Mitchelton-SCOTT women looking for their first victory in SwedenTue 13 Aug 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT women head north to Sweden later this week for the 17th and 18th round of the Women’s WorldTour series, Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden, a 36kilometre team time trial followed by a 149.7kilometre road race the next day.
The Australian outfit is looking for their first victory in the Scandinavian event after coming close on different occasions in the past, and this year bring in a strong squad ready to tackle a modified and challenging road race course that features eight gravel road sections for 2019.
Fresh from a recent win in the Basque Country, Sarah Roy will be a key player and suited to this kind of course alongwith Georgia Williams who had a strong performance at the recent Clasica San Sebastian.
The time trial course begins in the city centre before heading out along a wide open road followed by a small loop, before the riders return along the same long stretch of road and back to the city centre. The course is predominantly flat, reaching 135metres at it’s highest point and is slightly shorter than previous editions.
Sunday’s road race course has been modified for 2019 and is now made up of one large lap of 69.3kilometres which contains five gravel road sections, ranging from two to six kilometres long which could cause significant splits in the peloton.
The riders then take on four laps of a 11.4kilometres circuit before returning to the centre of town for another four laps of 15.3kilometres which features plenty of tight corners, narrow roads, a short but draggy climb each lap and one more gravel road section per lap.
The Australian outfit has been close but has never been able to secure a victory in the TTT or road race event in Sweden. In the TTT, the team’s best result was second place in 2012, followed by third place in 2013 and fourth place in 2014.
The same goes for the road race with the best result being second place from former rider Emma Johansson.
"We’re looking forward to the ttt. The course has changed since the previous years to be more flat and fast, a little shorter too. As a team we’ve put a lot of effort into our time trial skills and ability the last years so it’s good to get a chance to execute what we’ve practiced, and see how much we can get out of each other.
"The road race has also changed slightly. We now have more gravel sections towards the end which will make it a harder race. I’ve always enjoyed this race and have wanted to go well here but haven’t managed a reault as yet so I’m excited for the new changes which should suit the team really well.
"We have our more ‘Classics’ style group heading there and I think we can have a great race together."
Martin Vestby - Head Sport Director
“The TTT is always a good warm up for road race and we hope to ride technically well and see what we can do there.
“We have multiple cards to play in the road race from different scenarios and that will be our strength. Roy and Williams have shown good form recently and will be our two key riders for this course.
“The road race is hard and with the changes made to the course this year it can be even harder. There’s a new gravel section on the big loop and six local laps at the end of the race makes it harder.
“They’ve also added in gravel sections on the three last local laps, so this year it is a proper gravel road race. Its exciting and we have good riders for this kind of racing.”
Saturday, 17 August: Vårgårda WestSweden TTT, 36km
Sunday, 18 August: Vårgårda WestSweden Road Race, 149.7km
Photos courtesy of Getty Images