Few stars, but many talents and finally with live TV

Preview of the 35th Thuringia Women’s Tour

By Felix Matisse

Kathryn Hammes won the Lotto Thuringia Women’s Tour in Keratizet – WNT in 2019. | Photo: Cor Vos

05/23/2022 | (rsn) – It’s Germany’s hottest stage: The 35th women’s Tour Thuringia begins on Tuesday in the Bavarian Hof. There are six stages in the program and for the first time there will be live TV daily on MDR (see TV times below) and on Eurosport Player (both 2-4pm).

Spectators there will be able to witness a number of very interesting talents, but unfortunately for the first time in years there are hardly any big stars in women’s cycling. Because racing has one problem: As a ProSeries event, it’s overshadowed by the Women’s WorldTour, which has grown so big this year, and barely fits into the full calendar of a major team.

The Tour overlaps with the new WWT stage race next weekend in London, and more mountain bikers have just finished two tough races in Spain. So on Hove Tuesday, only one of the 14 WorldTour teams will be at the start: BikeExchange-Jayco — and that’s probably with his second suit.

However, event director Vera Holfield and her team can look forward to three world champions or Olympic champions and three former cross-country champions as well as a number of promising and interesting talent in the starting field. Lisa Brennauer and Franziska Brauße initially with German team Ceratizit – WNT, as well as Laura üßmilch, Sanne Cant and Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado with Plantur – Pura or Thalita De Jong as captain of the Dutch national team.

Brennauer wants “to lead by example and support the Thuringia Tour”

“The Thuringia Tour is currently the only international Tour in Germany, which is of course what makes it particularly valuable for us German riders. That’s why my team and I decided to drive here again and not on the simultaneous London Tour,” explained Brenauer.

“I also want to set an example and support the Thuringia Tour. Of course it’s a pity that the tour didn’t make it to the WorldTour a few years ago because it deserves that spot. But it’s still great what has been achieved here for years,” said the 2017 and 2018 overall winner.

Since the Women’s WorldTour was introduced in 2016, the question arises every year as to whether and when Thuringia will belong to the first league. The starting field has always been right, and the organization has always been good. However, the UCI, the World Cycling Union, lacked TV images – it initially needed to feature a WorldTour license, but for two years now, regulations have required a 90-minute live production.

Live TV broadcasting is a very important step

Unfortunately, Hohlfeld and her team weren’t able to deliver on that and remained in the second category, ProSeries. Until 2021 this wasn’t a problem for the starting roster. The big teams came in anyway because of the reputation of the race. But that changed with the 2022 WorldTour calendar, which is now almost twice as wide.

“The live broadcast now is definitely a step forward,” says Brennauer, and tour head Hohlfeld is relieved to get it up and running: “Live has finally become a special kind of appreciation for me. I’m so happy I’m really excited that we can finally show that.” In theory, the WorldTour license could now become a problem again. However, in practice, you first have to find a place in the calendar that does not conflict with other races.

Hohlfeld and her team have already had a tough year in terms of regulation – first the coronavirus pandemic caused problems, now inflation is weighing on the budget. “Everything has been made more difficult this year because of the global crisis — a lot of additional costs,” Holfield recently told the Wind Kante podcast.

In Thuringia one could be more proud that they were once again able to start the Tour, while elsewhere in Germany none of the top male organizers were able to fund and organize a women’s race – neither in Frankfurt, nor in Cologne, Hamburg, or anywhere else. . Germany tour.

The future in the WorldTour or as a talent promoter – where does the path lead?

In terms of sports, the somewhat thinner starting slate now opens up other interesting perspectives: because if the really big names are missing out, a few promising talents could now be in the spotlight. Dutch team Parkhotel Valkenburg and Mischa Bredewold have some of them in their baggage, and German Canyon-SRAM’s WorldTour racing team rookie team, Canyon-SRAM Generation, is also initially debuting with Germans Ricarda Bauernfeind and Antonia Niedermayer.

All names must be remembered because they may end up at the top of the world in the future. And from that point of view, they might also look good on the list of Thuringia Tour winners in a few years’ time.

“I have great confidence in Ricarda Bauernfeind – not only here, but also in the years to come,” Hohlfeld says. The third from Germany 2021 in Stuttgart as well as the third from the Andalusia Tour at the beginning of the month have been a bit bad lately: “I had to take a break after the Volta Andalusia,” the 22-year-old said, but promised: “But I’m back in training and getting back in shape.” . I will do my best.”

Jumbo duo leads the national team

In addition to Australia’s Robbie Rosemann-Gannon, the two candidates are Germany’s Romy Kasper and Linda Redmann, both contracted to Jumbo-Visma, who are both starting with the German national team in Thuringia. Redman won the opening match of the Bundesliga in her hometown of Karbine on Sunday, ahead of Casper.

However, there is a big question mark about what Brenauer will look like. The two-time title winner had to dispense with Paris-Roubaix in mid-April due to infection with the Corona virus and is now running her first race since then. “I had a headache for a long time, and that was my main problem,” she explained in the run-up to the tour. She’s back in training for two weeks now, but: “I’ve lost a lot of substance because of the break and I won’t be fully fit at the start of the Tour of Thuringia.”

Difficult course without time trial

For the absent Lucinda Brand to succeed this year in the yellow jersey, she will definitely need quick legs over the next six days for rewards in the final stage finishes and middle races. But pure sprinters will have a hard time, because Hankaberg in Stage 3 around Dörtendorf, for example, is back in the program as a small mountain end and Section 4 is driving through the Thuringian Forest to the Schleizer Dreieck motor racing circuit. There has been no time for trial in Thuringia since last year.

Hohlfeld predicted, “I think the hardest days will be Dörtendorf, Schleiz and Gotha,” but also noted that “the initial decision can happen every day, even on the first day — as in 2019, when I left an underrated group. At that time, Catherine Hammes celebrated the overall victory in the Tour, which for reasons of advertising law was known only in Thuringia as the Thuringia Women’s Lotto Tour.

Phase 1, May 24: Hof – Hof, 93.8 km (Live on MDR: 3:15pm-4:00pm)
Phase 2, May 25: Jira – Jira, 99.6 km (Live on MDR: 3:15pm-4:00pm)
Stage 3, May 26: Dorttendorf – Dorttendorf, 129.2 km (Live on MDR: 2:05pm – 3:10pm)
Stage 4, May 27: Schles – Schles, 127 km (Live on MDR: 3:15-4:00 p.m.)
Stage 5, May 28: Gotha – Gotha, 133.1 km (Live on MDR: 3:20pm – 4:20pm)
Stage 6, May 29: Altenburg – Altenburg, 104.3 km (Live on MDR: 3:30-4:25pm)

the difference:
WWT: BikeExchange – Jiko
Professional team: Ceratizet – WNT, Plantur – Bora, Parkhotel Valkenburg, Le Cole – Wahoo, Cobb – Hitec Products, Arkéa, Canyon – SRAM Generation, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, Roxsolt Liv SRAM, BePink, Lotto Soudal Ladies
National teams: Holland, Belgium, Germany
Club teams: The Stuttgart team, Maxx Solar Lindig

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