The 136-kilometre hilly course features eight gravel sections that characterize the race, with a total of more than 31 gravel kilometres. The final takes Marianne and her teammates up the steep climb leading to Le Tolfe (1.1km, 18% max). Then the vicious climb of the Piazza del Campo in Siena awaits shortly before the finish.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to road racing after months of mud”, Vos says with a smile. “The Strade is such a nice race to ride, followed by the spring classics Ghent-Wevelgem, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour of Flanders and the Amstel. Subsequently, I intend to go on altitude training in preparation for the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes. I am looking forward to it and I hope we can win some stages. And I think it’s good that we can go to grand tours like the Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour with Team Jumbo Visma’s two WorldTour teams.”
The young team had reinforcements across the board this year, including several young riders and 29-year-old Coryn Labecki. They should be able to compete with Vos for victory in the spring classics and tours.
“Coryn and I have been competitors for a few years”, Vos continues. “She is a very complete rider who can be pushed forward in many races. Coryn can keep her cool for a long time and knows exactly when to strike. She is also direct in her communication which is an asset because you know what she expects. So I think we can support each other a lot and it’s good for the team that it has several riders who are able to take the win.”
From the very beginning, Vos was part of Team Jumbo-Visma Women. “It was exciting for a while because I had to wait and see how it would go. Though I knew it wasn’t a leap of faith, the team could emerge in an already very professional organisation with a lot of experience. We were immediately embraced and included in the larger structure. It felt like a warm welcome, mainly thanks to both the women’s and men’s team management. There was immediately a great interaction with the other WorldTour team. All knowledge and information are shared, even from the speed skating team, making everyone stronger. I realise how nice it is to work in such a professional environment, an environment that radiates confidence and gives us peace of mind.”
That calmness resulted in outstanding results and fourteen victories during the team’s first season. “Last season’s best victory? Gent-Wevelgem! It was my first win for the team and I owed it to the team. My teammates put me in a perfect position, so I didn’t have to put in too much effort before the sprint. Celebrating that victory together was such a beautiful moment… There have been great victories since, but this one is special because it was the first. We have had a few new riders join the team in the meantime, but the balance and team atmosphere are still good. We will give it our all for each other, which, as a team, allows you to get very far.”
The Strade Bianche Donne starts this Saturday at 9.10 in the morning.
Line up: Marianne Vos, Coryn Labecki, Linda Riedmann, Teuntje Beekhuis, Anouska Koster and Anna Henderson