The 3rd edition of the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire promises to be the biggest yet, with live TV coverage on both Eurosport 2 and ITV4 the opportunity for women’s cycling has never been bigger. In addition the race is the richest one day event for women in the world, with an astonishing prize pot of €41k.
The race promises to be fast from the start, with a relatively gentle profile until the village of Lofthouse when the main and most brutal climb of the day will be fought out, from there the run is is again fast but there are a few stings in the latter stages on some smaller roads near Fountains Abbey. Off the back of the recent week of Ardennes Classics, were Anna Van Der Breggen and Lizzie Deignan led their Boels Dolmans team to 3 successive 1-2’s everyone is expecting all eyes to be on them give the superb form they are in.
Over the course of the last 3 years, the organisers of this event have taken women’s cycling to new levels and have always been willing to listen to feedback and work to improve the race year on year. From the 1st edition which was a kermesse style event in York, to last year riding the full route of the men’s stage 2 from Otley to Doncaster, the event is again following that new format and further providing the best possible platform for women’s cycling. The future looks bright for further expansion of the race to0, something that will be welcomed by the women’s peloton.
Lining up for Storey Racing on Saturday will be 6 riders who have excelled in various events over recent weeks and will be excited to test themselves against the world’s best.
Neah Evans makes her road racing debut for the team after a hugely successful winter on the track. Her form throughout the autumn in the Revolution Series was unrivalled and she continued to impress in the Six Day events, earning herself a place on the GB Endurance squad for the Track World Cup in Columbia. Now training full-time as part of the GB set-up, Neah will be looking forward to a varied road season to further strengthen her form and add to her back end endurance on the track.
Chanel Mason stands on the start line after an impressive start to the domestic race season. Placing 3rd in the first two rounds of the National Road Race Series, Chanel is now in the series leaders jersey, with the next round in Lincoln in 3 weeks time. Also showing her prowess in the Road Time Trial event, Chanel won the athlete category in the recent Buxton Mountain Time Trial and although riding a standard road bike with no aero equipment, her time would have placed her 4th in the TT bike category!
Jen George had great success in the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016, finishing 7th in the bunch sprint in to Doncaster. Having worked on her climbing even more throughout the winter, she has been an integral part of the success of the team in the early part of the season and provides the team with incredible fire power in the most challenging parts of the race.
EJay Harris had a breakthrough season in 2016 placing frequently inside the top 10 in UCI Time Trial events and providing incredible horse power to the front of races where required, including at the Tour of Yorkshire. Ill-health forced an early finish to her season when she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, which has been successfully treated. Now back in training and working to build herself back up, EJay has already made the podium in early season events and has been back to her workhorse ways for the team.
Beth Crumpton is another rider who had success with a strong ride at last year’s Tour de Yorkshire, in a season where she was combining road, cycle-cross and cross-country mountain biking. Having made the decision to focus fully on the road this year, Beth has been making further progress, is a technically superb rider and capable of climbing and descending with the best. This will provide the team with some skilled options at all points of the race.
Laura Cameron completes the line up and gives the team strength in her positioning. The support she provides to her team mates in the early parts of races is superb and getting them to the right places within the peloton vital to the success of the team as a whole. With perhaps the most limited amount of time to train due her job in Central London, Laura has an incredibly tough mindset having spent so much of the early winter mornings on her turbo before a long commute in to work each day.
Speaking of the race and team roster, Sports Director, Barney Storey said, “I am excited to see this team up against the UCI teams who have been dominating the racing in Europe. British roads are notorious for being heavy and challenging to ride, and our team have prepared well for the event.
Once again the Tour de Yorkshire is setting a high bar for women’s cycling and proving what is possible when women’s cycling is showcased properly. We have seen the preparations of the villages and towns along the route during our recce two weeks ago and the riders will have great support at every stage of the race.”
Notable in her absence from the team line up is Dame Sarah Storey, co-owner of the team alongside her Sports Director husband, having announced only this morning on social media that she is pregnant with the couple’s second child. Although not racing, Dame Sarah will travel to Yorkshire as part of the support staff and will continue to support the team with logistical, social media and marketing management alongside her role as a rider, which for the time being will be limited to training miles only.