The Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team will be at the start of the Dutch National Championship (June 27 - June 30) with a very strong team. World Champion and defending champion (road) Chantal Blaak, Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen and Amy Pieters will all three contest both the time trial and the road race for the team of manager Danny Stam. Jip van den Bos who broke her pelvis after a crash in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour unfortunaly won’t be able to participate.
On Wednesday June 27, the women will first challenge the time trial (25.8 km) in Bergen op Zoom. Vice-world champion Anna van der Breggen, who won the national time trial title in 2015 and finished third last year, is once again one of the favorites this year. Chantal Blaak also knows what it is to finish on a podium in a National time trial Championship. In 2015 she finished in third place.
"In the Netherlands we have three world class time trialists with Annemiek van Vleuten, Ellen van Dijk and Anna van der Breggen", thus Chantal Blaak. "They have specialized themselves in this discipline and are hard to beat. To beat them you have to have a very good day. The battle for gold is going to be very interesting between those three. As for myself I did not specialize in time trialing but I can certainly do a good time trial. It is something that can give me satisfaction. I'm just going to ride as fast as possible and then we'll see. I am satisfied when I have done a good time trial for myself. I especially see it as a good preparation and investment for the races yet to come.”
Teammate and one of the favorites for the title Anna van der Breggen is going for the win. "I'm just going to ride the time trial as hard as possible. It is a goal to win the time trial.”
After the time trial, the road race will take place on Saturday June 30 at the Brabantse Wal in Hoogerheide. The 141 kilometer race starts in Nispen and consists of a big loop of fifty kilometers, after which eight laps of 11.5 kilometers are remaining. Defending champion Chantal Blaak is again one of the favorites. In 2009 (2nd) and 2011 (3rd) Blaak also finished on the podium of the Dutch National Championship in the road race. Amy Pieters did that in 2015 (2nd).
Blaak herself looks forward to defend her national title in the rainbow jersey. "Defending my national title in the rainbow jersey is very special. I am certainly very motivated. I know how beautiful it is to win and wear that special jersey. It is something unique. But I also know how difficult it is to win a championship. I fought for it for years and last year I finally succeeded. To win, everything has to fall into place. Such a championship is always an unpredictable race and in addition to the shape of the day you also need a bit of luck. Unfortunately, we have to miss Jip van den Bos, which means we are only the three of us, just like last year. It would be nice if one of us could take the title again. We all have opportunities. I am looking forward to it!"
Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen concurred with her teammate. "In the road race it's all about winning as a team. Whether that is me, or someone else, that does not matter. We are only with three riders but that does not have to be a disadvantage. Last year we did not have the biggest team in the race, but we still won with Chantal. The point is that you are in the right breakaway. "
In addition to the Dutch Championship, Christine Majerus and Amalie Dideriksen will also compete this week respectively in Luxembourg (28/6 - 1/7) and Denmark (28/6 - 30/6).
The Championships of Canada, Poland and the United States all have been held in the past days. In Canada, Karol-Ann Canuel was second in the time trial and in the USA Megan Guarier was in second place in the road race after a hard fought battle with Coryn Rivera. Our youngster Skylar Schneider did an excellent job. She was third in the U23 championship on the road and second in the same category in the criterium championship.