VN news ticker: Lorena Wiebes, Mark Cavendish headline Nokere Koerse, Brandon McNulty expected to start Volta a Catalunya

Here's what's making headlines on Tuesday, March 16.

Lorena Wiebes, Mark Cavendish headline Nokere Koerse at midweek classic

Team DSM’s Lorena Wiebes, the 2019 winner, and Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) headline at Danilith Nokere Koerse on Wednesday in Belgium in the midweek classic.

Other top names starting the 120km women’s race from Deinze to Kruisem that finishes on a challenging circuit include Jolien d’Hoore (SD Worx), Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing), Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo), and Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange). Several other top riders in the women’s peloton will be racing in Italy on Sunday at Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

“Nokere Koerse can go one of two ways. It can be more of a classics-style race where a selection is made on the circuit and they fight it out for the win, or we get a bunch sprint finish like in 2019 where Lorena won,” said Team DSM’s Hans Timmermans. “It’s an interesting race, and we’re going into it with confidence after we’ve been building our form and results nicely in recent races.”

For the 195km men’s race, also Wednesday, Rally Cycling lines up along with such riders as Cavendish, hot off his first podium in two seasons, Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation), and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix).

The race typically is decided in a sprint — Cees Bol won the last edition in 2019 —  but a challenging finishing circuit features some climbs and cobblestone sections, including the short climb of the Nokereberg to the line.

Brandon McNulty expected to race Volta a Catalunya

Brandon McNulty, who crashed out of Paris-Nice on Friday, is expected to start his next season goal at Volta a Catalunya on Sunday. UAE Team Emirates officials confirmed that the 22-year-old did not suffer any serious injuries in his fall, and unless there is a major change, McNulty is expected to start the WorldTour stage race Monday.

Other top riders expected to race include UAE Emirates teammate Marc Hirschi, making his highly anticipated season debut, Chris Froome and Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), late-hour addition Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) as well as Richard Carapaz, making his season debut at Ineos Grenadiers.