Mitchelton-SCOTT women head to Gent Wevelgem with confidenceThu 22 Mar 2018
After consistent strong performances and recently claiming their first WorldTour win of the season on Thursday, Mitchelton-SCOTT women head to Gent Wevelgem full of confidence, looking to continue their successful momentum.
The one-day Belgian classic is the fifth round of women’s WorldTour series and the Australian outfit is stacked with talented classics riders including last year’s second place finisher Jolien D’Hoore in the race and Annemiek van Vleuten, who returns the classics after a training block since her track world championship efforts.
The seventh edition of the women’s Gent-Wevelgem covers 142kilometres and includes two ascents of the Monteberg and cobbled Kemmelberg, with the final ascent coming just 35kilometres from the finish.
With six categorised climbs and the possibility of wind the race can be quite unpredictable having finished with multiple outcomes in the past ranging from bunch sprints, solo escapees to small breakaway groups.
“We have a super strong and motivated team line up for Gent-Wevelegem. Most of us have been building and preparing for these two weeks of racing so I'm really excited for it.”
“It has been quite a busy racing period the whole peloton. Personally, the racing has been great and bringing my form up really nicely. I think I'm the strongest I've ever been but I'm just being patient with it.”
“I think the wind will play a big part in the race outcome on Sunday. Although there is one extra climb, the Baneberg, which we do twice now, the lap between is a little longer and if the wind is in the right direction we could have some exciting echelons in the finish after the final time up the Kemmelberg, making it a tough race.”
Annemiek van Vleuten
"I really like the approach we have this year with the same team line-up for a certain classics races. It is good to race with the same group and target those races together. It is a very well balanced team, were we can use different tactics and surprise the teams a bit more than the last years."
“I will come down from altitude on Saturday and race directly on Sunday in Gent Wevelgem. It is usually not a race that suits me perfectly, many times it is a bunch sprint but I am very eager to race. This year I am targeting some specific races in the spring instead of riding them all."
"I worked very hard at altitude and also did a lot of base training after my track commitments. This does not make you always very good in the punchy short climbs so we will see on Sunday."
"We will do the Kemmelberg two times, which is good to test my legs a bit before the Tour of Flanders, but usually the small hills in Gent-Wevelgem are not hard enough and to far from the finish to be decisive."
"I think with same team we have for Flanders it is very good to race Gent-Wevelgem together. That's also why they asked me to come down a bit earlier so I can race this one with the Flanders team together. I look forward to be part of the team again after seeing them race recently."
Previously in Gent-Wevelgem
Last year the race finished with a large group sprint after splitting and rejoining ahead of the final. Jolien D’Hoore (riding for Wiggle-High5) sprinted to second place, with Annemiek van Vleuten, the Australian outfit’s highest finisher in the event with a sixth place finish back in 2016.
Sunday, 25 Mar: Leper to Wevelgem, 142km
Photo courtesy of Getty Images