Cylance Pro Cycling has reached the turning point from the cobbled classics to enter the hills of Ardennes Week. The first race that marks this transition in the season is the Amstel Gold Race. Even though Amstel Gold takes place in the Netherlands, and it is not geographically within the Ardennes, it is still regarded as the beginning of Ardennes Week. The races that follow are Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Flèche-Wallone. All three of these races are a part of the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar. Although Flèche-Wallone has had a women’s race for many years, Amstel Gold Race has not had a women’s edition since 2003 and this is the first edition of the women’s event for Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
The women will first line up to the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, April 16th. Although the Netherlands are typically known for being flat, this race takes place in the hilly southern region of Limmerg and covers 14 hills. After starting in Maastricht it travels 121.6 kilometers through the “bergs” of the southernmost part of the Netherlands and finishes 1.6 kilometers after cresting the Cauberg.
Following a top 20 at the Tour of Flanders, and a top 10 in the Grand Prix Dottignes, Sheyla Gutierrez (ESP) is ready to face Ardennes Week with power and focus. Guitierrez has show she is one of the most consistent classics riders this year in the peloton, and she continues to get stronger with each race.
“The Classic races make you the best version of yourself, and now I know I can continue to do better!” says Guiterrez. She will be joined by Rossella Ratto (ITA), who has used her experience and ability to guide the team as a unit through the technical terrain. Marta Tagliaferro (ITA), Malgorzata Jasinkska (POL) and Willeke Knol (NED) will be strong additions for the race.
Cylance Pro Cycling for 2017 Amstel Gold Race:
After conquering the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, the women will then face the true tests of the Ardennes in both Flèche-Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege the following week.
On April 19th, 2017, the women will race 120km during Flèche-Wallone. The race starts and finishes in Huy with a total of seven climbs, including two times climbing up the brutally steep Mur de Huy with a maximum gradient of over 19%.
In 2016, the team saw success at Flèche-Wallone with Sheyla Guiterriez making the break for the majority of the race as the team was active and attentive. With a bolstered roster, and gained experience, the team is looking to make a difference at this race.
Dani King (GBR) will be added into the roster to compete at both Flèche-Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. With her powerful riding style and tenacity up the climbs, King will be a solid addition for Ardennes Week.
“I’m really excited about racing Flèche-Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.” says King. “Flèche has been a race that suits me in the past with short climbs and generally coming into the finish with a smaller group. I think the change in course will potentially change how the race is ridden, but it is always a race! Having a women’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege is really specially and something I’ve been looking forward to. For women to have these monumental races alongside the men is really important. I think the race will be super hard, and I can’t wait to get stuck in with my teammates!”
It will be the first time the women will race Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and it is an exciting addition to the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar. The race takes place on April 23, 2017. After beginning in Bastogne, the race will travel 135 kilometers to finish in Ans. The first major climb is the 6.7 kilometer Cote de La Vecquée at kilometer 75, and then will finish up the set of ascents, Cote de La Redoute, Cote de La Roche-aux-Faucons and the Cote de Saint-Nicolas before finishing up the unclassified climb into Ans.
“Anything can happen in these races in the next week, but you know you need power and ability, both mental and physical” say Manel Lacambra, Director Sportif. “The team is ready to perform after a week off, and we are always excited to do our best at big races like the Ardennes.”
Roster for 2017 Flèche-Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Cylance Pro Cycling is excited to be a part of the growing UCI Women’s World Tour and represent our sponsors on these large international stages. Follow along the team as they #bringthegreen in Ardennes Week!