Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team is excited to start in the Tour of Flanders this Sunday, where it has multiple cards to play in its quest for the win. With 2016 winner Lizzie Deignan not taking to the start, options are open for a new winner to rise to the occasion in the 2018 edition of the race.
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team lines up a strong team, with world champion Chantal Blaak and Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen who headline the squad for Flanders. Ronde van Drenthe winner Amy Pieters, who finished second in last week’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, will be another card to play, just like 2016 Women’s WorldTour winner Megan Guarnier. Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus and former world champion Amalie Dideriksen complete the line-up.
"Vlaanderen is a monument and ever since I was a little girl, I dream of winning that race," Blaak said. "I've been close to the victory before and I hope that this will be the year that I can get cross this race of my wish list."
For van der Breggen, the Tour of Flanders will be only her third road race of the season. Preparation for her road season included some cyclocross races and a mountainbike stage race that she won. She capitalised on the non-traditional race preparation with the win in Strade Bianche, the Women’s WorldTour opener, and assisted Pieters in her Drenthe win a week later.
With a team full of potential winners, Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team will let the race situation decide which of the scenarios to pursue.
"In the Tour of Flanders, your position in the peloton at the right moment is crucial, so a recon of the course is always important," said Van der Breggen. "Anything can happen in this race, which makes it very unpredictable. You just have to stay focused the entire day."
The Tour of Flanders is the highlight of the early spring classics. It will be an Easter Sunday race this year, giving an extra festive flavour to the race.
It’s the fifteenth edition of the women’s Tour of Flanders and it will form round six in the 2018 Women’s WorldTour. The start is at 11am CET in Oudenaarde on the market square. Eleven climbs, seven cobble sectors and 151 kilometres then separate the peloton from the finish back in Oudenaarde. The arrival of the winner is expected around 3pm.
The final of the women’s race will be live to watch on television at Sporza in Belgium, via a livestream on the website of Flanders Classics and on the Eurosport Player (paid service). There will also be highlights of the women’s race on Eurosport 1 in the Netherlands and Belgium from 5.30-7.15pm CET.
Boels-Dolmans for Tour of Flanders:
Anna van der Breggen