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9 Female Cyclists You Should Watch Instead of the Tour de France
Lizzie Armitstead hails from the U.K, but we'll be cheering her on in Rio this summer. She was the silver medalist in the women's road race at the 2012 London Olympic Games, so you can bet she'll be gunning for gold. In the last year, she's scored the title of world champion at the UCI Road World Championships and has taken home first for general classification at the Aviva Women's Tour. So basically, the odds look good.
Marianne Vos, the Dutch cyclist and reigning Olympic champ for women's road racing celebrates a sweet victory for the highest overall points in this pic at the Aviva Women's Tour in Great Britain this past June. She'll be hoping for a repeat in Rio, but doesn't limit herself to road races: Vos also dominates in mountain biking, track racing, and cycle-cross, for a total of 126 pro wins.
In September 2015, Megan Guarnier won bronze at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games and nabbing the first medal for the U.S. women in the world championship road race since 1994. So it's no surprise she's top in the nation (she was the champion of the United States National Championships for road race this year) and is headed to Rio to represent the United States.
Elisa Longo Borghini
This French rider isn't your average road cyclist: Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is a three-time world champion who hopes to tackle the road race, cycle-cross, and mountain-bike riding in Rio. She just came out of a nasty crash in the mountain biking world championships, but she's in good spirits to dominate her Olympic dreams.
Kristin Armstrong took home gold for Team USA in the women's time trial races at both the 2008 and 2010 Olympics, and she's officially headed back to Rio to go for a hat trick. Surprisingly, she started her Olympic career as a 17-year-old Junior Olympian in another sport: Swimming. Armstrong competed in Ironman triathlons until a career-ending diagnosis of osteoarthritis sent her to cycling as therapy.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
South African pro cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio is in a league of her own in her home country: She's cinched the top spot in the African Continental Championship Road Race six times. What motivates her? We'll take a hint from the caption of this Instagram: "Everyday I want to go to bed better than when I woke up."
Inspired by her brother, German cyclist Lisa Brennauer started riding at age 14. She made her big break in 2005, when she won the junior individual time trial world championship. Like the rest of these ladies, Brennauer has an impressive international racing track record, but is keeping the Rio Olympic Games at the top of her list.