Ahead of Monday’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour Grand Depart in Suffolk, four of the race’s previous winners met the press in Ipswich to preview the hardest edition of the race today.

Marianne Vos, our inaugural champion from 2014, joined Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, Kasia Niewiadoma and last year’s winner Coryn Rivera faced the cameras. Here’s what they said…

Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo)

“I think like always we’re going to have to be very prepared for the unpredictability of the stages. The only thing we can be sure of is that the first stage is flat and from there on in we have to be prepared for anything because I think those Welsh stages will be really difficult. We’ll be aggressive and make the racing interesting and normally that leads to victories.

I think our team is really focused on having the opportunity every night on TV to showcase women’s cycling; we’ll be aggressive and make the racing interesting, and normally that leads to victory.

“This race was my first idea of when I would return to racing so I’ve come back earlier than expected, and thank goodness because this would be a pretty brutal beginning. I’m going to take a rest after this race, so this is the last block of racing for me before I have a rest.

Stage two at Cyclopark is going to be really painful! It’s been about 15 years since I’ve done a criterium, I might be in trouble. It’s going to be fast, technical and aggressive. There will be lots of accelerations and I think it’ll be a hard stage.

 “I think winning overall for me [in 2016] was a huge deal. I’d never won a stage race before – I barely finish stage races normally, so to finish it and win it was very special. I think I probably had some of the strongest legs of my career at the Women’s Tour that year, and to race in front of a British crowd is always incredibly special for me.

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing)

“With my team, we are ready to do our best. Of course it will be great to get some stage victories and GC at the end but it’s always easier said and done.

“Somehow, I feel even tomorrow [stage one on Monday] will be super difficult, even though it’s flat I know how I won this race [in 2017] was a stupid attack, so maybe tomorrow someone will do it as well.

“I do believe there are a lot of riders have the opportunity to win from just a solo attack.”

Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb)

“The last two stages in Wales are pretty hard. Mixed with an interesting stage two with the [Cyclopark] circuit is different but will definitely be exciting. Overall it’s quite a bit harder than last year.

“I’m confident in my form and also I my team, I think we’re here with a strong squad and we will do our best.”

Women's Tour press conference

Lizzie Deignan at the pre-race press conference.

Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv)

“This race is always unpredictable so things can happen in every stage. When the roads seem flat they’re actually rolling, and the weather can play a role as well. The first few can be decisive for the general already.

“It’s unpredictable so that’s how we go into this race – with an open strategy and see how it turns out. We’ll play that card and it’s better when you have more cards to play especially when it is this hard. Of course a stage victory is always great and we hope to do well in GC.”

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