With the team time-trials out of the way it is the turn of the women’s individual time-trial as the likes of Anna Van Der Breggen, Ellen Van Dijk, and Lisa Brennauer will all be looking to add the Rainbow Jersey to their palmares.
All the top bike racers in the World have descended on Qatar and more specifically the capital Doha this week, in what promises to be a cracking week of racing. On Sunday we saw the team time-trial’s in which Boels-Dolman’s took Gold in the women’s event, and a strong Etixx-Quickstep team won the men’s event, but now it is the turn of the women as they look to negotiate a 29.9km course in the blazing Qatar heat.
Armstrong and Villumsen decide against Doha heat
With Kristin Armstrong, and last year’s winner Linda Villumsen deciding against racing the TT this year, it has opened up the race to a whole multitude of potential winners.
The American, Armstrong who won Olympic Gold, at the age of 43 in the individual time-trial in Rio was the favourite, but now that she is not competing there are plenty of other riders that will be looking to take home the glory.
Armstrong only managed to finish fifth in the event last year; but considering her record breaking summer many thought, that if the 43-year-old did decide to race in Doha this week it would have been hard for her competitors to take the crown.
Villumsen was also another surprise omission, last year she won the TT and was expected to defend her Jersey, but again the New Zealander felt Doha wasn’t for her on this occasion.
Winner could come from anyone
With Armstrong and Villumsen not competing, it really has opened up the field; the women’s peloton is currently flourishing at the minute with plenty of superb riders capable of winning today’s event; there’s no clear favourite so it will be interesting to see who will end up on the top step of the podium.
But saying that, there are names that stand out from the rest of the peloton, and the most notable rider is Holland’s Van Der Breggen. The 26-year-old is currently enjoying a superb run of form, in Rio she took home Gold in what was an exciting but dangerous women’s road race, and then only a couple of weeks ago she won the European Championship road race; and with Armstrong and Villumsen not in attendance, you can’t look no further than the imperious Van Der Breggen.
Van Der Breggen’s compatriot Van Dijk will also be another contender for the Rainbow Jersey; the 29-year-old Dijk is a great all-round cyclist and is well capable of producing a blitzing performance in the hot and humid conditions that Doha will bring on Tuesday.
Simmonds and Barnes could cause a stir
Hayley Simmonds who has performed impressively in the National TT’s and has broken countless record along the way might be able to cause a stir today; the Brit is a well accomplished time-triallist and if things go her way we could see something special happen.
Hannah Barnes from Canyon SRAM is also another Brit who will be racing; but it is unlikely the 23-year-old, who is predominantly a sprinter will be up there in the final reckoning.
Despite the heat and uncomfortable conditions that await the riders, the women’s TT promises to be an intriguing watch; with some big contenders missing out, it really is a chance for someone to upset the odds and take home the Rainbow Jersey.