Women gear up for historic run at Classics

Team to finish season with four consecutive one-days – Brabantse Pijl, Gent-Wevelgem, Flanders, and Roubaix

2 months ago by Rebecca Bland

Rally Cycling’s women team is looking ahead to an aggressive Classics campaign, with the team receiving unprecedented invites to four historic races. The quartet of one-dayers, including two monuments, will take place over the next four weeks beginning with Belgium’s Brabantse Pijl on October 7 and wrapping up with the first-ever women’s Paris-Roubaix in France on October 25. 

For some riders, this will be the first opportunity to ride the Classics in their career, but the most experienced member of the team, Chloe Hosking, can’t wait to share her experience.

“It’s going to be a huge learning experience for the girls doing the races for the first time and I’m really glad, and hopeful, that I can use my experience to help them make the most of their first Flanders Classics experiences.”

Hosking on the team’s Brabantse Pijl recon ride in Overijse, Belgium.

Emma White, current World Champion in the Team Pursuit, is one such rider making her debut.

”These races are normally held in the springtime and would conflict with my work on the track, so I’m more than excited to seize this opportunity. I’ve been dreaming of these races.” 

For the entire roster, this will be the most intense race block they’ve experienced in the 2020 season and Hosking can’t wait to get into it.

“So much of the cruelty and the beauty of the Classics is that the rider who wins is the rider who had the least bad luck. We have to hope we have luck on our side and we go from there. These races epitomize what one-day bike racing is all about. I’m pumped to tackle them with the ladies.”

Following the team’s smashing success at the Tour de l’Ardèche and GP Isbergues, the riders got to enjoy a nice little break in order to prepare properly for the upcoming assault on the Classics.

“We’ve had a couple of weeks since the last race and have taken that time to properly recover and recon the upcoming courses,” added White. “We’re going into it to prove that we belong and to get results. There is no excuse to hold anything back.”

White is ready for the cobbles.

The team will be looking to round out their European campaign in style by adding some further big results to the 2020 season. The chance to compete in a historic first edition of Paris-Roubaix is massive, even for a seasoned pro like Hosking.

“To finish our season off with Roubaix is a bit of a pinch-yourself moment. We had to wait a while to find out if we got it, but once we did I thought ‘I don’t know if I’m ecstatic or scared shitless’. It’s like we’re going to war. Everyone’s super ready to fight and never give up and just soak in the atmosphere that is Paris-Roubaix.”

Roster for upcoming Classics campaign: Heidi Franz, Leigh Ann Ganzar, Chloe Hosking, Sara Poidevin, Emma White, and Lily Williams.

Upcoming races at a glance

Brabantse Pijl (10/7)
Lennik > Overijse, 122km

Featuring a 122km course with no less than twenty short climbs for the riders to tackle, however, the overall profile remains relatively flat presenting sprinters with a prime opportunity to shine in the Ardennes.  

Gent-Wevelgem (10/11)
Ypres > Wevelgem, 142km

The iconic race will take place over 142km and includes two dirt road sections to test the rider’s bike handling skills. Traditional Classics riders and sprinters often succeed here due to the flatter parcours of the course from Leper to Wevelgem.

Ronde van Vlaanderen (10/18)
Oudenaarde > Oudenaarde, 135km

The Tour of Flanders or the Ronde van Vlaanderen will be held on October 18 taking in a slightly reduced route of 135km. Historic climbs including the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg are where we expect to see the decisive race moves in this iconic monument of cycling. The course will make for an exciting race, and with a slightly shorter route compared to last year we can expect to see some aggressive racing. 

Paris-Roubaix (10/25)
Denain > Roubaix, 116km

Finally! The first-ever women’s edition of Paris-Roubaix will be hosted on October 25. Riders will race a 116km route including 17 sections of cobbles totaling 29.2km overall and finish in the iconic Roubaix Velodrome. An exciting new addition to the WWT calendar that will attract the crème de la crème of Classics riders eager to win the first-ever edition of this women’s monument.