UCI Women’s WorldTour comes to an end
The inaugural UCI Women's WorldTour has come to an end. The series of races made up the highest level of the sport as the governing body looks to raise the profile of women's cycling. The second part of the calendar proved a highly successful one for Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team. Since the Aviva Women's Tour in June, the team visited the podium in every WWT event it lined up in, except for Prudential Ride London Grand Prix where it finished sixth.
In the Aviva Women's Tour, Lotta Lepistö won the final stage with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio completing the race second overall. The race marked the start of impressive cohesion in team tactics that would see the team visit the podium several times in the following weeks.
After the Women's Tour, the team lined up for La Course by Le Tour de France, the race that takes place on the Champs-Élysées. It would be another impressive performance with great aggression shown from the gun. Lepistö sprinted to a brilliant second place followed by teammate Joëlle Numainville in fourth.
After a great time in the Women's Tour where riders left impressed by crowd attendance, it was time to head back to the UK, this time, to race in the centre of London around some of the world's most recognised sites such as Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. The flat course made for a bunch sprint. Team leader Lepistö crashed in the sprint but quick thinking from Numainville saw her push on to finish sixth.
Everything leading to August was a build up to the Olympic Games in Rio, so it was always going to be interesting to see the level of motivation the athletes returned with. The athletes showed an absolute level of professionalism and commitment when it travelled to Sweden for the team's first team time trial of the season. The team arrived a week before the event as it prepared to better its fourth place from last year. Starting as an underdog, the team set the fastest time at the first check and the second fastest at the second. Eventually, the incredible performance was the second fastest on the day as the team visited the podium yet again in the WWT.
Before the start, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio encouraged her fellow athletes, saying despite cycling being a team sport, this is one of the only times the entire team could stand on the podium if it performed well.
Following the TTT on Friday, the Swedish weekend of racing featured a road race on Sunday. Lepistö showed her versatility as more than a bunch sprinter and slipped into the successful break of the day. The result: second place, another visit to the podium.
The final WWT event the team would line up in, took place on French soil. GP de Plouay-Bretagne, a familiar event where Moolman-Pasio placed fourth one year previously. The race was a nail-biter and a great one for TV viewers as an unpredictable finish didn't make the winner known until the last possible moment. 6 riders slipped away only to be joined by 8 others with 500 metres to go. Numainville held her cards close to her chest for the majority of the race until she opened up a powerful sprint with 300 metres to go.