CYCLING Preview: Women’s Tour title maybe on the line in Spain; men in annual trek to Quebec

Another win in Quebec coming up for Slovakia's Peter Sagan? (Photo: Amgen Tour of California)

Two races remain on the 2019 UCI Women’s World Tour schedule, with the two-stage Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta this weekend and the Tour of Guangxi (CHN) in late October. The seasonal title is up for grabs:

1. 1,472.67 ~ Annemiek van Vleuten (NED
2. 1,467.00 ~ Marianne Vos (NED)
3. 1,302.33 ~ Lorena Wiebes (NED)
4. 1,240.17 ~ Kasia Niewiadoma (POL)
5. 1,095.00 ~ Anna van der Breggen (NED)

It’s not clear who will race in Spain yet, but van Vleuten apparently will race in China in October.

In terms of the Madrid Challenge, it’s a two-stage event on Saturday and Sunday, with a 9.3 km Individual Time Trial in Boadilla del Monte, followed by a 98.6 km, flat road race on Sunday.

This is the fifth edition of this race; it has been won twice by Belgian sprinter Jolien D’Hoore (2016-17) and last year by Dutch star Ellen van Dijk. American Coryn Rivera has been second in each of the last two years. Look for results here.

The men’s World Tour is in Quebec for back-to-back races in Quebec City and Montreal on Friday and Sunday. First up is the 10th Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, with a 201.6 km course with 16 laps of a hilly, 12.6 km loop.

This is a good prep race for the upcoming World Road Race Championships and has attracted a fine field, including six prior medalists:

● Michael Matthews (AUS) ~ Winner in 2018; third in 2017
● Peter Sagan (SVK) ~ Winner in 2016-17
● Greg van Avermaet (BEL) ~ Second in 2016-17-18; third in 2013
● Rui Costa (POR) ~ Third in 2012
● Anthony Roux (FRA) ~ Third in 2016
● Jasper Stuyven (BEL) ~ Third in 2018

Sagan has been on a reduced schedule to cope with fatigue following the Tour de France, so this will be a good chance to check in on his condition. Van Avermaet has been frustrated with three consecutive runner-up finishes, but the winners who finished ahead of him – Sagan and Matthews (AUS) – are back as well.

There are a lot of other stars to watch out for, notably Tour de France hero Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, Britain’s Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates, Canada’s Michael Woods, Australian Riche Porte, South African Daryl Impey and others. Look for results here.

Sunday’s 10th Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal is a similar concept, with 18 laps to a hilly, 12.2 km course for a race total of 219.6 km. The same riders are entered and there are six former winners and nine previous medalists expected back:

● Michael Matthews (AUS) ~ Winner in 2018 (swept both races)
● Peter Sagan (SVK) ~ Winner in 2013; second in 2010-16
● Greg van Avermaet (BEL) ~ Winner in 2016; third in 2018
● Rui Costa (POR) ~ Winner in 2011; second in 2014; third in 2015
● Diego Ulissi (ITA) ~ Winner in 2017; third in 2016
● Tim Wellens (BEL) ~ Winner in 215
● Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED) ~ Third in 2017
● Adam Yates (GBR) ~ Second in 2015
● Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) ~ Second in 2018

Alaphilippe has been in this race three times, with a best of 10th. Check for results here.

The penultimate BMX Supercross World Cup for 2019 is being readied at the famed course in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with competitions on Friday and Saturday. The current leaders, after three races:

Men:
1. 800 ~ Niek Kimmann (NED) ~ 2018 World Cup Champion; second in 2015
2. 680 ~ Joris Daudet (FRA) ~ 2018 World Cup runner-up; 2011 Champion
3. 550 ~ David Graf (SUI) ~ 2016 World Cup runner-up
4. 540 ~ Jeremy Rencurrel (FRA)
5. 470 ~ Alfredo Campo (ECU)

Kimmann has been sensational, finishing 8-2-1-1-1-1 in the six races so far this season, but Daudet hasn’t been too far behind at 1-6-7-2-3-2.

Women:
1. 670 ~ Laura Smulders (NED) ~ 2016-17-18 World Cup Champ; third in 2014-15
2. 665 ~ Alise (Willoughby) Post (USA) ~ 2012-15 World Cup bronze medalist
3. 600 ~ Judy Baauw (NED) ~ 2018 World Cup bronze medalist
4. 595 ~ Manon Valentino (FRA)
5. 550 ~ Simone Christensen (DEN) ~ 2016-17 World Cup bronze medalist

Smulders had a rocky start to the season, but has come on of late, finishing 13-8-3-1-1-1 in her six races. Post ‘s results are close to that: 11-4-2-2-2-3. Baauw has been the most consistent, but only a medalist twice: 2-7-1-5-5-9.

With scoring of 150-130-115-100-90 points awarded in each race, nothing has been decided as yet.

Many of the riders will remember the 2017 World Championships held at Rock Hill, especially Post, who won the women’s title over Caroline Buchanan (AUS) and Mariana Pajon (COL). The men’s World Champion was American Corben Sharrah, ahead of Sylvain Andre (FRA) and Daudet.

Look for results here.

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