Road Diaries | Racing and Relaxing Through Western Europe

The women of the Orange & Black kicked off the second half of their season with a month-long racing campaign in Europe that so far has taken them through the motherland of racing in Western Europe. With their home base located in Belgium the team has already tackled numerous races including the BeNe Ladies Tour, La Course by Le Tour de France, and the Sparkassen Giro. The recent down time that they are now enjoying is much needed with the coming La Route de France stage race just a few days away. La Route is an intense 7 stage road race that will cover over 500 miles and 45,000 feet of climbing. It will certainly test the fitness and experience that the women have gained over the past few weeks. The following photos capture a small glimpse of the preceding weeks of racing and relaxing that the team has enjoyed.

BeNe Ladies Tour | July 17-19 | Netherlands
If the true heart of worldwide cycling could ever be determined, it may well rest in the steep hills and cobbles along the Netherlands-Belgium border. The BeNe Ladies tour was a cross section of one of cycling’s hallowed grounds, with three days of racing in the Zeeland and Flanders provinces with stops in Philippine, Sint-Laurens, and Zelzate. Ali Tetrick made a great late-race attack in the third and final stage and won with a solo victory 12 seconds ahead of the peloton.

La Course by Le Tour de France | July 26 | Paris France
The women returned to La Course where Leah was looking to improve on her 2014 podium result. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate but the sights certainly did.

When in Belgium, do as the Belgians do. The team took some time for some much needed and deserved R&R while in Belgium taking in some of the sights and sounds. Luckily their home base is located nearby so a beautiful view is always easy to catch.

Sint-Sixtus Abbey | West Flanders, Belgium
We visited the Sint-Sixtus Abbey in West Flanders. Their beer, named Westvleteren, is regarded as the best beer in the world. Keeping in true Abbey fashion, they only brew enough to sustain the Abbey. So, you can’t really buy it anywhere and have to go to the Abbey to buy it and drink it. It is amazing, and also strong. This was a pretty fun day.

Sparkassen Giro | August 4 | Bochum, Germany
This was the seventh round of the women’s UCI World Cup and the women raced through eight laps of the 9.5 mile circuit. It proved to be some invaluable experience for the rest of the European calendar.

La Route de France | August 9 – 15 | France
The team is looking forward to competing in the Le Route de France which is just a few days away. It will be a grueling test but the team is in good sprits and feels ready for the challenge.

From Performance Director Pat McCarty

It starts with a really short prologue north of Paris. The next two stages, 1 and 2, are probably sprint stages. Stage 3 isn’t super hard until the final circuit, which will be difficult. Stage 4 is another probable sprint stage and stages 5 and 6 are in the Alsace Mountain range. They make some nice Reisling wines over there. Stage 5 is a pretty hard mountain top finish and the final stage, 6, is a hard circuit as well. Those last two stages should be the hardest of the race. We will be going for stage wins as the stage 5 Mtn top might be too tough for us for the overall. It depends on how well Jasmin is going after coming over here from winning the Pan Ams.

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