ORICA-SCOTT women hoping for some hard racing at the Women’s Tour

Sat 3 Jun 2017

A strong and versatile six-rider squad will line up for ORICA-SCOTT women at the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour in the heart of England next week, with the Australian outfit looking forward to a challenging five-day race.

After a successful spring the team will be aiming to carry their form into a busy summer of racing with in form Australians Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy spearheading the squad on the back of strong performances in the last couple of weeks.

Roy ran out a clear winner at the one-day SwissEver GP Cham – Hagendorn, whilst Elvin made the podium on the opening day of the Spanish stage race Emakumeen XXX. Bira.

Elvin and Roy will be supported by a trio of bright young stars of the Australian racing scene, Alexandra Manly, Jenelle Crooks and Georgia Baker alongside experienced all rounder Rachel Neylan who returns after a period of recuperation from injury.

“Upon finishing the inaugural Women’s Tour in 2014,” said sport director Martin Barras. “Race director Guy Elliot asked our then rider Emma Johansson, who had led the race before finishing second overall what he could do to make the race better. Johansson replied, ‘please make it harder.’”

“Guy and his team certainly did this and this years edition is both hard and also testament to Guy and his colleagues skill in creating a canvas on which the racers can express their racing artistry. The Women’s WorldTour has a vision of – the best riders with the best teams in the best races – and the Women’s Tour of Britain certainly ticks those boxes.”

Five days of tough racing will see the Tour move from the North to the South of England and include challenging terrain that will favour both the general classification teams and the opportunists.

“The first stage is an opportunity for the sprinters to show their ability,” explained Barras. “Particularly as the finish has a technical subtlety forcing the sprinters to not only choose their line carefully, but also time their effort impeccably. The final stage finishes in central London and will herald the arrival of women’s cycling at the heart of the British capital.”

“However it is the three stages in the middle that really create wonderful opportunities. Stage two has a very solid finish with the two biggest climbs of the race coming at the 25kilometres to go marker and stage three repeats the pattern, but with less violent climbs near the finish. Stage four sees the race move into the Peak District national park early on, providing what will be a tired field with choices and opportunities.

“Opportunism will define our approach. By taking both Gracie and Sarah to the Women’s Tour we have two fast riders with the ability to take chances and achieve results.

“Alex Manly is in the middle of her best season ever and whilst it will be a substantial challenge, this race presents her with a chance to test herself at the highest level there is. Jenelle, Rachel and Georgia will provide us with effective support and that all important element of versatility.”

ORICA-SCOTT at the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour (7th June – 11th June):

Georgia Baker (Aus, 22)

Jenelle Crooks (AUS, 22)

Gracie Elvin (AUS, 28)

Alexandra Manly (AUS, 21)

Rachel Neylan (AUS, 34)

Sarah Roy (AUS, 31)

Ovo Energy Women’s Tour Stages:

Wednesday 7th June, Stage 1: Daventry – Kettering, 147.5km.

Thursday 8th June, Stage 2: Stoke-on-Trent – Stoke-on-Trent, 144.5km.

Friday 9th June, Stage 3: Atherstone – Royal Leamington Spa, 151km.

Saturday 10th June, Stage 4: Chesterfield – Chesterfield, 123km.

Sunday 11th June, Stage 5: London – Regent Street, St James, 88.2km.

Photos courtesy of ©