Worlds week makes me so happy, especially because it’s so easy for people who aren’t hardcore fans to get engaged with women’s cycling. It’s right there on tv, there’s tons of media around, so I like to do my bit to help, by giving people unfamiliar with the sport some riders to cheer for. People tell me who their favourite male rider is, and why they like him, and I give them the equivalent rider in the 2015 women’s road race World Championships – or if they’re completely new to cycling, their favourite kind of sports/person. I call this Equivalenting, and I’ve already made a Richmond 2015 post, full of riders who have fun, push themselves, are good team players and are underdogs, and you can see posts from previous years as well.
In this post, equivalents of Peter Sagan, Matti Breschel, Ian Stannard, Ed Clancy,
Lots of people, like Robert Burgholzer, want a Peter Sagan equivalent, and there are two amazing all-rounders here who fit the bill in different ways. Actually, they have palmares Sagan can only dream of!
Defending champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot currently holds THREE rainbow jerseys right now (4 if you count MTB Relay!), as in the last 12 months she became World Champion in the 2014 road race, Cyclocross and Cross Country MTB. She’s this phenomena of cycling – hasn’t ridden much road this year, just 9 races, but has racked up a win in the women’s Giro, two Road World Cup podiums and 2 other top 10 places, and retained her French National Champion’s jersey. She’s a phenomenal rider, aggressive and explosive, not a stranger to controversy (I’m on her side), and ever since she won Junior World Championships on the road & MTB has been touted as “the next Marianne Vos” – so of course Vos got her signed to her Rabo-Liv team when PFP’s learned from the best. It took her until last year, aged 22, for that junior promise to translate to elite wins, but once she started, she hasn’t stopped. Can she win here again? THAT’s the big question! Find out more about her on her website, follow her twitter, and read this BBC profile of her.
OK, OK, that might be a bit unfair on Sagan, so let’s look at road only. And here’s another big favourite for Richmond, PFP’s Rabo team-mate, Anna van der Breggen, who this year won the first European Classic of the year, the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, then the Flèche Wallonne Road World Cup, the Dutch ITT Champs, and the only women’s grand tour, the Giro Rosa. What do you do after that? Attack in the last lap of La Course, the women’s kermesse on the Champs Elysées on the last day of the Tour de France, and steal the ultimate sprinters’ race from all the sprinters! She’s so versatile, has already won a bronze in the Richmond TTT, a silver in the ITT, can she add gold too? This course has long power stretches, cobbles, technical sections, climbs… she can do all that! Find out more about her on her website, follow her twitter, and read her Cyclingnews Richmond Q&A.
Nick Palmer wants a Stannard type: “Big tough classics riders are the greatest. raw power, modest hard man, no big ego but can take them all on”
I mentioned Ellen van Dijk in the previous post, as a rider who works for her team, but this description fits her too. She’s all POWER, I love her grins of pain as she destroys the bunch on the cobbles – for some reason I hum this to myself when she really gets going – her attack to win the 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen, for example. She’s so talented, but really down-to-earth and Read Part 1 for other reasons to like her – and when she answered some questions about the course yesterday, she said she was going to take out her ITT frustration on the road today – I cannot wait! Follow her on her twitter, and find out more about her on her website.
Abigail like Voeckler as he’s “always in the break & a conscientious presence in peloton. His playfulness, easy smile, passion for the sport and dedication to the team which equates to the entire women’s peloton. 😀“
My Voeckler is always USA rider Evie Stevens, and not just for her huge smile and the crazy faces she makes when she’s suffering! She shows real dedication to the sport, which she came to late – she was a Wall Street financier who gave up a seriously well-paid job to become a cycling nomad – and you’ll find profiles of her everywhere, but I especially love this Bicycling one from 2010. She’s a climber, so this might be too Classics-y for her, but she was the first American to win the Philadelphia Classic, after it moved to the new course finishing on a climb, which is pretty similar to this course…
Midge Tremanye asked for “a Matti Breschel equivalent: One day racer, great positioning, nose for an attack, loves cobbles, peaks for Worlds”.
I’m splitting this into two, starting with nose for an attack, and I’m picking another Dutch woman, the current National Champion, Lucinda Brand. She’s a great Classics rider, the one Marianne Vos says has the best bike handling skills in the peloton, her positioning is impeccable, and while she’s not the top sprinter, her ability to kill it in the corners and attack unexpectedly wins her tons of races – while Elena Cecchini has said that she learned which breakaways to go for by always watching Brand! This year Brand won 2 Giro stages, once from a break and once with a descending masterclass – watch out for her in the technical sections of this course. She’s working for Van der Breggen, but could easily catch the peloton by surprise and win herself. Check out her website, follow her on twitter, and read her post-Stage-7-Giro Q&A.
Then, peaking for Worlds…. Giorgia Bronzini! She’s a Italian sprinter who’s always up in the results, as when she won the Chong Ming Island World Cup this year, but she comes into her own for Worlds – she’s won the Road World Champs in 2010 and 2011, and has a Points World Champs jersey to boot. She’s great in races – when racing for team mates she’s out in the breaks and attacking, when for herself she’s completely invisible until the finale when she explodes out of nowhere. She can get over hills, too, and the Italians have been the most successful women’s Worlds team of the last 10 years, because they put ego aside and just don’t care who wins as long is she’s Italian. If this one comes down to a bunch sprint she’ll definitely be a contender! She’s got a great twitter, so follow her!
Brendan asked for a Geraint Thomas: “Souplesse, HUGE power output, great tactical brain & unwavering loyalty. He also makes it look easy.”
This one’s a German rider, one of the most experienced Worlds riders in Richmond, the fantastic Trixi Worrack. She’s this tiny little super-aggressive rider who is 100% about the team result. She loves it when it’s nasty conditions, eats cobbles for breakfast, and is the safe bet for “most combative” in every race she starts. I especially loved her racing with Lisa Brennauer, another favourite for Worlds, to help Lisa win three of the biggest stage races, the windy, flat Energiewacht Tour, the rolling Aviva Women’s Tour (of Britain!) and the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, finishing on the Cauberg. And yeah, the way Worrack can get away from a peloton riding full gas, or win the Team Time Trial Worlds for four years in a row with Velocio-SRAM – yeah, you’d think it was easy but it’s just her HUGE skills!
Mick Brooks wants local riders, and we have two! The favourite on everyone’s lips is 2014 and 2015 Road World Cup winner Lizzie Armitstead who’s hungry to add a Road World Champs gold to her Olympic silver, Commonwealths gold and her three 2015 Road World Cup wins, at Trofeo Binda, Philadelphia Classic, and the other Richmond-esque race, GP Plouay. Lizzie is a genuine superstar of the sport – watch her video interview with BBC sport and read it too.
The answer to this one should be easy, it should be Dani King, who powered the Great Britain team pursuit squad to World and Olympic gold, and is this super-powerful domestique for Wiggle Honda… but for reasons best known to them, British Cycling have dropped her from the track team, and then because of that, left her off the Worlds team even though she was out in Richmond anyway for the TTT. So gutted for Dani, she’s had a shitty year, but worked so hard for her team, and there’s just not an equivalent in the British squad. Read more about this in the Telegraph, and send her commiserations on her twitter.
But there are other strong team pursuit riders in Richmond – lots of riders combine road and track, but Rushlee Buchanan was part of the New Zealand TP squad that won 2010 Worlds bronze, and remember, Lizzie Armitstead is a former Team Pursuit World Champion too….
As always, feel free to make other suggestions in the comments, or on twitter.
Check out all my video collections, podcasting and suggestions of who to follow under my Richmond 2015 tag – and if you need any help following the World Championships road race, my guide is here., and ask me for help on twitter. As always, I’m funded to do all this by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you all so much!