection’ first chief’s jersey of the skilled racing season.
The occasion will host six Girls’s WorldTeams, together with 4 Continental groups, a home squad and two nationwide groups from Australia and New Zealand, for a complete of 78 riders. Cyclingnews highlights simply among the riders to look at.
It has been an thrilling begin to the yr for Amanda Spratt as she started her racing season on dwelling soil below the model new colors of Trek-Segafredo and secured podium finishes on the Bay Crits and within the highway race on the Australian Nationwide Championships.
She enters the Girls’s Tour Down Below with a goal on her again as a three-time winner, having received the marquee dwelling stage race in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Now in its first version on the Girls’s WorldTour, and with a contemporary outlook on her profession, Spratt will purpose to win a report fourth total title.
The route is well-suited to her strengths as a punchy rider, particularly for stage 2 into Uraidla, and her strengths within the longer climbs might be an asset for the hilly queen stage 3 finale, which incorporates Corkscrew Highway into Campbelltown.
Grace Brown will lead FDJ -Suez off the again of a constantly robust 2022 season. Her strengths are within the time trials, with a gold medal on the Commonwealth Video games and a silver medal on the World Championships, and she or he not too long ago received her third time trial nationwide title in Mount Helen.
Whereas there isn’t any time trial on the Girls’s Tour Down Below, her power on this self-discipline exhibits her capability to assault and maintain off the peloton. She’s a savvy, versatile rider, and final yr, she was seventh on the Tour of Flanders, second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, took a stage win and second total on the Girls’s Tour, and received a stage on the Problem by la Vuelta.
Brief and hilly stage races are, typically, her forte, and given her current run of success within the time trial on the Wollongong World Championships and Australian Nationwide Championships, the place she was additionally second within the highway race, it could be no shock to see her carry that type into an total title at this yr’s Girls’s Tour Down Below.
Alex Manly proved once more she isn’t just a observe rider, or for that matter solely a help rider on the highway, with a standout season final yr with some head-turning performances throughout the Spring Classics and summer-fall stage races on the Girls’s WorldTour.
She was the highest-placed end amongst her group in most of the hilly Spring Classics earlier than placing on a present on the Thüringen Women Tour, the place she received 4 phases and the general title. Then on the Girls’s Tour, she confirmed off her dash when she completed second behind Lorena Wiebes on stage 3 and completed fourth total. Later within the season, she received a stage and completed third total on the Tour of Scandinavia and took three top-10s in phases on the Problem by la Vuelta.
Opening her highway racing season with newly-named Group Jayco AlUla will definitely give the house group a card to play in phases and the general GC.
The American rider was additionally a stand-out performer final yr, with outcomes that marked her finest season after switching to EF Schooling-TIBCO-SVB. An eighth at Flèche Wallonne, fourth total at Vuelta a Burgos, and an total victory at Tour Féminin Worldwide des Pyrénées, Doebel-Hickok has hit her stride within the hilly to mountainous terrain.
She sustained a damaged collarbone in a crash whereas racing stage 2 Ceratizit Problem by La Vuelta, which marred the top of an in any other case profitable season, and meant that she couldn’t take part on the World Championships in Wollongong.
She isn’t any stranger to the Australian summer time racing season, having excelled within the Girls’s Tour Down Below with fourth place total in 2019. Wholesome and absolutely recovered, look ahead to this climber on the ultimate stage into Campbelltown.
Brodie Chapman is the newly topped highway race nationwide champion, and she or he might be exhibiting off her new jersey with Trek-Segafredo. A second card to play within the GC, alongside Amanda Spratt, Chapman is one to look at for the profitable breakaways.
Though the opening stage seems to be one for the sprinters, there’s a late-race ascent over Chaffeys with a median gradient of 5.9%, coming at a little bit greater than 30km into the racing. Stage 2 might additionally current a main alternative for a breakaway with two categorised climbs into Uraidla.
If Chapman can repeat her national-title-winning breakaway on the Girls’s Tour Down Below, it might web her a minimum of a stage win and, maybe even the general victory.
Whereas Alex Manly will seemingly be a contender for the general title on the Girls’s Tour Down Below, we can not overlook her Jayco AlUla teammate Ruby Roseman-Gannon for the general and significantly for the opening stage dash to take the occasion’s first chief’s jersey in Aldinga.
Roseman-Gannon swept up the title within the Santos Competition of Biking final yr and has once more come into this season in prime situation, profitable the primary two phases and the total title on the Bay Crits. She was additionally fourth within the highway race and time trial on the Nationwide Championships.
Maybe much more spectacular have been her performances throughout her first season racing in Europe in 2022, the place she opened her account, ending second behind then-World Champion Elisa Balsamo in her first race at Setmana Valenciana. And she or he did greater than show her power as a sprinter, ending within the high 10s on the hilly Spanish races Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar, Emakumeen Nafarroako and Navarra Girls’s Elite Classics, and took a few high 10s on the Thüringen Women Tour. She earned a spot on BikeExchange-Jayco on the rebirth of the Tour de France Femmes, the place she completed eighth on stage 4 into Bar-Sur Aube, after which closed out the season with fifth total on the Simac Women Tour.
It will likely be thrilling to see what this 24-year-old can do together with her first profitable yr of racing on the Girls’s WorldTour below her belt.
A Canadian racing overseas with large desires of shifting as much as the WorldTour ranks, Simone Boilard is a former junior girls’s highway race medallist on the World Championships.
Boilard will compete in her second season with St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 in 2023, which discipline two playing cards to play on the Girls’s Tour Down Below alongside Coralie Demay.
She discovered a house with the France-based group after recovering from surgical procedure to right iliac artery endofibrosis and a nearly-fatal sepsis an infection in 2020.
Prime-10 performances on the Bretagne Women Tour, RideLondon Classique, Diamond Tour, Tour de France Femmes, and Tour de l’Ardeche, together with a 3rd place on the Canadian Championships behind winner Maggie Coles-Lyster (Zaaf), who can be racing in Australia, present that she constantly grows stronger every season.
A savvy rider who can each dash and climb, Boilard is on the cusp of an enormous win, and the Girls’s Tour Down Below might be her likelihood to shine.
Rachel Neylan will line up with the Australian Nationwide Group as she begins her thirteenth season of racing within the skilled peloton. She seemingly will not be becoming a member of her Cofidis commerce group till the European spring season, however on the Girls’s Tour Down Below, she can have a powerful group that features final yr’s Australian highway champion Nicole Frain and Josie Talbot.
Whereas the group, on paper, isn’t as robust as among the collaborating WorldTeams, Neylan brings a wealth of expertise to the race. Stage 2 will swimsuit the group’s probabilities to execute a breakaway, whereas Neylan can maintain her personal on among the steeper climbs, particularly on the queen stage 3 finale.
The 2012 World Championship silver medallist has been striving to get again to her finest after a number of group setbacks lately. In 2021, Neylan made a mid-season switch to Parkhotel, completed sixth on the Tour of Norway, and took two podium outcomes at Giro dell’Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine, indicators of a comeback. She then got here into the 2022 season with a brand new contract with Cofidis and a concentrate on the Tour de France Femmes, the place she completed twenty eighth total. Watch Neylan proceed her late-career upward trajectory to kick off the 2023 season.