Lizzie Armitstead and Marianne Vos among strong start list for 2016 Aviva Women's Tour

The Women's WorldTour race returns for its third edition in 2016

Braintree start, Women's Tour 2015, stage two
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

The Aviva Women’s Tour begins Wednesday (June 15) and is set to have the strongest field in its three year history.

The provisional start list was published on Tuesday and includes the likes of Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and multiple world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv), who won the first edition of the race in 2014, and is returning after injury.

The tenth round of the Women’s WorldTour will also feature last year’s winner, German former world time trail champion, Lisa Brennauer competing for her Canyon-Sram team, where she will be joined by Hannah Barnes, returning for her first British race since winning the final stage of the 2015 race.

Barnes’ younger sister Alice, who has dominated the Tour Series races so far this year, will ride for British team Drops Cycling Team. Wiggle-High5’s Lucy Garner is likely to miss the event after breaking two ribs in a Belgian race last Sunday, though her sister will be the youngest rider on the start line, representing Great Britain.

Also on the national team is Emma Pooley. The former world time trial champion left the world of professional cycling in 2014 to pursue a career in triathlon, but has been tempted back to cycling by an Olympic time trial course which perfectly suits her attributes and skills.

Watch: Canyon/Sram pro bike

There race will be won and lost on the second, third and fourth stages, which are hillier and more challenging than in previous editions. It is here that the likes of Armitstead, Vos and Johansson will battle for the general classification.

Since having a week off and a strong showing in the Tour de Yorkshire, Armitstead has been at home training, though showed well to win the Boels Rental Hills Classic last month, dropping Vos on the final climb and winning a three up sprint.

Boels-Dolmans bring a strong team to support the world champion, including 2015 stage winner Christine Majerus, 2013 time trial word champion Ellen van Dijk and Nikki Harris who will race through the Derbyshire she grew up in.

Vos lost 2015 to injury, but has bagged some good victories since returning to racing in March, however, she is yet to win on a lumpy course against top opposition.

She will be ably supported by Anna van der Breggen who has been altitude training in preparation for a defence of her Giro d’Italia title and, of course, the Olympics. Though Van der Breggen’s spent does not match Armitstead’s or her esteemed team mate, her strength in the hills should see her do well.

Consistent on any course, Swedish champion Emma Johansson all lead a strong Wiggle-High5 team team keen for success in their home race. Johansson list second on the WorldTour standings and will have Elisa Longo-Borghini, second in Sunday’s Philadelphia International Cycling Classic as support.

Top Briton at that race was Dani King, whose recent form proves she can be up there on next week’s parcours.

The race is bookended by likely sprint stages, where Barnes senior is likely to be hoping for success, though she will need to overcome this year’s form sprinter Dutch woman Kirsten Wild, riding for Norwegian team Hitec Products.

Wiggle-High5’s Belgian national champion Jolien D’hoore won Stage two into Clacton last year and will also be strong despite her preparations for the track events in Rio, and Finnish champion Lotta Lepsstö who's developed a strong sprint this year with Cervelo-Bigla.

Provisional start list

Canyon/Sram Racing

DS: Ronny Lauke

1 Lisa Brennauer GER

2 Alena Amialiusik BLR

3 Hannah Barnes GBR

4 Elena Cecchini ITA

5 Tiffany Cromwell AUS

6 Barbara Guarischi ITA

Wiggle High5

DS: Egon Van Kessel

11 Emma Johansson SWE

12 Jolien D'Hoore BEL

13 Giorgia Bronzini ITA

14 Dani King GBR

15 Elisa Longo Borghini ITA

16 Amy Pieters NED

Boels Dolmans Cycling Team

DS: Danny Stam

21 Lizzie Armitstead GBR

22 Chantal Blaak NED

23 Amalie Dideriksen DEN

24 Ellen Van Dijk NED

25 Nikki Harris GBR

26 Christine Majerus LUX

Alé Cipollini

DS: Fortunato Lacquaniti

31 Marta Bastianelli ITA

32 Annalisa Cucinotta ITA

33 Emilia Fahlin SWE

34 Małgorzata Jasińska POL

35 Marta Tagliaferro ITA

36 Anna Trevisi ITA

Team Liv Plantur

DS: Hans Timmermans

41 Molly Weaver GBR

42 Leah Kirchmann CAN

43 Floortje Mackaij NED

44 Sara Mustonen-Lichan SWE

45 Rozanne Silk NED

46 Carlee Taylor AUS

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling

DS: Rachel Heal

51 Linda Villumsen NZL

52 Annie Ewart CAN

53 Katie Hall USA

54 Coryn Rivera USA

56 Iris Slappendel NED

Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope86

DS: Nicolas Marche

61 Roxane Fournier FRA

62 Coralie Demay FRA

63 Eugénie Duval FRA

65 Pascale Jeyland FRA

66 Amélie Rivat FRA

Orica AIS

DS: Gene Bates

71 Amanda Spratt AUS

72 Gracie Elvin AUS

73 Alex Manly AUS

74 Loren Rowney AUS

75 Sarah Roy AUS

76 Taylor Wiles AUS

Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling

DS: Thomas Campana

81 Lotta Lepistö FIN

82 Clara Koppenburg GER

83 Ashleigh Moolman Pasio RSA

84 Joelle Numainville CAN

85 Stephanie Pohl GER

Rabo Liv

DS: Koos Moerenhout

91 Marianne Vos NED

92 Lucina Brand NED

93 Shara Gillow AUS

94 Anouska Koster NED

95 Roxane Knetemann NED

96 Anna Van der Breggen NED

Parkhoyrl Valkenburg

DS: Raymond Rol

101 Jip van den Bos NED

102 Janneke Ensing NED

103 Ilona Hoeksma NED

104 Jermaine Post NED

105 Ersa Tromp NED

106 Eva Burmann NED

BTC City Ljubljana

DS: Gorazd Penko

111 Eugenia Bujak POL

112 Polona Batagelj SLO

114 Urša Pintar SLO

115 Anna Plichta POL

116 Mia Radotic CRO

Cylance Pro Cycling

DS: Manel Lacambra

121 Rossella Ratto ITA

122 Rachele Barbieri ITA

123 Sheyla Gutiérrez ESP

125 Valentina Scandolara ITA

126 Alison Tetrick USA

Drops Cycling Team

DS: Bob Varney

131 Alice Barnes GBR

132 Sophie Coleman GBR

133 Rebecca Durrell GBR

134 Jennifer George GBR

135 Laura Massey GBR

136 Hannah Payton GBR

Great Britain

DS: Julian Winn

141 Emma Pooley GBR

142 Emily Kay GBR

143 Grace Garner GBR

144 Manon Lloyd GBR

145 Annasley Park GBR

146 Jessie Walker GBR

Hitec Products

DS: Bart Lismont

151 Kirsten Wild NED

152 Simona Frappporti ITA

153 Tatiana Guderzo ITA

154 Lauren Kitchen AUS

155 Julie Leth DEN

156 Emilie Moberg NOR

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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.