Emma Silversides is a professional cyclist for the Lotto Belisol team and is based in Belgium. Here she shares her insight into the continental women’s scene.
The weeks following the Tour de France are hectic here in Belgium and indeed in Holland. Natour Criteriums take place most evenings; that is Post-Tour crits.
For the men they usually start around 8pm and are purely for show; the outcome is completely fixed and it’s simply a crowd-pleasing display of pros pitched against a few local amateurs. Certainly worth watching once all the same, that I did this week!
However, for the women, there is no ‘pre-race’ plan, it’s a true race! I am pleased to say that the British girls stamped their authority here this week. I was not able to participate in the crits, after the collarbone break I have to be really careful not to overcook it.
Emma Trott, Hannah Mayho and Dani King filled the podium in Diksmuide. Hannah got on to the top step later in the week with Nikki Harris taking second and Dani third. There were indeed many Brits in the top ten of each race.
The strongest women were in Sweden this weekend for the TTT WC followed by the Open Suede Vargarda. Cervelo stamped their authority in the TTT with a 1.22 winning margin over Columbia. While on Sunday it was DSB’s Vos who got the better on Cervélo’s Kirsten Wild.
The Brits were heavily present in Bochum, Germany for the Sparkassen Giro. This UCI race is preceded by an evening criterium. Lizzie [Armitstead] took the flowers in the criterium for Lotto-Belisol.
On the Sunday it was the turn of Lotto’s Gilmore. Lucy Martin came in sixth for the national team, while Scotland’s Kate Cullen grabbed 8th for her Moving Ladies team.
I joined 90 other girls in Erondegem on the edge of the Flemish Ardennes for a 107km kermis race. I took a chance on an early break. With my break-away companion (yes, only two of us!) we established a two minute lead.
We were away for 83km, a long day! I suffered with cramp in the final kilometres and simply finished in the peloton. A good day out and some great training.
Next on the calendar for the girls- Holland Hills Classic and Route de France stage race.
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Above: team-mates Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Silversides