One of the biggest race of the spring classics is on the schedule for Sunday: the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Six cobblestone sections and eleven hills will wait for the peloton during Sunday`s race. The famous Koppenberg is added to the parcours for the first time in the history of the women`s race. The climb is located just 45 km from the finish line in Oudenaarde with still five climbs waiting for the riders. The last one is passed with 14 of the 159 km to go.
Rachele Barbieri, Valerie Demey, Marta Jaskulska, Amber van der Hulst and Silke Smulders will start for Liv Racing Xstra in the Vlaamse Hoogmis. For Belgian rider Demey it will be a special day and she is of course looking forward to Sunday`s race.
“It is almost a national holiday in Belgium. The preparations and the build up to this day is already going on for a month. For me as Flemish rider it is very special to ride this race of course. Thursday we did a recon of the course. The Koppenberg is new and that makes the race even harder. It will be a very hard race. The low temperatures can make it even harder. There are a lot of elements in this race, so it will make it hard to predict.”
“In my opinion you can divide the race in three parts. The first part of the race is relatively calm and can offer a chance for an early breakaway. The following part is starting from the Wolvenberg till the Valkenberg. In that part a new escape group can be formed, which can make it into the final part of the race. That part starts from the Koppenberg, where I expect that the real big names will attack. As team we will have to anticipate in the middle part of the race and try to get in the final that way. It will be a hard race, but we still have to try and enjoy it as much as possible”, Demey previewed on the race.