Friday, 24 February: The continued upsurge in numbers in the ladies division in Ski GP1 is again reflected this season by an 11-strong entry of contracted riders representing nine countries, which was confirmed this week by promoter and championship organiser Aquabike Promotion, with rider numbers anticipated to swell during the year.
Heading up the entry is defending world champion Emma-Nellie Ortendahl, who will start as the odds-on-favourite and the target to chase for her 10 challengers.
Ortendahl was outstanding last season winning nine out of ten races and matching those statistics in qualifying with nine pole positions.
Leading the field of ten challengers and looking to try to unsettle the champion is France’s Estelle Poret, the only other rider last season to qualify in pole and take a race and Grand Prix win.
Three newcomers join the UIM-ABP tour this season; multiple Estonian champion Katriin Nilbe from Tartu, four-time Latvian champion Krista Uzare from Riga and Portuguese champion Joana Graca from St Estevão.
Starting her second season on the tour and looking for her first podium is France’s Virginie Morlaes, one of the most consitent performers in 2016, taking a pair of third place race results, a string of top five finishes and just missing the podium, finishing fourth overall three times and finishing the year in fifth spot.
Arguably the busiest lady at events and the ‘elder stateswoman’ of the 11 is Kylie Ellmers who seems to have a hand in prepping half the bikes in the paddock. The New Zealander, who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, and races on a Russian license starts her third full season and will be looking to improve on lasts season’s sixth overall.
Sofie Borgstrom, who made her debut in Castro in 2015 at just 15, is still the youngest competitor in the division at 18 and starts her second full season and is joined by elder sister sister Joanna who made the podium on her debut in 2014 in Milan, and along with the seasoned campaigner Marta Sorrentino and Lisa Caussin Battaglia will all be looking to challenge for top six slots.
SKI LADIES GP1
98 Emma-Nellie Ortendahl (swe)
4 Marta Sorrentino (ita)
7 Virginie Morlaes (fra)
13 Kylie Ellmers (nzl/*rus)
23 Sofie Borgstrom (swe)
25 Joanna Borgstrom (swe)
33 Katriin Nilbe (est)
44 Joana Graca (por)
66 Lisa Caussin Battaglia (mon)
95 Krista Uzare (lat)
96 Estelle Poret (fra)
(* racing license)