Elena Cecchini rejoins her CANYON//SRAM Racing team mates for the second race of the UCI Women’s WorldTour on Saturday 12 March at Ronde van Drenthe, in The Netherlands. The Italian national road champion last year finished fourteenth in the Dutch classic and describes it as “the kind of race where you need two big plates of pasta in the morning for breakfast!”
The 138.3 kilometre course with five cobble sections takes on the man-made Vam Berg three times. While last year’s sprint finish winner Jolien D’Hoore (WHT) is missing with a track focus for Rio Olympics, Cecchini says she feels ready to move her own attention back to the road. “I expect I can give some good competition, and especially since I prefer to start with a flat race rather than a hilly one! I imagine the race will be tough because I’ve seen that there are a lot of motivated teams. Every corner and every breakaway can be dangerous so you have to be focused from start to finish.”
CANYON//SRAM Racing has continued training on the Italian roads of Tuscany following last weekend’s WorldTour opening race of Strade Bianche. Team directeur sportif Ronny Lauke said it was important to keep the team together during this early Spring period. “We wanted to keep training as a group as there aren’t so many opportunities throughout the season for that.”
Lauke anticipates that Ronde van Drenthe will have a different nature since the weather forecast is for clear conditions. “It’s almost too good of a weather forecast for that race. It usually has a better character when there are cold and rainy conditions. The narrow lead into the man-made hill and the cobble sections are the dangerous parts but somehow in the nicer weather conditions we can expect a bigger group to make it to the final.”
CANYON//SRAM Racing head into the race with a line up of six riders: Elena Cecchini, Trixi Worrack, Alexis Ryan, Lisa Brennauer, Tiff Cromwell and Alena Amialiusik.