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Big field set for Women’s Tour of Flanders

More than 160 riders on 27 teams will be lining up for the eighth edition of the Women’s Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

Past Winners

  • 2004. Zoulfia Zabirova, Let’s Go Finland
  • 2005. Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel, Buitenpoort-Flexpoint
  • 2006. Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel, Buitenpoort-Flexpoint
  • 2007. Nicole Cooke, Raleigh
  • 2008. Judith Arndt, Highroad
  • 2009. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Columbia-Highroad
  • 2010. Grace Verbeke, Lotto

Run in conjunction with the men’s event since 2004, the Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Vrouwen is a 130.1km this year and runs over a course that follows the last 55 km of the men’s race.

Defending champion Grace Verbecke will line up, sporting the No.1 race number, as a member of the Topsport Vlaanderen 2012 squad. She’ll be facing a strong challenge from HTC-Highroad, which will have two former winners and a member of last year’s winning break in its line-up for the event.

HTC director Ronny Lauke expects this weekend’s event to be “much tougher than in 2010.”

“The riders have ridden over the route this week and last, both in bad and good weather conditions and there have been a lot of changes to the course this year that make it much harder,” Lauke says.

“The first 50 kilometers are pretty flat, which means there could be splits in the pack due to the chance of strong winds, and then it’s one cobbled climb after another. No chances for recovery.”

“They’re expecting very bad weather on Sunday too, twelve degrees and heavy rain, and if that’s correct, then the race will be even tougher.”

HTC-Highroad will be fielding 2008 and 2009 Flanders winners Judith Arndt and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, as well as Adrie Visser, who was in the winning break in last year’s Flanders.

“Ellen [Van Dijk] and Charlotte [Becker] have come out of the World Track Championships in excellent condition, Adrie proved last year she knows how to race in Flanders and Judith and Ina both know what it takes to win here.” Lauke says.

“It will be the teamwork and each rider knowing exactly what they have to do that finally makes the difference in this race. That, and a little luck.”

Teams for the 2011 Women’s Tour of Flanders

1. Topsport Vlaanderen 2012
2. HTC Highroad Women
3. Nederland Bloeit
4. AA Drink – Leontien.nl
5. Garmin – Cervélo
6. Diadora – Pasta Zara
7. Hitec Products – UCK
8. Colavita Forno d’Asolo
9. SC MCipollini Giordana
10. Lotto Honda
11. Vaiano Solaristech
12. Gauss
13. TIBCO – To The Top
14. Dolmans Landscaping
15. S.C. Michela Fanini Rox
16. Vienne Futuroscope
17. Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
18. Abus Nutrixxion
19. Alriksson Go:Green
20. Kleo
21. GSD Gestion
22. Kuota Speed Kueens
23. Bizkaia-Durango
24. Dutch National
25. Australian National
26. Canadian National
27. Danish National

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