We start Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour today with a team full of riders that have enjoyed success in previous years at the six-day stage race in Thüringen, Germany. Elena Cecchini won the general classification in the 2016 edition and last year finished on the podium three times, including a stage win. Cecchini’s teammate, Tiffany Cromwell was a stage winner in 2017, while Alice Barnes stole a stage win at the tour to her palmares with a well-timed late attack in last year’s race.
“It’s always been a successful tour for me. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing or because it is the type of course that suits me, but I can always perform well here. Since the first time I took part in 2012––I was only 20 years old––I finished with the big guns and I was quick to understand it could be a good race for me,” said Cecchini.
The Italian individual time trial (ITT) champion, who will wear the tricolore for the first time in 2019 on the ITT fourth stage, is joined at the tour by Alice Barnes, Tiffany Cromwell, Hannah Ludwig, Lisa Klein and Christa Riffel.
“I think this year we have a really strong group of riders for this kind of course. I want to race aggressive and have fun. In general, I would like to avoid big bunch sprints, but let’s see day by day how the tour takes shape. For sure I am looking forward to my first ITT wearing the Italian tricolore!” added Cecchini.
An important race for the team
“It’s a great race for our team and an important one too with Canyon’s home being in Koblenz and SRAM’s European base also in Germany. Our service course is nearby, and all that makes it kind of a home race for us,” said Tiffany Cromwell.
“We’ve always had a lot of success here, so I hope we can continue that. The terrain is unforgiving and every stage is tough. I think we have a well-balanced and very motivated group. I look forward to racing with them and hopefully getting some nice results.”
Ludwig races Lotto Thüringen for the second time
“I am looking forward to every stage this week. It’s the only race that I have already done before and it’s my favourite! I am just really happy to be here,” said German youngster Hannah Ludwig who raced the tour in 2018 despite still being a junior.
GC ambitions for Lisa Klein
“I’m really looking forward to racing here, because it’s in my home country and it’s the first time I’m racing this tour,” said Lisa Klein.
“I’m especially excited for the ITT stage in Meiningen on Saturday. Yesterday I rode two laps of the course and it’s going to be very interesting! There’s the climb, some downhill, some sharp corners, it’s a very special course. It’s not a typical ITT course at all, and that makes me excited to race it to see what happens.”
“My goals for the tour are that I’d like to repeat a good result in the GC after the success at Healthy Ageing Tour last month, and I’d like to go for the ITT stage. They’re big goals but I’m feeling positive and in good shape my recent altitude camp. A lot can happen this week––we have six stages––and I’m excited to get started.”
The 2019 parcours
A short, twilight opening stage at 17:00CEST this evening around Gera starts the tour. Four more road stages and a 17.9km ITT stage on the penultimate stage will make up the six-day stage race. Stages
“I think stage two and four will be really hard stages because of their profile with the most elevation but also the last stage can be really challenging,” said Christa Riffel.
“The final stage is only 86km but if the GC isn’t safe after the ITT on Saturday it can be a really hard stage, even if there is not as much elevation as during the other stages.”
Barnes racing with an opportunistic team
“I am looking forward to the tour as a whole. It gives the team a lot of opportunities to race aggressively and to enjoy the racing. Like Lisa, I am also hoping to have a good ITT stage,” said last year’s stage winner Alice Barnes.
How to follow
Stage 1 | 98.7km around Gera | 17:00CEST
Stage 2 | 113.4km around Schleiz | 14:00CEST
Stage 3 | 94km around Dörtendorf | 11:00CEST
Stage 4 | 114.8km around Gotha | 14:00CEST
Stage 5 | 17.9km ITT around Meiningen | 15:00CEST
Stage 6 | 86.3km around Altenburg | 10:00CEST
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