Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team returns to the home area of British champion Lizzie Deignan for the Tour de Yorkshire on 3 and 4 May. Although Deignan is not on the roster, the team has plenty of other options in the possible scenarios that can play out in the race. World champion Chantal Blaak, 2016 Women’s WorldTour winner Megan Guarnier and former world champion Amalie Dideriksen all line up in the Yorkshire race.
They are being supported by Anna Plichta and Skylar Schneider, who travel to Yorkshire from Luxembourg, where they helped Christine Majerus win stage one in the Festival Elsy Jacobs and earn second place overall.
Blaak was part of the winning team in 2017, where she raced aggressively to set up Deignan for the win. The British champion did indeed win, after a long solo attack from a lead group with teammate Anna van der Breggen and compatriot Dani King. Blaak looks back on Yorkshire with fond memories.
“I really enjoyed Yorkshire last year,” Blaak said. “The entire community was supportive of the event, which was great to see. There were a lot of crowds, the race was challenging and beautiful, and the prize money was equal to the men’s race. I’m really happy to return here.”
With a sprint finish in 2016 and Deignan’s solo arrival last year, the race is open to a number of race scenarios. Blaak feels it’s the collective strength of the team that allows them to go for the win again this year.
“We have a strong team in Yorkshire and we’re going to use that,” she said. “I just had a recovery week, so I’m not expecting to be able to finish it off myself, but I’m very motivated to make it a great race. Megan and Amalie are in great shape, so we have a number of cards to play. Anything can happen and I’m looking forward to it.”
Originating as a women’s non-UCI criterium in 2015, the Tour de Yorkshire was awarded UCI1.2 status a year later and upgraded to UCI1.1 in 2017. The race is now a two-day event for women, run alongside the four-day men’s event.
Stage one on Thursday 3 May runs from Beverly to Doncaster over 132.5 kilometers, and contains one GPM and two intermediate sprints. The first part of the stage is undulating, with a flat second half, making it an ideal sprinter’s stage. It will be an early rise for the women, as the start will be given at 8.40am GMT, or 9.40am CET.
On Friday 4 May, the second stage starts in Barnsley to finish 128 kilometers later in Ilkley, with a hilltop finish on the Côte de Cow & Calf. There is a GPM right from the start and one towards the final, plus there are GPM points to be earned on the finish line as well. Along the way, there are two intermediate sprints again. The start is at 9.00am GMT (10.00am CET).
Boels-Dolmans for Tour de Yorkshire: