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UCI Women’s World Tour: 5 Riders to Watch in 2020

By Megan Flottorp

Already underway, the 2020 UCI Women’s World Tour is comprised of 21 events spread across 10 countries. With more resources being poured into women’s cycling and a strict mandate for additional television coverage, there will be plenty of opportunities to take in some of the action. From epic mountain battles to hectic highway sprints, there’s a packed calendar and something to suit everyone’s racing preferences. With so much going on, though, it can be hard to know who to keep an eye on.

There’s no doubt that we can expect to see more of what we love from the sport’s top riders. Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Braggen, Marianna Vos, Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Marta Bastianelli are all poised to have big seasons but who else can we anticipate might have a breakout race and distinguish themselves from the pack? Here are a few of our top picks.

Jessica Pratt

Selected out of a field of nearly 9,000 competitors, Jessica Pratt is the latest rider to win a pro contract for 2020 with Canyon//SRAM through the Zwift Academy program. After an impressive performance at the final training camp in Spain, Pratt beat out fellow Southern Hemisphere riders Catherine Colyn of South Africa and Samara Shepard of New Zealand for the prize. The closest finish in the competition’s 4-year history, she took the title after navigating her way through the eight workouts and four online group rides. Off to a strong start, she came in fourth in the young rider’s category in the Women’s Tour Down Under in January and is clearly eager to show what she can do over the rest of the season.

Lorena Weibes

There’s no doubt that 2019 was a wild year for Lorena Wiebes. From beating Marianne Vos to become Dutch national champion at just 20 years old or amassing 19 big wins, her rise to the very top of women’s cycling has practically read like a fairy-tale – and she is just getting started. Although 2020 got off to a bit of a rocky start as Wiebes faced legal action from her current team, Parkhotel Valkenberg, for wanting to terminate the contract early, things appear to be back on track. As it stands, she will continue to race with the squad for the first half of 2020, being freed to sign with a new team upon the transfer window’s opening on June 1. Although what colours she’ll be racing in for the second half of the season remains to be seen, it seems likely that this fierce young rider is headed for the top.

Leigh Ann Ganzar

Leigh Ann Ganzar, of UCI Women’s Continental Team Rally Cycling, also had a pretty incredible 2019 racing season. The 30-year-old American stood on a WorldTour podium, won her first UCI race, and got a taste of the ruthless nature of European Classics races. In May of last year, she hit a career high when she was third on the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California and won the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic a week later, marking another point in her rapid four-year rise in pro cycling. Starting off as a top-tier runner, Ganzar found cycling after suffering an injury in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. She has already established herself as a versatile rider who can excel in sprints, road races and even time trials. At the Colorado Classic, she finished in the top 10 of the uphill Vail individual time trial and did so on a road bike with clip-on bars, despite competing against riders who had sleek aerodynamic time-trial machines. We’ve come to expect the unexpected from this one and are looking forward to seeing what she does over the coming months.

Brodie Chapman

After two seasons with American team Tibco-SVB, Aussie racer Brodie Chapman has joined the French outfit FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope for the 2020 season. General Manager Stephen Delcourt told Cycling Tips that, “the arrival of Brodie shows the team’s ambitions for 2020. Brodie is one of the best climbers in the world as she proved at the Tour of California, in Colorado [Classic] and at the Flèche Wallonne.” Indeed, she has been consistently proving herself since bursting on to the pro scene in January 2018 when she won the inaugural Women’s Herald Sun Tour. The 2019 season was also a success for Chapman who claimed five strong victories and was second on a stage and overall at the Colorado Classic in August. With a fresh team to get excited about, we expect to see her take this momentum into the 2020 season.

Liane Lippert

Germany’s Liane Lippert had a fantastic start to the year with a 2nd place overall in the Tour Down Under and is certainly a rider to watch out for. Riding for Sunweb, the 22-year-old overcame the heavy rainfall on the Geelong waterfront and crossed the line with both arms in the air, rightfully celebrating the biggest win of her career. From 2013, Lippert was nominated each year in the German squad until she got her first professional contract in 2017. It has been a steady climb since and with such a strong start to this year’s racing, we can expect big things!

As you can see, there is plenty of talent to keep an eye on and as the 2020 racing season continues to unfold, we’ll have plenty to cheer for. Here’s the full schedule for the remainder of the Women’s World Tour 2020:

1. 7th March: Strade Bianche (Italy)
2. 15th March: Ronde van Drenthe (The Netherlands)
3. 22nd March: Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio (Italy)
4. 26th March: AG Driedaagse Brugge – De Panne (Belgium)
5. 29th March: Gent – Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (Belgium)
6. 5th April: Ronde van Vlaanderen (Belgium)
7. 19th April: Amstel Gold Race Ladies (The Netherlands)
8. 22nd April: La Flèche Wallonne (Belgium)
9. 26th April: Liège – Bastogne – Liège (Belgium)
10. 7th– 9th May: Tour of Chongming Island UCI (China)
11. 8th– 13th June: OVO Energy Women’s Tour (Great Britain)
12. 26th June – 5th July: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile (Italy)
13. 10th July: La Course by Le Tour de France (France)
14. 8th August: Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda West Sweden TTT (Sweden)
15. 9th August: Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda West Sweden RR (Sweden)
16. 13th – 16th August: Ladies Tour of Norway (Norway)
17. 22nd August: GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération Trophée WNT (France)
18. 25th – 30th August: Boels Ladies Tour (The Netherlands)
19. 5th – 6th September: CERATIZIT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta (Spain)
20. 20th October: Tour of Guangxi – UCI Women’s WorldTour (China).