Vos opened the account for her new Jumbo-Visma team at Gent-Wevelgem last weekend and will be hunting down her second-ever victory at De Ronde on Sunday. But the 33-year-old knows there will be plenty of competitors looking to throw a wrench into her plans for the first monument of the women’s calendar.
“I am prepared for a very tough race,” she said. “The level is high, as the past races have shown. You cannot just wait and hide in the bunch and wait for the final. You have to be attentive and alert all the time. The motivation after the victory in Gent-Wevelgem is very high, so we are really looking forward to this race.”
After Jumbo-Visma took its first win at one of the biggest races of the season to date, race coach Lieselot Decroix is hoping that there’s plenty more to come now their captain has set the tone.
“Everyone gained a lot of confidence last weekend,” she said. “Of course you want to go for the win again.”
Vos has hit the top step at almost race on the calendar in her prolific 15-year-career, and it didn’t take her long to return to the pointy end with her all-new team in 2021. Seventh at Strade Bianche in her very first race of the season before podium finishes at GP Oetingen and Trofeo Alfredo promised the prize was in her grasp. The 33-year-old duly grabbed her 232nd career win with both hands with her dominant Wevelgem sprint last weekend.
— Team Jumbo-Visma Women (@JumboVismaWomen) March 29, 2021
“It was a euphoric atmosphere afterward, especially with the win before from Wout van Aert,” Vos told the VeloNews podcast this week. “We were preparing for the classics with the whole team, we were ready to battle and ready to fight, but we all know it’s not going to be an easy fight. Of course, it’s a great satisfaction when it all works out.”
Vos took her first Flanders title in 2013, edging out Elisa Longo Borghini and Ellen van Dijk in a breakaway move. Eight years later, Longo Borghini and van Dijk’s Trek-Segafredo team stand square in the way of the Dutchman’s cobblestone challenge, alongside top squads SD Worx and Liv Racing.
Vos believes Flanders and the rest of the season to come will carry the trademark ferocity of women’s WorldTour racing.
“The level is really high in the bunch, it’s intense from start to finish,” Vos told VeloNews‘ Fred Dreier. “There are so many teams on such a high level that you push each other to the max. I expect some explosive and very interesting racing this year.”
“SD Worx are still strong, I don’t assume that they’re gone,” she added, referring to van der Breggen’s wrecking crew, which missed out at both Wevelgem and this week’s Dwars door Vlaanderen. “They’re still at a very high level and it’s such a difficult sport that when things go one or two percent less it can make the difference between being there or totally not there. I just focus on the next race.”