Marianne Vos sets sights on Tour of Flanders win as surgery comeback ramps up

The Dutch rider animated an active Dwars door Vlaanderen in just her second road race following surgery earlier this year.

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Marianne Vos has set her sights on Tour of Flanders glory as her comeback from surgery steps up another level this weekend.

Vos contested just her second race of the season Wednesday at Dwars door Vlaanderen in what has been a carefully measured return to the road in 2023. The Dutchwoman was forced to miss the defense of her cyclocross world title after she was diagnosed with an iliac artery constriction.

She had to undergo surgery and take 10 days off the bike to recover, meaning a delayed start to her road campaign. Vos finally returned to the peloton at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda two weeks ago but decided to skip Gent-Wevelgem and use Dwars door Vlaanderen as her final Flanders preparation.

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Vos is a former winner of the race, having taken the title in 2013, and she’s keen to join the “two victories club” this Sunday.

“We always have to wait and see how the first races of the season go. I had a good race in Italy, and this week I had some good training sessions. Now we are back in Belgium,” Vos said.

“I certainly have the ambition to win this edition as well. It is important to recover well from today, and then we will be eager to go to the start on Sunday. Hopefully, the team can play an important role in the final.”

Despite the disruption to her pre-road season training, Vos has hit the ground running since her debut earlier this month. The Jumbo-Visma rider was in contention late into the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, until her day was effectively ended by a mechanical issue.

Vos picked up where she left off at Dwars door Vlaanderen and stepped it up a notch by heavily animating the race. She bridged over to a breakaway move with more than 50 kilometers to go before pushing clear with Marlen Reusser.

“The hill zone is a bit early in this race, so the race opens up quickly, and it becomes a war of attrition,” she said. “You have to make decisions. I didn’t want to save all my energy for the last part.”

Despite being reeled in with around 20 kilometers to go, Vos was the only rider who tried to follow Demi Vollering’s attack over the final climb. She couldn’t keep up with the acceleration and had to let Vollering go before sprinting to third place in the group behind the winner.

“She did it at a very strong moment,” Vos said. “Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make it. In the end, I am happy that I was able to get the last podium place for the team. I am very happy with the way the race went.”

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