World champion Lizzie Armitstead to race in rainbow stripes for the first time at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Lizzie Armitstead’s rainbow stripes will be on display on the start line of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad when the European season begins on 27 February. The world champion, who sat out of Ladies Tour of Qatar, starts her season in Ghent this weekend.
“I’m really excited to race in Het Nieuwsblad,” said Armitstead. “It’s been a good winter, and I’m curious to see how my form is against the rest of the peloton. I am confident that Boels-Dolmans will perform really well together and pull off a great result to start our European season.”
While Armitstead, who has been on the podium twice at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, is a likely candidate to lead the Dutch-registered squad on Saturday, she is far from the only option for Boels-Dolmans. Ellen van Dijk, who took the team’s first road victory of the year in Qatar, has twice finished second. Megan Guarnier has proven quite capable of posting big results in the spring, and Chantal Blaak is at home on the
"It’s simple,” said team manager Danny Stam. “We have a really good team for the Classics. If you look at our Nieuwsblad team, it’s the strongest team we could field for this course. It’s our best mix of workers and leaders, and we have multiple riders that can win that race. All six girls can handle the course.”
Last year, in the tenth edition of the elite women’s race, Boels-Dolmans had a numerical advantage as the peloton broke apart over the climbs that come in quick succession in the second half of the race. Two in a group of five that formed over the Paterberg. Five in a group of 14 before the Wolvenberg.
Thirty kilometres from the finish, Van Dijk escaped with Rabo-Liv’s Anna van der Breggen. Van der Bregeen won the two-up sprint. Armitstead led home the chase group to take third ahead of Blaak.
"You can say second, third, fourth – we were strong. We had the numbers,” said Stam. “But if you have three or four in a small group and you don’t win, it’s strong but not smart. I think after that race everyone learnt a little bit from the mistakes. I hope we do better this year.”
We have a very good chance,” Stam added. “You could see in Qatar already that the team was racing well and the girls were on a good level. We had a training camp to work on a few small details, and I think the work we did along with adding Lizzie to the team makes us very complete.”
Boels-Dolmans for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
Ellen van Dijk