The UCI Women's WorldTour peloton travelled to China for the final round of the 2018 season: the Tour of Guangxi Women's WorldTour in Guilin, a one-day race taking place on the final day of the men's six-day stage race of the same name.
With some of the brightest stars of the peloton already in holiday mode and missing from the startlist, spectators still saw an exciting race on a challenging 145.8-kilometre parcours through beautiful countryside. In pouring rain, Arlenis Sierra (Astana
Women's Team) from Cuba celebrated her first UCI Women’s WorldTour victory in a one-day race, as she beat Hannah Barnes (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and Sara Mustonen (Experza-Footlogix) in a sprint from a reduced bunch of about 30 riders.
Two thirds into the race, two steep climbs thinned the bunch, as Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton Scott) and former UCI Junior World Champion Elena Pirrone (Astana Women's Team) went on the attack. But Sierra was too strong to get dropped and finally outsprinted
Barnes to the line.
The result did not change the Top 10 of the UCI Women’s WorldTour overall standings, though. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton Scott) did not race in China, but still was crowned UCI Women's WorldTour Champion of 2018 – as was Boels Dolmans
Cyclingteam in the team classification. Sofia Bertizzolo (Astana Women's Team) started in Guilin and helped Sierra to win the race, before herself being officially announced as Youth Classification winner in the third season of the UCI Women's WorldTour.
The UCI Cycling Gala took place on Sunday in Guilin, China, following the conclusion of the Tour of Guangxi Women's WorldTour. The event provided an opportunity to celebrate the most outstanding achievements of the road cycling season, with awards presented to the best teams and the best riders on the road in this year’s UCI World Championships, UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour, and to the para-cycling champions of 2018.
And now? Well just over months to go until Strade Bianche and the beginning of the 2019 season...
– What's next? –
Saturday, 9 March 2019, Strade Bianche (Italy)
– Photo of the week –
– Focus on Annemiek van Vleuten –
Seven years ago, Annemiek van Vleuten won the most prestigious one-day race on the women's calendar: the Tour of Flanders. However, during the following seasons, the Dutchwoman suffered from a narrowing of her femoral artery, preventing her leg from properly
recovering after races and training. For a long time, Van Vleuten struggled to back to her best and it was not until 2016 that things returned to normal for her. Even her horrible crash at the Olympic Games in Rio could not stop her, and in August
2017 - after finishing third at the Giro d'Italia and winning La Course by Le Tour de France - she climbed atop the UCI World Ranking. In the 2017 UCI Women's WorldTour ranking she finished 2nd behind Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam),
only to improve her performances even more in 2018 by finishing 3rd at the Tour of Flanders, 4th at La Flèche Wallonne and 3rd at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After a good spring, the summer proved even better, as she won three stages
and the General Classification at the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile and took victory at La Course by Le Tour de France again. She also defended her title at Boels Ladies Tour and claimed the UCI World Championships' Individual time trial.
Van Vleuten finishes 2018 in rainbow stripes as number 1 in the UCI World Ranking and number 1 in the UCI Women's WorldTour.
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