CANYON//SRAM Racing head into arguably the most iconic race on the women’s calendar, Ronde van Vlaanderen in Belgium on Sunday 1 April with its strongest ever roster. The team’s line up for ‘Flanders’ is Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein, Kasia Niewiadoma, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Trixi Worrack.
The prestige, history and atmosphere combined with the brutal physical and mental demands of Ronde van Vlaanderen makes it a race that every rider wants to win in her career.
“The harder the race the more sweet the victory, and Flanders has all of this and more,” said Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
“It’s an iconic name in the sport. The conditions riders face, the climbs, the cobbles. You need to have so much quality as a rider to win it. I think that every rider wants to prove that they are something special. That they have what it takes to win Flanders,” said Ronny Lauke, CANYON//SRAM Racing’s Sports Director and Team Manager.
Lauke admits the decision of the final six riders for CANYON//SRAM Racing to start on Sunday hadn’t been an easy one.
“It’s the first time for a long time that we’ve had a real problem to figure out which six riders are the best for the race. We’ve been forced to make some uncomfortable decisions because we now have such a strong group of riders to choose from,” acknowledged Lauke.
After a successful start to the spring races Lauke believes the team can go into Ronde van Vlaanderen with confidence and with several options to play.
“With having now the one-day WorldTour victory (Trofeo Alfredo Binda) in our pocket it opens up even more opportunities. The riders are now in a position where they don’t need to be stressed about getting that victory and at the same time they know how to make it happen. They are so hungry for these big races, to perform and leave a footprint at the highest level.”
“The way they raced in Trofeo Binda has shown that we have tactical variations in our team. We don’t need to rely on one or two riders. As to how the race will play out, then I think you can only make a prediction closer to the day once you know the wind direction and if it’s dry or wet. I can say though that regardless of the weather we have options for any situation in the race. We go into Flanders with a well-balanced group that can go for victory solo or from any size bunch,” Lauke said.
The 150km Ronde van Vlaanderen covers five cobblestone sections and eleven climbs. This year’s course is almost identical to the 2017 edition that was won from a 19-rider sprint, one of the biggest groups to come to the line together since Ina-Yoko Teutenberg won in 2009.
The race starts at 10:55 CET on Sunday 1 April and can be followed on Twitter with #UCIWWT and #RVVwomen. It will be broadcast live on Canvas-Sporza from 13:35 CET.