Few stars but many talents and finally with live TV

Preview of the 35th Thuringia Tour of Women

By Felix Mattis

Kathrin Hammes won the Lotto Thuringia Ladies Tour for Ceratizit – WNT in 2019. | Photo: Cor Vos

23/05/2022 | (rsn) – This is the most important stage race in Germany: The 35th Thuringia Tour for Women begins on Tuesday at the Bavarian Hof. Six stages are on the program and for the first time there will be a daily live TV broadcast on MDR (TV times see below) and on Eurosport Player (both 14-16).

There, the spectators will be able to see a number of very interesting talents, but unfortunately for the first time in years there are hardly any big stars in women’s cycling. For the race has a problem: As a ProSeries event, it is overshadowed by the Women’s WorldTour, which has grown significantly this year and hardly fits into the full calendar of a large team.

The tour overlaps with the new WWT stage race next weekend in London, and the more mountainous Tour riders have just finished two tough races in Spain. So on Tuesday in Hof, only one of the 14 WorldTour teams will be at the start: BikeExchange-Jayco – and that more likely with his second suit.

Nevertheless, Vera Hohlfeld, event leader, and her team can look forward to three track world champions or Olympic champions and three former cross-country world champions as well as a number of very interesting, promising talents in the starting field. Lisa Brennauer and Franziska Brauße will start with the German team Ceratizit – WNT, as will Laura üßmilch, Sanne Cant and Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado with Plantur – Pura or Thalita De Jong as leader of the Dutch national team.

Brennauer wants to “set an example and support the Thuringia Tour”

“The Thuringia Tour is currently the only international tour in Germany, and that is of course why it has a special value for us German riders. That is why my team and I decided to ride here again and not on the contemporary Ride London,” Brennauer explained .

“I also want to be an example and support the Thuringia Tour. Of course, it is a pity that the Tour did not reach the World Tour a few years ago because it deserved this status. But it is still amazing what has been achieved here. “said the overall winner of 2017 and 2018.

Ever since the Women’s WorldTour was introduced in 2016, the question has been raised every year as to whether and when Thuringia belongs in the top league. The starting field was always right, the organization was always good. However, the UCI, the World Cycling Federation, lacked TV images – initially there were to be highlights for the WorldTour license, but for two years the rules have now required a live production of 90 minutes.

Live TV a very important step

Unfortunately, Hohlfeld and her team were never able to offer it and stayed in the second category, ProSeries. Until 2021, it was not a problem for the starting list. The big teams came anyway because of the reputation of the race. But that changed with the 2022 WorldTour calendar, which is now almost twice as comprehensive.

“The live broadcast is now definitely a step forward,” says Brennauer, and tour manager Hohlfeld is also relieved to have got this up and running: “The live broadcast is finally a special kind of appreciation for me. I’m glad of that. I’m really excited that we can finally offer it. ” Theoretically, the WorldTour license could now become a problem again. In practice, however, one must first find a place in the calendar that does not collide with other races.

Hohlfeld and her team have already had difficult years in terms of organization – first the corona pandemic created problems, now inflation weighs on the budget. “Everything is harder this year because of the global crisis – so many extra costs,” Hohlfeld recently told the Wind Kante podcast.

In Thuringia you can be all the more proud that you have managed to get the tour going again, while elsewhere in Germany none of the big men’s organizers manage to finance and organize a women’s race – neither in Frankfurt nor in Cologne and Hamburg or on the Germany Tour.

Future in the World Tour or as a talent promoter – where does the road lead?

Sportingly, the qualitatively thinner starting list now opens up other interesting perspectives: Because if the big names are missing, a couple of promising talents can now be in the spotlight. The Dutch team Parkhotel Valkenburg and Mischa Bredewold have some of them in their luggage, and the junior team of the German WorldTour racing team Canyon-SRAM, Canyon-SRAM Generation, is also starting with the Germans Ricarda Bauernfeind and Antonia Niedermaier.

All names to remember because they may end up at the top of the world in the future. And from that point of view, they can also look good on the list of winners of the Thuringia Tour in a few years.

“I have great confidence in Ricarda Bauernfeind – not only here, but also in the years to come,” says Hohlfeld. The third part of the German Championship 2021 in Stuttgart and also the third of the Andalusia tour at the beginning of the month was a bit sick recently: “I had to take a break after the Vuelta Andalucia,” said the 22-year-old , but promised: “But I’m back in training and I’m getting my shape back. I want to do my best.”

The jumbo duo leads the national team

In addition to the Australian Ruby Roseman-Gannon, the favorites also include the two Germans Romy Kasper and Linda Riedmann, who are under contract with Team Jumbo – Visma and both start with the German national team in Thuringia. On Sunday, Riedmann won the Bundesliga opening in his hometown of Karben ahead of Kasper.

However, there is a big question mark over Brennauer’s form. The two-time overall winner had to do without Paris-Roubaix in mid-April due to a corona infection and is now competing in its first race since then. “I had headaches for a long time, that was my biggest problem,” she explained up to the trip. She has been back in training for two weeks now, but: “I have lost a lot of substance due to the break and will not be completely in shape at the start of the Thuringia Tour.”

Difficult course without time travel

To follow this year’s absent Lucinda Brand in the yellow jersey, you definitely need to have fast legs over the next six days to win bonuses in stage finishes and intermediate sprints. But pure sprinters find it difficult, for example Hankaberg on the 3rd stage around Dörtendorf is again on the program as a mini mountain finish and the 4th section leads through the Thuringian Forest to the Schleizer Dreieck automobile racetrack. There has been no time trial in Thuringia since last year.

“I think the toughest days will be Dörtendorf, Schleiz and Gotha,” Hohlfeld predicted, but also pointed out: “A preliminary decision can be made every day, even on the first day – as in 2019, when a group traveled, which was underrated. “Kathrin Hammes then celebrated the overall victory of the tour, which for advertising reasons was only known in Thuringia as the Lotto Thuringia Ladies Tour.

1st stage, May 24: Hof – Hof, 93.8 km (Live on MDR: 15:15 – 16:00)
2nd stage, May 25: Gera – Gera, 99.6 km (Live on MDR: 15:15 – 16:00)
Stage 3, May 26: Dörtendorf – Dörtendorf, 129.2 km (Live on MDR: 14:05 – 15:10)
4th stage, May 27: Schleiz – Schleiz, 127 km (Live on MDR: 15.15-16.00)
Stage 5, May 28: Gotha – Gotha, 133.1 km (Live on MDR: 15:20 – 16:20)
Stage 6, May 29: Altenburg – Altenburg, 104.3 km (Live on MDR: 15.30-16.25)

WWT: BikeExchange – Jayco
ProTeam: Ceratizit – WNT, Plantur – Pura, Parkhotel Valkenburg, Le Col – Wahoo, Coop – Hitec Products, Arkéa, Canyon – SRAM Generation, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, Roxsolt Liv SRAM, BePink, Lotto Soudal Ladies
National team: Holland, Belgium, Germany
Club team: Team Stuttgart, Maxx Solar Lindig

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