The Women’s Herald Sun Tour features some quality talent.
The Women’s Herald Sun Tour features some quality talent.

Women ready to lap up Tour spotlight

CYCLING: Some of the world's best female cyclists will hit the hills around Healesville in Victoria on Tuesday for the inaugural Women's Herald Sun Tour, which has been labelled a "huge step forward" for the sport in Australia.

While men have for 64 years battled it out in the iconic Jayco Herald Sun Tour - the country's oldest cycling stage race - a women's event has been added to this week's agenda for the first time.

The women have been given the full spotlight, with a 123.5km road stage starting and finishing in Healesville to kick of proceedings.

Cyclists will then return to Melbourne ahead of Wednesday's 1.6km individual time trial through the city streets.

The first running of the women's tour has attracted local and international talent including Annemiek Van Vleuten from the Netherlands, who is widely regarded as the best female rider in the world.

 

Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten in her world champion jersey. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten in her world champion jersey. Picture: Tim Carrafa

The 35-year-old is part of the Mitchelton-Scott team and said while her preparation had not been as good as hoped she would be ready for a hilly first stage in Healesville.

"We brought another really strong climber, Lucy Kennedy, so we have a really good team here to smash it on the hills," Van Vleuten said.

"For myself, I don't feel 100 per cent ready yet but I think I showed in Cadel's race and the Tour Down Under that I am in pretty good shape, so I think we can do something beautiful with my team."

The reigning time trial world champion, Van Vleuten lost her grip on another title claim on the weekend as she failed to back up her 2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race win, that event won by Aussie Chloe Hosking.

Canberra star Chloe Hosking on her way to winning the Great Ocean Road Race. Picture: Getty Images
Canberra star Chloe Hosking on her way to winning the Great Ocean Road Race. Picture: Getty Images

One of the country's leading female sprinters, Hosking will also line up in the Women's Herald Sun Tour which she will use in preparation for the European summer.

"It's the first edition of the Women's Herald Sun Tour so of course I'm really excited, it's a huge step forward for women's cycling in Australia," Hosking, 27, said.

"I won't sugar-coat it, I am in some really good form so I'll give it as good of a shot as I can and see where that puts me."

Tuesday's first stage kicks off at 10.30am.


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