SD Worx brings triple threat
SD Worx lines up with a triple threat to repeat in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
Defending champion Lotte Kopecky, Gent-Wevelgem winner Marlen Reusser and Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Demi Vollering will race point. Lorena Wiebes, Elena Cecchini and Christine Majerus round out the super-team.
“Our goal with Team SD Worx is to go for a second victory in a row in Ronde van Vlaanderen,” Wiebes said.
“Tour of Flanders is a very special race, I look forward to pin the number 1 on,” Kopecky said. “I feel stronger than last year. I digest the hills more smoothly and it’s just easier. There is a lot of confidence in our own abilities in the team. Although we shouldn’t be too convinced of our abilities either. If we assume, like the outside world, that we cannot lose, then we will definitely do so.
“The race must always be run. I am looking forward to Sunday. For a Belgian, the Tour of Flanders is very special. That I get to start with jersey number one just makes it even more special.”
Trek Segafredo racing as outsiders
Trek Segafredo admit they’re lining up as outsiders behind the “Three Kings” in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven will take lead honors.
“Right now in cycling, we have these superstars. And we saw in the other classics when they go on the climb, we can’t follow them,” Pedersen said. “So for us, it would be a stupid idea to think that we can just stay with them and then follow when they go. Because I would say, nine out of 10 times or 99 out of 100 times it’s impossible to follow them on pure power on the climbs.
“So, of course, we have to play the race smarter and be ahead of that. And I think with the strength we have on the Team that’s possible.”
Tom Pidcock brushes off concussion setback
Tom Pidcock isn’t concerned about losing training time after sustaining a concussion at Tirreno-Adriatico.
The reigning Strade Bianche champion told the press Friday that his absence from the early block of March classics shouldn’t impact his chances at De Ronde on Sunday.
“After Strade I was good then I went into a week stage race. OK, I had some time off and did some good training in the last week, there’s no reason why I’d be bad on Sunday,” Pidcock said.
Pidcock dived back into racing at Dwars door Vlaanderen this week to test his classics legs after some time off the bike. The Ineos Grenadiers captain is confident his big block of post-concussion training in Andorra will keep him in contention with the “three kings” at Sunday’s monument.
“I think that’s difficult to answer, we’ll see on Sunday,” he said when asked about his time away from training. “It wasn’t ideal and not what we planned for, but I don’t think it’s destroyed my spring classics campaign either.”
Quinn Simmons to skip Flanders and Roubaix
Trek-Segafredo officials confirmed to VeloNews that Simmons is putting a new focus on the Ardennes classics this year, and will skip the punishing pavé in favor of the hillier terrain looming later this month.
After pulling out of the Volta a Catalunya, Simmons will return to racing at Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Simmons debuted at Flanders and Roubaix in 2021 but fell ill last springwhich undercut his northern classics campaign. Simmons won in his 2023 season debut with a stage at the Vuelta a San Juan, and was 12th at Strade Bianche.
Trek-Segafredo lines up Sunday with Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven as the designated captains.
Neilson Powless headlines EF Education-EasyPost
Neilson Powless, hot off his third place podium at Dwars door Vlaanderen, will roar into Sunday with renewed confidence.
“I was coming to Dwars with the ambition to try to win, so it was really nice to be up there,” Powless said. “I guess it just confirms my ambitions that I have had ever since the Tour de France last year on the Roubaix stage. I felt strong over the cobbles, and I could still push pretty hard. I felt fluid and solid, so I hope I can be at the front of these races on Sunday. I am really excited to take it one step further on Sunday.”
EF Education-EasyPost for Tour of Flanders:
Alberto Bettiol, Jens Keukeleire, Owain Doull, Mikkel Honoré, Jonas Rutsch, Tom Scully, and Neilson Powless
Soudal Quick-Step with Alaphilippe and Asgreen: ‘Hopefully luck will be on our side’
Cobblestone powerhouses Yves Lampaert and Davide Ballerini will also be at the start Sunday as Quick-Step faces down dominant forces Jumbo-Visma and the “big three” of this year’s classics.
“De Ronde is one of the most important races of the season and, as always, we’ll try to give everything on the bergs, and hopefully luck will be on our side,” sport director Tom Steels said. “Julian is still improving, so we’ll see how he goes on Sunday. Kasper, Davide, Yves, and Florian are other strong riders, who can try something at some point.”
Patrick Lefevere’s once all-conquering classics team faced backlash for a spring campaign to forget.
Victory at De Ronde on Sunday would put its former disappointments firmly in the rear-view.
Soudal Quick-Step to Tour of Flanders:
Matteo Jorgenson, Annemiek van Vleuten lead Movistar
Matteo Jorgenson, Annemiek van Vleuten, and Iván García Cortina headline Movistar’s teamsheets for De Ronde.
Jorgenson and Cortina lead the men into De Ronde off the back of a standout four-five finish at E3 Saxo Classic last week. Oier Lazkano adds a third prong to Movistar’s trident after the young Basque blasted to second at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.
Two-time Flanders champion Van Vleuten sees a strong support crew in Floortje Mackaij, Arlenis Sierra, and Liane Lippert as she heads into battle with the SD Worx massive.
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) March 30, 2023
Dylan van Baarle misses Flanders selection
Dylan van Baarle will not be lining up in Bruges on Sunday morning after the Omloop Het Niewsblad winner was missing from the Jumbo-Visma selection.
The Dutchman crashed out of the E3 Saxo Classic and hasn’t race since.
Instead, team leader Wout van Aert will be supported by Christophe Laporte, Tiesj Benoot, Edoardo Affini, Tosh Van Der Sande, Nathan Van Hooydonck, and Tim van Dijke.
We can't wait for Sunday!💥 This is our team for the Ronde van Vlaanderen. pic.twitter.com/KB1UZb6dlW
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) March 30, 2023
Alaphilippe downplays chances for Sunday
Julian Alaphilippe is downplaying his chances for Sunday’s big race. The two-time world champion admits that others are stronger for De Ronde.
“They are at an exceptional level. They are above the rest at the moment,” Alaphilippe said Wednesday at the start of Dwars.
After a rough day Friday at E3 Saxo Classic, Alaphilippe is hoping he has better legs.
“Friday when I woke up at 5 a.m. I had a stomach ache, I felt like it was not going at all. But I gave it a try, I really wanted to run,” he said. “I had no luck once again.”
Pogačar ‘ready’ for fresh Flanders assault
Pogačar lit up Flanders last year in a spectacular debut, and after a strong ride at E3 Saxo Classic, he will race with ambitions for the win.
“Last week in E3 we had a great race and a good battle between the rivals and I’m looking forward to doing it all again on Sunday,” Pogačar said Tuesday.
“My first experience in Flanders last year was something I’ll never forget, the energy of the race and the passion for cycling in Belgium is something special,” he said. “I feel I’m ready and the team is ready, so we’ll give the Ronde our best shot.”
UAE Team Emirates for Tour of Flanders
Sjoerd Bax (Ned)
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Tim Wellens (Bel)
Team DSM confirms squads with Jastrab, Vermaerke
Team DSM finalized its rosters for the men’s and women’s teams at Tour of Flanders.
Megan Jastrab, second at Gent-Wevelgem, headlines along with Georgi Pfeiffer, while John Degenkolb and Patrick Bevin lead the men’s team. Kevin Vermaerke is also slated to race.
“We know the course and it should have no secrets. Pfeiffer is our finisher and we’ll do everything to bring her towards the final in the best possible position,” said sport director Kelvin Dekker. “On the other hand, we’ll race how we have been racing all year: with an attacking mindset. We are excited and ready.”
Women’s team for Flanders:
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Daniek Hengeveld (NED)
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Elise Uijen (NED)
The men’s team will be hoping to have numbers deep into the final and hopes someone has the legs to follow the big attacks.
“The big early season finale that’s bigger than Christmas in Belgium. At 273 kilometers, the longest of all the cobbles classics and arguably one of the toughest parcours on the calendar we can anticipate an action-packed race and a big fight into the key sectors,” said Phil West.
“As a team, we want to continue to work hard as a block and come later in the race with numbers,” he said. “Oude Kwaremont is normally a turning point in the race and so the goal will be to present in the front there and after that we take our chances and race positively and go in for the fight that De Ronde always delivers.”
Team DSM men’s roster
Patrick Bevin (NZL)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)