The Women’s World Tour peloton heads to France this Saturday for the Grand Prix de Plouay Lorient Agglomération Trophée Ceratizit.
‘The’ summer classic, Plouay is a long-standing event on the women’s calendar that invariably serves up aggressive and exciting racing.
A new, redesigned course awaits the peloton this year and whilst organisers have opted to eschew the synonymous ‘Plouay laps’, the route still promises to deliver exciting action.
The 21st edition will see the bunch head out on a 130km circuit that traverses the 14 municipalities of Lorient Agglomeration before tackling two, new 11km finishing loops around Plouay.
The finishing loop features 3 tough ‘kickers’ – La bosse de Rostervel, La bosse du Lezot and Bosse de Kerscoulic – any of which could prove decisive and act as launchpad for race winning moves.
Covering a total of 159.5km on narrow, technical Bretton roads alongside 2197m of short, sharp climbing, it will be a tough, attritional day in the saddle that will undoubtedly crown a worthy winner.
Riders to Watch
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo) will look to defend her title this Saturday and as a climber who thrives in unrelenting races she is well suited to the demanding nature of Breton roads. After a brilliant ride back in April to take the win at Paris-Roubaix, can she make it two French classic wins from two? Teammate and winner of the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden RR a few weeks ago, Audrey Cordon- Ragot will also be a rider to watch. A Breton native, Cordon Ragot will have plenty of roadside support and will undoubtedly be motivated to perform well on home soil.
French Team – FDJ – will certainly want to clinch a victory in their ‘home race’ and they’re lining up with a very strong squad. Winner of the Tour of Scandinavia last week – Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is joined by Grace Brown both of whom will be in contention for the win. Likewise, teammate Evita Muzic will also be a threat. The young Frenchwomen from Lons-le-Saunier has had a great season thus far and she’ll be hoping she can improve on last year’s fifth place.
Compatriot, Juliette Labous (Team DSM), is another rider who will want to put in a top performance on home soil. After a 4th at the Tour a few weeks ago, the 23 year old will hope she can rise onto the podium this time round.
Team SD Worx always line up with several tactical cards to play and Saturday is no different, despite the notable absence of Demi Vollering. In terms of capitalising on their climbing prowess, they can turn to the likes of Anna Shackley and Niamh Fisher-Black whilst Marlen Reusser and Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak will provide ammunition for any long-ranging attacks.
Leading the line for Team BikeExchange-Jayco is likely to be Kristen Faulkner, who, having recovered from a spring concussion is now back racing at her best as evidenced by her two stage wins and the QoM classification win at the Giro. The American was third in Plouay last year and will be hoping she can go two better this time round.
Coryn Labecki (Team Jumbo-Visma) will be hoping for a bunch sprint and an opportunity to unleash her powerful finishing kick. The Californian has been second (2019) and third (2018) in Plouay but to date the top spot has eluded her. Could 2022 be the year that Labecki clinches the win?
Other riders who are likely to feature at the sharp end of affairs include Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ), Veronica Ewers (EF Education-Tibco-SVB), and Silvia Persico (Valcar – Travel & Service).
When: 27 August
What: 159.5km road race
Riders to watch:
Elisa Longo Borghini ***
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig ***
Grace Brown ***
Juliette Labous ***
Kristen Faulkner ***
‘Watch the Femmes’ TV Coverage:
Eurosport, Discovery and France 3
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