Image: ©Tino Pohlmann
CANYON//SRAM Racing announce its roster for the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Tour of California empowered by SRAM that starts on 11 May. The six-rider squad will be led by 2015 tour winner, former German road and time trial champion, and four-time team time trial world champion Trixi Worrack. Alongside Worrack will be Alena Amialiusik, British road champion Hannah Barnes, Tiffany Cromwell, Barbara Guarischi and Alexis Ryan.
The four-day stage race continues to be one of the most prestigious events on the women's WorldTour calendar and the only time the team will race in North America. Young American rider Alexis Ryan says the Californian race gives meaning to the word "world" in the UCI Women's WorldTour (WWT).
"Most WWT events are in Europe, with the exception of this race in California and Tour of Chongming Island in China. Being one of only two events outside Europe, Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race empowered by SRAM holds prestige on the professional circuit. It captivates a global audience with the talented riders it attracts and brutal, yet stunning, routes."
The tour starts again around scenic Lake Tahoe with a replica 114km stage one from last year followed by a new look queen stage on day two. Ryan believes the race will be unpredictable.
"For me, I'm aiming for opportunistic success. There's quite a variety of courses, and since the format has changed again this year there's no saying what will happen. The first and fourth stages are the same as last year. The second and third are new, with stage two looking like a climbers race and stage three a sprinters race. But, a breakaway can easily upset those predictions.
Former winner Trixi Worrack says she's excited to return to California. "I've only raced the tour here once but I have nice memories. The crowds are great, the race organisation and volunteers put in a lot of work, and the area is beautiful for bike racing. After missing some racing in 2016, I feel now after the spring that I'm in good shape and I look forward to our team racing to see what we can do next week."
Ryan remembers Worrack's 2015 Amgen Tour of California victory well. "I remember being in awe of the team two years ago, winning and sacrificing for each other. They were one unit moving through the peloton. By far the most humorous moment was during the Sacramento stage when Trixi changed her shoes at 45 kph." (View the video replay here).
"We have a healthy mix of strong and savvy riders for this year's race that I believe will prove to be a recipe for success. Alena and Hannah are our strongest climbers and GC contenders. Barbara, Trixi, Tiff, and I are wild cards, so expect a lot of wildness next week," said Ryan.
The Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race empowered by SRAM starts on Thursday 11 May in South Lake Tahoe and finishes in Sacramento on Sunday 14 May. The action can be followed with #UCIWWT and #amgentocwomen.