This year AG Insurance-NXTG lines up for their very first Tour of Flanders since the team started in 2019. It’s therefore a Ronde debut for Julia Borgström, Mylène de Zoete, Ilse Pluimers, Maud Rijnbeek and Gaia Masetti. Lone Meertens already took part in the most iconic of Flemish races in 2021.
Sports director Christian Kos looks forward to the experience.
“De Ronde is something very special with that amazing atmosphere. Thankfully the crowds are back after two years. It’s going to be quite an amazing experience for our young riders to be part of this. We have shown multiple times this Spring season that we are on the right track. I think Julia should be able to be in the first group again and hopefully make it over the Paterberg with the best riders. I also expect Gaia, Mylène, Lone, Ilse and Maud to show themselves like they did before.
The Koppenberg, new in the women’s race at 44,6km from the finish, will be an important point of reference. Positioning is key like in all the races in Flanders. You have to be at the front to not be held up by other riders stalling, especially on such a steep, narrow climb where the road will then be blocked. I think this will be the decisive point in the race.”
Italian rider Gaia Masetti is new to the Flemish races. She always watched the Tour of Flanders on television and is excited to be part of it.
“From watching on tv to actually being part of this iconic race is so amazing. I remember seeing the Paterberg and the Koppenberg in the races. The efforts the riders have to do there are extreme and now I will be one of those riders too! We have done a recon already so I know the climbs. The race will be intense, no doubt! Some cobbles and climbs are very hard but I will do my best and work hard for the team and also to give all the spectactors a good time. I am sure all of the cheering will help me feel the fatigue less.”
The weather for Sunday looks better after a day of snow in Belgium. The predictions for the afternoon say about 9C and some sun.
The women’s peloton starts in Oudenaarde at 1.25pm CET and the expected finish is after 159km around 5.30pm CET in Oudenaarde. The live images start on GCN / Eurosport (digital) and Sporza (linear) from 3pm