GP de Plouay – Classic Lorient Agglomération Trophée CERATIZIT ‘23 Preview

The race with many names, the GP de Plouay is a tough attritional one-day race that travels around the undulating landscape of the Morbihan area of Brittany. The course forms a rough figure of 8 before completing a finishing circuit in the same town as the start.

The first edition of the race took place in 2002, making this the 22nd year of the race. It’s a race that’s known for a high drop-out rate, so riders will truly have to be made of tough stuff to triumph, just as last year’s winner Mavi Garcia, then at UAE Team ADQ, proved.

The race will boast a line-up of top Women’s World Tour teams and riders for a punchy, explosive battle that should make for excellent entertainment.

The Route

It’s a long day out for the women’s peloton as the total distance they will have to cover is almost 160km – 159.8km to be exact, and with 2,286m of altitude gain, there’s very little that could be classed as flat during the day, with constant undulations and plenty of short, punchy climbs leading to lots of repeated efforts which will really start to tell in the legs later on in the race.

Travelling south from Plouay, the route takes the riders down to the coast at Guidel, before heading east and north once more back to the point of origin.

The route finishes with 2.5 circuits around Plouay, featuring two punchy climbs and a descent of around 7km to the finish line where the 2023 race winner will be decided. It’s likely to come down to a reduced bunch sprint from whoever can hang on to the bitter end, so keep an eye out for the fastest among the puncheurs.

Riders to Watch

A classic on the women’s calendar, the race attracts a wealth of talent every year, and will see the very best in the women’s peloton go head-to-head in one of the final opportunities for one-day glory of the 2023 season.

Wearing the number 1 dossard, last year’s victor Mavi Garcia (Liv Racing TeqFind) would love to do the double on a parcours that really suits her skillset, but she’ll have fierce competition from a range of threats. Perhaps the greatest among them, as is often the case this season, will be SD Worx, who have the power of Marlen Reusser and speed of Elena Cecchini, though if you’re looking for strength in depth then Canyon//SRAM might tip the balance on the day. Kasia Niewiadoma, Chloe Dygert, Soraya Paladin and Elise Chabbey are all strong options for a team who have really upped their game in 2023. Lidl-Trek are also pretty stacked, with Lizzie Deignan, Amanda Spratt and Elisa Balsamo all options for the team depending on how the race pans out.

Liane Lippert will lead Movistar – the German will be keen to show the dogged determination and punchy climbing skills that led her to a Tour de France Femmes stage win. FDJ SUEZ bring Grace Brown, who is always a threat especially if a strong breakaway can get clear, and UAE Team ADQ will hope that Silvia Persico will show the skilful bike handling and fast finish that led her to victory in De Brabantse Pijl earlier this season.

Other riders to keep an eye on include the Tour de France Femmes’ best young rider Cedrine Kerbaol of CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling, Fenix-Deceuninck’s Yara Kastelijn who can handle herself well over tricky terrain, and Paris-Roubaix Femmes winner Alison Jackson (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB). There’s also a strong presence from AG Insurance-Soudal QuickStep, led by veteran Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, and with Justine Ghekiere and Ally Wollaston providing outside chances for victory.

Riders to watch (GC)

5-stars Lotte Kopecky

4-stars Chloe Dygert

3-stars Liane Lippert

2-stars Lizzie Deignan

1-star Silvia Persico

Summary

When – Saturday 2nd September

Where – France

What – One-day race

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