Van Vleuten returns to action to bolster a strong squad at Dwars door Vlaanderen

Mon 1 Apr 2019

Strade Bianche winner Annemiek van Vleuten will return to racing for the first time since her victory in Italy as she joins up with a strong classics squad for Dwars door Vlaanderen.

The core of the team remains from the recent string of Belgian races, with Lucy Kennedy also back in action after skipping De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Grace Brown (AUS, 26)
Gracie Elvin (AUS, 30)  
Lucy Kennedy (AUS, 30)
Sarah Roy (AUS, 33)
Moniek Tenniglo (NED, 30)
Annemiek Van Vleuten (NED, 36)

The Course:

The 105 kilometre course is a typical Belgian affair, with windy narrow lanes, cobblestones and a series of short, steep bergs.

After a reasonably flat first-half of the race, the peloton will pass over six climbs in the second-half, as well as three cobbled sectors. The bunch will be given some respite from the bergs after the Hotond, but if the wind is blowing, further splits could appear before the final three climbs.

The Past

Australian Gracie Elvin finished runner-up in the first edition of the women’s race back in 2017, narrowly missing out on the win in a reduced sprint, while Van Vleuten took a top-five place last season in horrendous conditions.

Annemiek van Vleuten:
“After Strade Bianche I went straight to an altitude camp because I thought I really needed to get back to my level, especially after my knee injury.”

“After winning at Strade I was thinking maybe it wasn’t so necessary, but I went to Tenerife for two weeks, mainly to prepare for the Ardennes and for Flanders. It was a good two weeks of training.”

“So after a lot of training I’m really keen to race, I think it’s really important to be together with the team before Flanders, so that’s the main reason while I’ll be at Dwars door Vlaanderen.”

“It will be good for me to have the feeling of racing again and to be part of the team again and hopefully we can make a good race of it. Last year it was in horrible weather and this year doesn’t look so good, so it will be classics weather.”

Martin Vestby (Sports Director):
“The race itself is not too hard and it’s quite a short race, so for us it’s a bit of prep before Flanders and Annemiek comes in and can have a race ahead of Flanders as well.”

“There are some sections where the race could split and it can be raced aggressively, even if we have seen that it’s likely to be a sprint. But it’s more or less preparation for next weekend, we can test some legs.”

“The weather has almost been too good recently, it’s not been the Flanders-style racing that we wish for, but the weather we can’t do anything about, we can only race and do the best with the circumstances we are given.”

Dwars door Vlaanderen Race Details:
Wednesday, 3rd April: Tielt - Waregem, 105km