Top 10 riders to watch at Ronde van Drenthe (1.WWT)

 Elizabeth Armitstead 

The reigning World, Commonwealth and National road race champion and twice winner of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup, winning the overall competition in 2014 and the final edition in 2015 is one of the top contenders of the second UCI WWT event. The 27-year old British rider won last Saturday Strade Bianche, the first race ever of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. On the final climb to the finish line she overtook her breakaway partners, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank Liv) and Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5). The previous Saturday Lizzie rode away from her rivals to win the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Two out of two since she became World Champion. Will she be able to maintain that winning streak, keeping momentum and success? Or will that extra boost of confidence lead her to incur in an overconfidence cognitive bias? Either way we will have the opportunity to watch it live (and you should do it)!
Lizzie wins at OHN last Saturday. @boelsdolmans
 Annemiek van Vleuten
One of the most experienced riders in the peloton, overall winner of the 2011 UCI Women Road World Cup, the Dutch rider will be the reference of her team Orica-AIS, with whom she will try to repeat and, why not, improve her last year performance. Annemiek has shown herself in good form at last week Strade Bianche and at previous weekend races in Belgium, where she showed her fighting spirit. Moreover, she will have in Loren Rowney, who we recently interviewed, a very valuable teammate to implement an offensive tactic throughout the race.
Annemiek van Vleuten training nearby her home. ‏@AvVleuten
Lucinda Brand
The current Dutch national champion, who finished fourth at last year edition, comes back to the Ronde van Drenthe. After a successful Belgium racing weekend, where she finished in 6th and 5th places at OHN and OvhH respectively, and an average result at Strade Bianche, Lucinda will be facing again a race course that suits her cycling characteristics, a great opportunity to prove her current good form.

Chantal Blaak

Along with her teammate Lizzie and Leah Kirchmann (Liv Plantur), the Dutch rider has shown herself as one of the riders on best form in this spring classics season start. After finishing second at OHN and winning Le Samyn, Blaaki missed Strade Bianche but she is back on track at the Ronde van Drenthe, a race that really suits her.


Shelley Olds

American Shelley Olds (Cylance) finished in fifth and fourth place at the first weekend Belgium classics corroborating her good form in this early season, where she just have missed the top of the podium. After a remarkable result at Strade Bianche, taking into account the Italian race is far from suiting her riding style, the 35-year-old is one of the favourites to the victory at the Dutch Ronde van Drenthe race.
@ Pat Malach
@ Pat Malach
Leah Kirchmann
After riding in the desert in the Ladies Tour of Qatar, Leah Kirchmann got her season in Europe of to a strong start. The Canadian rider finished fourth at OHN and second at OvhH during the first Belgium classics weekend. Leah carried forward her momentum at Strade Bianche where she finished tenth despite the fact that the Italian race does not match perfectly her ridding skills. After such a strong season start she is definitely one of the riders to watch at a race that suits her. 

Elena Cecchini

Italian rider starts her European Road season with Ronde van Drenthe after participating at 2016 London Track World Championships, where she finished eleventh at the women’s points race. The Italian national road champion, who last year finished fourteenth in the Dutch classic, described the race as “the kind of race where you need two big plates of pasta in the morning for breakfast!” told to her team Canyon-SRAM.
©Tino Pohlmann
©Tino Pohlmann
Lotta Lepistö
The 26-year old Finish rider gets to the Dutch classic with a clear goal, move a step forward from previous season leading   Cervélo-Bigla classic races. She was indeed feeling confident of the progress she has made within the past months. “I’ve been feeling better on the cobbles than last year. Nieuwsblad was good so I have a little more confidence. It’s still early in the season but I feel like I am moving forward. We had a long training camp at the beginning of the year and didn’t know what to expect from the racing but it has been really good.” Lotta told to her team.

Jolien D’hoore

After participating at 2016 London Track World Championships, where she finished sixth at the omnium event just after her teammate Annette Edmondson, past winner Jolien D’hoore gets back to the Dutch race. “I’m really looking forward to join my teammates again on the road. Maybe the track worlds weren’t really what I expected but I’m still hopeful for the future. For now it’s good for my mind to do some road racing” D’hoore said to her team. Last year Jolien finished off a perfect lead-out  manoeuvre by Wiggle-Honda winning her first UCI World Cup race the day she turned 25. Jolien’s 2016 season is more focussed on the track in order to peak on the track at the Olympic games in Rio, but she will participate as well in a few spring classics. Thus, the “Belgian Bullet” will try to fire again at Drenthe, while doing it the best of her ability in these few races she is about to participate in order to.

 Emma Johansson
Winner in 2009, Emma is again one of the riders to watch at Ronde van Drenthe. The current leader of the Lotto Cycling Cup is on a good form, the Swedish rider just finished second behind Chantal Blaak on Le Samyn des Dammes and third at Strade Bianche behind Lizzie and Kasia. She will be part of the most powerful team for this race, Wiggle High5, a team that generally makes true the motto “every domestique has her day”. Chloe Hosking, Giorgia Bronzini, Elisa Longo Borghini, Amy Pieters and Jolien D’hoore will try to repeat the great result and performance displayed at the last edition of the race.
Written by:
Diego Martín
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