The band is back together

Quartet of classics for men and women

1 month ago by Tom Owen

Rally Cycling is on the verge of an epic quartet of races that will see the men’s and women’s rosters reunited on the start-line of a bike race for the first time since 2019.

From race cancellations and last-minute flights out of Europe, to the protracted process of getting back into Europe last month with Hail Mary calls to international embassies, and the negotiation of lengthy quarantines, it has been one heck of a journey getting to this point. 

Thanks to the long days behind-the-scenes by operations staff and the personal sacrifices of the riders themselves, it’s a proud day for the organization to be lining up with both programs at the GP Isbergues on September 20. 

We’ll also be seeing the men in action at the two-day Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho in Portugal and France’s iconic semi-classic Paris-Camembert. The ladies will take on the Belgian climber’s one-day Trophée des Grimpeuses to round things off. 

Performance Director Patrick McCarty said, “To be lining the men’s and women’s roster up alongside each other represents another milestone on our journey back to normalcy. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Course previews

September 19&20 – Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho

Two bumpy days in the hills north of Lisbon, Portugal should make for hot and hectic racing. Both stages see the peloton on twisting, winding roads and while none of the climbs are over two kilometers long, the multitude of little laps and double-backs on the courses means there is never a moment of flat or straight. Unpredictable racing at its finest.

September 19 – Trophée des Grimpeuses

The name roughly translates as ‘trophy of the female climbers’, so you know it’s going to be a hilly one-dayer. This Belgian women’s race takes place on the French border in the famous Ardennes forest, with 3,600 m of climbing packed into 106 km. It starts and ends in Vresse-sur-Semois.

September 20 – GP Isbergues

The men’s and women’s rosters are finally reunited at the same race and finding some awesome form, so will be hoping to produce a double result. The men have 201 km to complete, while the women’s race is 117 km. Both courses start and finish in the northern French town of Isbergues, about 50 miles from Roubaix.

September 22 – Paris-Camembert

One of the oldest bike races in the world, first run as ‘Paris-Vimoutiers’ in 1906 when it was won by a guy named simply ‘Mary’ – no, honestly. The Butte des Vendits climb is covered twice, the second time with just 9 kilometers remaining. It is 1.2 km at 8% and should prove decisive in the race. 

Women’s roster
Krista Doebel-Hickok
Heidi Franz
Leigh Ann Ganzar
Chloe Hosking
Sara Poidevin
Emma White

Portugal roster
Rob Britton
Nate Brown
Nigel Ellsay
Gavin Mannion
Kyle Murphy
Emerson Oronte
Keegan Swirbul*

France roster
Stephen Bassett
Robin Carpenter
Pier-André Coté
Matteo Dal-Cin
Maël Guégan*
Colin Joyce
Jason Tesson*
Nickolas Zukowsky
(*trainee)

Race dates

September 19 to September 20
Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho
https://www.facebook.com/trofeujoaquimagostinho/
PORTUGAL

September 19
Trophée des Grimpeuses
https://www.tdgvresse.be/trophee-des-grimpeurs-vresse-sur-se
BELGIUM

September 20
GP Isbergues
http://gpisbergues.com
FRANCE

September 22
Paris-Camembert
http://paris-camembert.fr
FRANCE