Unfinished business for Mitchelton-SCOTT women at the Tour of FlandersThu 29 Mar 2018
A big goal on the Mitchelton-SCOTT women’s calendar is the iconic Tour of Flanders, a race they’ve all been waiting for which takes place this Sunday 1st April. After coming so close to the victory last year, the team return this year, more determined than ever with an in-form motivated line-up.
Driedaagse de Panne winner Jolien D’hoore will get the opportunity to race for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the UCI women’s WorldTour race leaders jersey in her home country, alongside a strong and experienced team.
The pinnacle race of the Belgian classics for the women, the Tour of Flanders, is as hard as ever with 150kilometres filled with five cobble sections and 11 categorised climbs.
The 15th edition of the race follows as similar parcours to last year, starting and finishing in Oudenaarde and includes lengthy cobble sections such as Lange Munt, the Paddestraat and Haaghoek, plus famous cobble climbs which the men’s race also tackles.
Usually the decisive race winning move comes as the race passes over the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climb, just 13kilometres from the finish line.
“I think this is our strongest line up yet. Annemiek van Vleuten is in great shape and can definitely win from a small group or solo attack. Sarah Roy is really strong at the moment too and is motivated to do well like myself as all rounders. And then we have Jolien to back us up with her super fast finish."
“With the help of Jess Allen and Jenelle Crooks we will be well looked after. We are sad to miss Amanda Spratt this year due to illness, but it’s great we can still rely on Jenelle to do a good job.”
“I am feeling really good going into the race this year. I’ve been trying not to compare my season from last year, because I’ve had a different lead up and every race and season can be so different. I feel like I am in a better head space this year so I just want to get out there and make the most of it.
"I’ve really enjoyed the racing so far and while I haven’t got a result for myself yet, I feel like I’ve shown strength and loved to be part of Jolien’s results. It’s no secret that this is my favourite race. This is my number one race to win and I will keep trying until I retire.”
“It is a special race for the whole team as well, and we have been building towards this weekend all year with our preparation. The classics is such a special time of the season, and it’s only getting bigger for the women with more races alongside the men’s races and more tv coverage. No matter what happens I promise it will be worth watching!"
Martin Vestby - Sport Director
“Tour of Flanders is the cherry on the cake when it comes down to cobble classics, it is our main goal of the spring and it is maybe the hardest one to win, which makes it even bigger."
“We have a lot of strength in the team with Annemiek who has won before, and Jolien, coming from Belgium, it is raced in her backyard. We have a lot of riders with experience and knowledge and we can play it many different ways.
"Jolien is climbing really well now and can survive this race and still have a good sprint. Annemiek can attack and be with the best climbers in the hills. Both Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy are both really strong at the moment, we don’t have one leader, our strength is having many cards to play in different scenarios. We are all really looking forward to Sunday."
“Other than Amanda Spratt who will no longer race because she is sick, the rest of the team is all healthy and strong and we did a recon of the final today and with that in mind everyone is feeling relaxed and comfortable and waiting for Sunday."
Previously in the Tour of Flanders
Last year Mitchelton-SCOTT women came so close to victory after Annemiek Van Vleuten found herself in what looked to be a race winning move with three other riders, which escaped with 30kilometres to go, only to be caught within the final kilometre.
Luckily for the team, Elvin was ready to pounce behind if it all came back together, which it did, and launched from the wheels and to an impressive second place. Van Vleuten was still able to hold on for fourth place - which leaves the team more eager than ever to take top spots this time round.
The Australian outfit has won the race before in the team's first season with former rider Judith Arndt back in 2012. Another familiar winner is current rider, Van Vleuten, who also previously won the iconic event back in 2011 when she was riding for Nederland Bloeit.
Sunday, 1st April: Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde - 150km
Photo courtesy of Getty Images