Great Britain Cycling Team has selected a ten-rider squad for the women’s Energiewacht Tour in the Netherlands from 8-12 April, blending the talents of British Cycling Olympic Podium, Academy and Development Programme road and mountain-bikers.
Cross-country mountain-bikers Annie Last, Alice Barnes and Beth Crumpton will join road and track specialists Emily Kay, Manon Lloyd and Emily Nelson for the elite women’s race from 8-12 April.
Megan Barker, Rebecca Raybould, Abigail Dentus and off-road specialist Ffion James will contest the three-stage junior women’s event for Great Britain from 9-11 April.
Annie Last’s selection for the Energiewacht Tour is the latest chapter of the increasing cross-over between the cross-country mountain bike and road set-ups within the Great Britain team.
Last was a surprise selection for the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada and impressed in the hills of north-west Spain in her support of team leader Lizzie Armitstead, eventually finishing 38th despite being caught up in one of a number of crashes.
Back on dirt, 24-year-old Last joined the Liv Giant off-road team in February 2015 and recorded a fourth-place finish at the first round of the British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series in Sherwood Pines.
Alice Barnes is the second of a trio of cross-country specialists to ride the five-day road event. 20 year-old Barnes also competed on the road for Great Britain at the road world championships last September.
Barnes impressed in the first round of the British cross-country series, taking second, the top-placed British rider behind Belgian winner Gita Michiels.
Bethany Crumpton took fifth place finish at Sherwood and the Energiewacht Tour will be the 21-year-old’s first competitive road race in Great Britain colours.
For 19-year-old Emily Kay it will be a second participation in the event, the former junior world pursuit champion having finished eighth in the points classification of the 2013 junior edition.
Kay will be joined by Manon Lloyd and Emily Nelson, with whom Kay has raced and trained extensively on road and track as part of the Welsh Team USN set-up.
Eighteen-year-old Lloyd comes into the road season after a packed winter on the track, contesting the UCI Track Cycling World Cup and Revolution Series for Team USN.
Nelson was, like Kay part of the foursome that won a junior world title in 2013 and completes the senior Great Britain line-up.
Four British Cycling Olympic Development Programme riders will contest the shorter junior edition of the race.
Younger sister of podium athlete and multiple team pursuit world champion Elinor, Megan Barker was part of the Great Britain team selection for the 2014 road world championships, finishing 51st in Spain last September.
She is joined by Rebecca Raybould, who comes off a strong winter track season contesting the Revolution Series’ Future Stars competition.
Abigail Dentus gains selection after performing well at Revolution, racing the senior events and notching up two domestic wins so far this season at the Imperial Winter Series at Hillingdon. Dentus has already had a taste of international action in 2015, starting the UCI 1.2 Le Samyn des Dames race in early March.
Like Last, Barnes and Crumpton in the senior rankings, Ffion James is another off-road specialist temporarily eschewing the dirt to ride on the road for Great Britain.
Abergavenny-born James, younger sister of Becky and Rachel, last rode for Great Britain at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Hafjell, Norway, in September, finishing 13th in the junior women’s event.
The elite women’s Energiewacht Tour is a UCI 2.2 rated five-day stage race that has taken place in the Groningen region of the Netherlands since 2011.
The 2015 edition of the race begins with a 2.5-kilometre prologue time trial in Winsum before stage one proper on 9 April, a 105-kilometre loop starting and finishing in Westerwolde.
A team time trial around De Onlanden follows on 10 April, with a 111.8-kilometre road stage starting and finishing in Westerkwartier following later in the day,
Stage three is a 117.8-kilometre loop from Stadskanaal with a 105-kilometre loop from Borkum rounding out the racing on 12 April.
The past four editions of the race have seen Dutch riders dominate, with Holland’s Lucinda Brand beating compatriot Vera Koedooder and German Trixi Worrack in 2014.
The junior women’s edition will echo that of the elite women with three shorter stages using the main event’s start locations from 9-11 April. Junior racing begins with a 72.2-kilometre stage from Westerwolde on 9 April with a 15.1-kilometre team time trial at De Onlanden on 10 April. A 61.1-kilometre road stage from Stadskanaal will decide the final placings on 11 April.
How to follow the race
Reports, results and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.
Live coverage of the elite race will be streamed for every stage on Podium TV.
Great Britain Cycling Team for the 2015 Energiewacht Tour