One of the most exciting late-season one-day races on the calendar, GP de Plouay returns to Brittany, France on August 20. It is also is one of the longest-standing one-day races for women embarking on its 20th edition and is once again hosting the top riders in the world including defending champion Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo).
Last year, Deignan won a two-up battle for the title ahead of compatriot Lizzy Banks (then Équipe Paule Ka), while Chiara Consonni (Valcar-Travel & Service) won the bunch sprint for third place.
The race is held annually in the small village of Plouay and has been part of the Women’s WorldTour since the series inception in 2016, and prior to that it was a longstanding event on the World Cup beginning in 2002.
Previous winners include Regina Schleicher, who won the inaugural edition in 2002, Nicole Cooke, Edita Pučinskaitė, Noemi Cantele (twice), Nicole Brändli, Fabiana Luperini, Emma Pooley (twice), Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos (twice), Lucinda Brand, Eugenia Bujak, Amy Pieters, Anna van der Breggen, and Deignan has won the race a record three times.
How to watch
GP de Plouay–Lorient–Agglomeration Trophee Ceratizit will offer fans live race coverage and post-race programmes across television broadcast and live streaming platforms.
The race will be broadcast on Eurosport Player and Eurosport 1, GCN and the regional TV channels France 3 from 2:10 p.m. to 4:10 p.m CET.
You can sign up for a subscription to Eurosport Player for £6.99 / $9.26 for a month, £4.99 / $6.61 for a year-long monthly pass, or £39.99 / $52.99 for a 12-month pass.
Coverage via the GCN Race Pass, available on the GCN app, will be available worldwide. Access in the UK will set you back £39.99 for a year. There’s also an option to pay for the Race Pass month-by-month, although the year pass is much better value.
Watch the race on France 3 National: Direct from 2:45 p.m. to 4:10 p.m CET.
Who to watch
The peloton is currently racing at the Simac Ladies Tour held from August 25-19, and there is only one day separating it from the GP de Plouay–Lorient–Agglomeration Trophee Ceratizit on August 30. Many teams will, therefore, have to field split teams to cover both events.
Lizzie Diegnan (Trek-Segafredo) is the only three-time former champion and will likely be looking to add a fourth title to her long list of achievements. She hasn’t raced since the Tokyo Olympic Games, but will be looking to begin the late-season build-up to the World Championships. She lines up with a strong team that includes Elisa Longo Borghini and Ruth Winder.
Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) will take the start line for the first time since the Tokyo Olympic Games. GP de Plouay will mark the beginning of her late-season targets as she is set to retire at the end of the year and become a team director in 2022. Her form might be somewhat unknown but she is always a contender for a punchy one-day event.
Coryn Rivera (Team DSM) had a late start to the season but peaked for the Tokyo Olympic Games, and will aim to carry that strength into the late-season events. It’s a perfect route for a rider like Rivera with the stamina to cover the longer distances, powerful on the short climbs and a fast sprinter.
Mavi García (Ale BTC Ljublana) is an opportunist so watch for her to be a part of a decisive breakaway. The circuit-style race and the three steep climbs, across 11 laps, will take their toll on some riders, but Ale BTC Ljubljana line up with a strong team that also includes former world champion Tatiana Guderzo and former GP de Plouay winner Eugenia Bujak.
Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) is missing that big top-tier victory. She is an aggressive racer and has been among the top 10s in many of the punchy races this spring. She finished fourth place at GP de Plouay in 2019 but has grown in strength and confidence as a rider in the last two seasons. Watch for the Italian to take a surprise win in Plouay.
Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) has largely ridden in a support role for Marianne Vos this season. She has had a strong season, too, with top-10 finishes at Le Samyn des Dames and the Healthy Ageing Tour and Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour before taking her first pro win at Terre-Kreiz Breizh Elites Dames where she won two stages and the overall title.
Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) is also close to a big top-tier win with a stage win and second overall at Tour de Suisse, and podiums in stages at Vuelta a Burgos and Giro d’Italia Donne. The Swiss rider is a strong climber and sprinter, and not afraid to force a winning breakaway.
Chiara Consonni (Valcar-Travel & Service) won the bunch sprint for third place at the GP de Plouay last year, behind breakaway riders Deignan and Banks. If the race comes down to a sprint again, watch for Consonni to secure the victory.
GP de Plouay is well-known for its circuit-style parcours that includes punchy climbs, technical descents and a long and slightly uphill run-in to the finish line.
The women will race 150km, up from the shortened to 101.1km last year, which includes 2,321m of vertical gain. Gone is the 44km opening loop, and instead the peloton will race 11 laps of the 13.6km short circuit around Plouay.
Each of the circuits includes three sharp ascents, which are the same climbs as last year; Cote du Lezot (1.4km at 3.9 per cent, with sections as steep as 19 per cent) followed by a small descent and flatter sections before reaching the Montee de Lann Payot (1.3km at 2.6 per cent), and finally, the Cote du Pont-Neuf (1.5km at 4.2 per cent) located just 2km from the finish line along the Boulevard des Championnats du Monde.