This week we move to The Netherlands when the second UCI Women’s WorldTour race, Ronde van Drenthe takes place on Sunday 17 March. The 165km race, one of the longest women’s races of the season, will see last year’s second placed Alexis Ryan start alongside teammates Alice Barnes, Tiffany Cromwell, Tanja Erath, Rotem Gafinovitz and Lisa Klein.
“Ronde van Drenthe is a race of attrition. To perform well, a rider has to be focused from the beginning and never allow that focus to falter. Every cobbled road, ascent of the VAMberg, and crosswind section has the potential to decide the race,” said Ryan.
“The key is to be smart with your energy, because it will run out – it’s simply a matter of when. If you time your reserves right, you will have enough power for what seems like the longest sprint in history,” added the 24-year-old.
With 11 cobblestone sections, and 3 ascents of the short but steep VAMberg climb, with pitches up to 21%, the race is traditionally frantic. Elena Cecchini once described it as, ‘the type of race that you need to have a big plate of pasta for breakfast for!’ ”
Alice Barnes said “With the nature of races in Holland, everyone fighting for position at the front, the pace will be high even if the race is so long. It’s hectic and unpredictable. The weather plays a major factor and can change the dynamic of the race very quickly. I’ve been training well since Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and with the recent weather in the UK, I’m well prepared for Sunday’s forecast!”
“There’s no major climbs, but the VAMberg has had some changes and that will add some pressure. Even so, it doesn’t alter the fact that you need to be on constant alert and well positioned always. It will be very tough mentally as well as physically,” added Barnes.
We will also race Drentse 8 van Westerveld on Friday 13 March as a prelude to the Drenthe Women’s WorldTour race. Alexis Ryan was victorious in last year’s edition and will return to the race that again starts and finishes in Dwingeloo, The Netherlands.
Ryan will be joined by Alice Barnes, Tanja Erath, Lisa Klein, Ella Harris and Rotem Gafinovitz.
Drentse 8 van Westerveld: 145km from 13:00-16:46CET, on Friday 15 March, in Dwingeloo, The Netherlands. Follow the race on Twitter with #Drentse8.