Every and every year we can see junior women’s cycling grow… but sadly girls are still far, far away from having as many international races as boys. 2017 women’s junior Nations Cup has only been composed of four competitions (two stage races and two one day races), but apart from that no other 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 or 2.2 race has taken place — the only 1.1 competition will be Chrono des Nations, in October.
And it’s precisely a time trial what will be the first race in the European Road Championships, held this week in Herning, Denmark. Junior women will fight for their continental title after having compited only twice this year in an international time trial… so surprises will come!
What happened last year?
Nobody could fight against Italian power, as Lisa Morzenti and Alessa Vigilia made the 1-2 for the azzurra. Côte de Cadoudal was the place where the medals were decided and over the top of that climb 14 seconds made the difference between the two Italian riders. The no. 1 favorite for the win was Juliette Labous, who raced at home, but the French rider could only get the bronze medal.
How is the course?
Flat. Basically flat. The riders will face an easy parcours without technical complications apart from a 180º turn within the last two kilometers. The only “climb” (which should be considered a garage ramp better than a real climb) is placed between kilometers 9 and 10, but it should not affect the pure time trialists’ options.
Who can win here?
Big question! As we said before, we only have references from two other time trials this year, apart from those riders who were also last year in the Euro and World Champs in Britanny and Qatar. But we like taking risks, so we’re going to said that our main favorite for the gold is Anne de Ruiter, a Dutch rider who won the opening time trial at Omloop van Borsele. She’s also the national TT champion and was second at the Healthy Ageing Tour prologue. The also Dutch Britt Knaven also has options of getting a medal.
Last year Italy’s Alessia Vigilia took the silver medal being a first year rider, so this could be her time of becoming European champion. And when we talk about Italy we must mention our beloved Letizia Paternoster, who will make her debut in a Euro Road time trial, but we all know she can shine in a race like this — in fact, Paternoster is the current Italian TT champion, after being 1 min 18 s faster than Vigilia… in 19 kilometers!
We must also highlight names like Shari Bossuyt (Belgian champ, 12th in the Borsele TT), Mariya Novolodskaya (Russian champ, 5th in the 2016 Euro TT Champ), Luxembourg’s Ann-Sophie Harshch (8th last year), or France’s Dorine Granade (winner of the 2016 Chrono des Nations). Brexit seems to have affected this Euro Championships, as Britain will not compete… when they could have won the gold medal with Jessica Roberts.
The Spanish Armada will be represented in the time trial by Castilian Sara Martín and Basque Maialen Aramendia. Martín was 13th last year, but this time the course is not as hard as she’d wish. Anyway, let’s hope both of them can surprise Europe!