It’s six months into the season, you’ve adjusted to the barrage of purple jerseys in the peloton, you can now tell Liv Racing and SD Worx apart, and you’ve become used to whoever is wearing their respective national champion’s jerseys. Then, just when you thought you were safe, the UCI calendar says “time to shuffle things around again”.
Last weekend, the majority of countries in Europe and the Americas — with the exception of Britain and Ireland — went ahead with their national road and time-trial championships. For the women, many of the titles stayed the same, some went to surprise victors, while others were a given, so who came out on top?
Christine Majerus - Luxembourg
Even if you are absolutely hopeless at recognising riders, there’s one who you can always count on: Christine Majerus. Not only has she been on the same team since 2014 — SD Worx, formerly Boels-Dolmans — she has been wearing the colours of Luxembourg on her back every season since 2011.
Her impressive string of road titles is bested by her run of time-trial wins, which stretch back, unbroken, to 2007. As topsy-turvy as the last few years have been, at least we can always count on Christine for consistency.
Majerus in the familiar red, white and blue
Elisa Longo Borghini - Italy
The Trek-Segafredo rider secured the national title for the second year running and the third time in her career last Sunday. The Tricolore suits her well and, when she’s not wearing the UCI Women’s WorldTour leader’s jersey, makes her easy enough to spot — although she’s usually right up there regardless. Like Majerus, she has also done the double and taken the ITT title, so it’s red, white, and green all the way for Longo Borghini.
Lotte Kopecky - Belgium
She’s barely put a foot wrong this season, so it’s no surprise that Lotte Kopecky held onto her Belgian national champion jersey for a second year in both the TT and road race. The 25-year-old has barely been outside the top-ten so far in 2021 and a big win can’t be far away for the Liv Racing rider, who recently signed a three-year deal with SD Worx.
A whole lotta Lotte: Road race and TT for second year
Lisa Brennauer - Germany
Sunday’s win marked the third road race title in a row and fourth career title for Brennauer who has been showing impressively consistent form so far this season including a second place in Flanders and third at Gent-Wevelgem.
The former time-trial world champion also came out on top against the clock, beating Lisa Klein of Canyon//SRAM by 31 seconds.
Mavi Garcia - Spain
Mavi Garcia took her second national road race title running and the third of her career in a dominant show of strength at the weekend. The Ale BTC Ljubljana rider got herself off the front of the race with Ana Santesteban of BikeExchange. Not only did Garcia win, but she showed impressive sports(wo)manship when Santesteban crashed in the final few kilometres and she waited for her rival. Garcia is yet another to have taken both the road race and time-trial titles, again for the second year in a row.
Margarita Victoria Garcia Cañellas does it again - just call her Mavi
Omer Shapira - Israel
Omer Shapira has been wearing the Israeli national champion’s jersey since 2017, but it’s not just the jersey that makes her stand out in the peloton; Shapira has been a vital cog in the Canyon//SRAM machine for a few seasons now, but her impressive riding for her team-mates has been especially visible this season.
Lauren Stephens - USA
Defending champion Ruth Winder was the nailed-on favourite to win the US national title again after a blistering Spring campaign. On the day, however, it was Lauren Stephens of Tibco-SVB who took a solo victory after bridging to her team-mate Clara Honsinger. Despite having a long and decorated career this was the 34-year-old’s first nationals victory.
Stephens skipped the TT, which was won by Chloe Dygert in her long-anticipated return from injury, in order to prepare for the road race — a tactic that clearly paid off.
Evita Muzic - France
It is perhaps not the biggest surprise to see a Giro Rosa stage winner take a national championship title, but Audrey Cordon-Ragot gave the young Muzic a run for her money during Sunday’s race. Cordon-Ragot was a nailed-on favourite at the start, going into the race as defending champion, but the young pretender, Muzic, pipped her to the title. Cordon-Ragot did manage to ride away from nationals with the time-trial title, however.
Don't cry for me... Evita Muzic is on fire
Amalie Dideriksen - Denmark
In 2016 a 21-year-old Amalie Dideriksen won the World Championships road race. Racing for the world’s best team at the time, Boels-Dolmans, the young Dideriksen found herself unable to come good on her promise after peaking so early and has spent the last few seasons languishing somewhat. This year, though, on her new team, Trek-Segafredo, the now 25-year-old seems to have rekindled the spark, and nothing says on form at the moment like outsprinting Emma Norsgaard.
Norsgaard, who has had a stellar 2021 so far, will therefore relinquish her red and white jersey in road races. However, she will still get to wear it in time-trials after winning the title for the first time in her career.
Amy Pieters - The Netherlands
The problem with coming from such a strong cycling nation as The Netherlands as a rider like Amy Pieters is that you are perennially overshadowed by multiple world-class champions. Pieters is a fearsome adversary in her own right, despite more often than not finding herself in a domestique role, and she reminded us of that this weekend when she took the national title for the first time.
Amy Pieters leads the way
In the time-trial, however, it was business as usual, with world title holder Anna van der Breggen taking the win ahead of Ellen van Dijk. The only shock was a lacklustre performance from Annemiek van Vleuten — by her standards, anyway.
Marlen Reusser - Switzerland
The Swiss cycling federation will be feeling vindicated in their choice to take Marlen Reusser to the Tokyo Olympic Games ahead of her compatriot and former national champion Elise Chabbey. It’s hard to imagine that Reusser’s trade team will do the same artistic justice to her native flag as Chabbey’s Canyon-Sram sponsors did, but she has earned the title and will now wear the red and white flag for a year.
Reusser, who often seems to be underestimated in time trials— she came second in the ITT at the World Championships in Imola last year — also took the Swiss time-trial title by a comfortable 1:35.
Kata Blanka Vas - Hungary
No sooner has Kata Blanka Vas donned a purple SD Worx jersey than she will be replacing it with the Hungarian national champion’s kit. The prodigious talent held on to her title for a second year and will add to the tally of no fewer than five national road champions on her new team. The 19-year-old also won the time-trial title.