Who can stop SD Worx at Tour of Flanders? Demi Vollering delivers as supersquad steamrollers spring

Vollering points to team ethos and top new domestiques as crucial to powerhouse sqaud after scoring Dwars door Vlaanderen victory.

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WAREGEM, Belgium (VN) – Demi Vollering delivered SD Worx another cartload of classics glory Wednesday at Dwars door Vlaanderen as it continues to steamroller the spring.

The Dutch powerhouse claimed its seventh one-day win of 2023 to reconfirm its status as leading contender for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and highlight Vollering’s meteoric rise through racing across the calendar.

An all-out press from SD Worx before Vollering blasted clear of Marianne Vos in the short and explosive Dwars door Vlaanderen seemed a symbol of its season so far.

SD Worx has got the numbers, and it has got the individuals to finish in the final.

“The team did a really good job today. Because they were so good, we were always in front, and that made it so that I could save a bit. I had some left over in the final and I took my moment and went all in for it,” Vollering said after her solo victory Wednesday.

With wins this season from Vollering, Marlen Reusser, defending Ronde champion Lotte Kopecky, and new recruit Lorena Wiebes, there’s no team that’s come close to the SD Worx wheeltracks in the biggest classics of the calendar so far.

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However, victories at races as prestigious as Strade Bianche and Gent-Wevelgem might lose some luster if Vollering et al don’t convert that into SD Worx’s third Flanders title in four years Sunday.

Vollering told the press Wednesday the team’s roaring momentum won’t change its multi-leader strategy as it braces for a match-up with Annemiek van Vleuten and a horde of chaser teams at De Ronde.

“We will race like always,” she said. “Because we’re really strong in numbers, that makes it difficult for them to plan for other teams.”

Team spirit, top support riders

It’s nothing new that SD Worx is dominating the women’s peloton.

But Vollering pointed out how a unique team spirit and some canny recruiting in the winter took the squad to a new level in 2023.

The arrival of committed workhorses like Femke Markus, Mischa Braedewold and Barbara Guarischi gives SD Worx the added horsepower it needs to deliver its deep stable of winners toward the finals.

“You need to have girls like them in the team who are prepared to suffer and give it all for the team,” Vollering said. “Maybe they are the kind of rider we missed a bit last year. I feel like this year, the spirit in the team is super, super good. And we are really, really willing to give it our all for everybody.”

Team spirit at SD Worx hit the spotlight at Strade Bianche earlier this month when Vollering and Kopecky closed down on, and seemingly fought each other for, victory in the Siena square.

Vollering reinforced Wednesday the team is committed to its “all-for-one” ethos as it tilts toward a monument classic that can make or break an individual’s palmarès.

“In our team, it doesn’t matter who wins as long as our team wins. This spirit really lives in our team and everybody is really standing behind this. We know always if you do something for one of the team that it’s coming back to you one day,” Vollering said.

“We don’t have hard feelings in the team or between each other, and we don’t feel that we have competition with each other.”

With 17th in Oudenaarde, Vollering was fifth-best of SD Worx at the Tour of Flanders last year.

It’s looking likely that SD Worx could repeat its 2022 feat of putting five riders into the top-20 again Sunday – and Vollering no doubt will be among them.

“It’s really nice to win this race ahead of Flanders,” she said Wednesday. “When you win a race, you stay in that mood. You feel good when you’ve had a good fight. And that’s really helpful also for the whole team.”

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