ORICA-SCOTT women look forward to the inaugural Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes

Thu 20 Apr 2017

The Ardennes cycling week concludes this Sunday with ORICA-SCOTT set to take part in a historic first for women’s cycling, the maiden edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes.

With the men’s race boasting 125 years of history, 2017 marks the first time ever that a women’s La Doyenne has been staged.

The route will cover135.5kilometres and includes one of the most famous climbs in world cycling, the Cote de La Redoute alongside six other tough ascents that all arrive in the second half of the race.

“Another first for the ladies, we see the finish to the spring classics with Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” said sport director Gene Bates. “We’ve had a great spring campaign this year, probably our best ever and we are really focused to finish off the last race of the spring in fine style.”

After Annemiek van Vleuten ran a close third at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday and then fourth at Fleche Wallonne Feminine yesterday with Australian champion Katrin Garfoot also placing top ten and hitting form the team justifiably approach Liège with confidence.

“I think the feeling in the team is ‘lets give it our best shot’,” continued Bates. “There’s definitely no pressure on the team and everyone is really relaxed. It is a nice way to enter a race like this, relaxed and confident of being able to have a great race.”

“As it’s a first edition, we really aren’t 100% sure how the race will unfold, but certainly with all the climbs stacked in the final part we expect a very difficult finale – a real race of attrition all the way to Liège.”

Gracie Elvin returns to the team after her second place at the recent Tour of Flanders with Santos Women’s Tour champion Amanda Spratt and fellow Australians Jenelle Crooks and Georgia Williams completing a strong and versatile line up.

“It feels great to have more than one option here,” explained Bates. “After a quite a bit of bad luck in the last two races we are hopeful that Katrin in particular can overcome this and get a chance to show her good form.”

“Also Spratty has been hiding in the shadows a bit and it will be good to have her up there in the final on Sunday. Of course we have Annemiek, who is in really great shape and super excited about this one.

“When you factor in Elvin, Crooks and Williams, I think it’s fair to say we have a strong team that is capable of producing something special. Either way we won’t die wondering and we are certainly looking forward to the race.”

ORICA-SCOTT AT Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Sunday 23rd April):

Jenelle Crooks (AUS, 22)

Gracie Elvin (AUS, 28)

Katrin Garfoot (AUS, 35)

Amanda Spratt (AUS, 29)

Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 34)

Georgia Williams (NZ, 23)

Photos courtesy of ©