Baloise Ladies Tour 2023 Race Preview

Baloise Ladies Tour History

The 2023 Baloise Ladies Tour sees 6 stages over 5 days as we get a rare split stage. An opening prologue will introduce some time gaps and whilst there are hills on Stage 1 and 2, they shouldn’t be decisive in the overall general classification. Instead, the TT on Stage 3b will change things up as others can challenge the bonus seconds Charlotte Kool earns in the sprints. For many riders, this will be a last minute touch-up in form ahead of the Tour de France Femmes.

Last year’s Baloise Ladies Tour saw Ellen van Dijk take enough time against the clock to beat Lorena Wiebes by 21″. It was a close run thing after Wiebes won 4 of the stages and Van Dijk comfortably won the 2 stages against the clock. There was a closer GC hunt in 2021 where Lisa Klein was strong enough against the clock to win but there wasn’t much in it between her and Mieke Kröger. Whilst there were wins for Charlotte Kool and Lonneke Uneken the first GC rider to be a proper sprinter was Elisa Balsamo in 9th place.

Previous Winners

2022
Ellen van Dijk
2021
Lisa Klein
2020
Not held

Baloise Ladies Tour 2023 Profiles

Prologue Profile

Stage 1 Profile

Stage 2 Profile

Stage 3a Profile

Stage 3b Profile (TT)

Stage 4 Profile

TV Coverage

Wednesday 12th July 2023 to Sunday 16th June 2023

Live on Baloise Ladies Tour Youtube

Prologue: 17:00-19:30
Stage 1: 13:00-16:15
Stage 2: 13:00-16:15
Stage 3a: 09:45-12:00
Stage 3b: 16:30-19:40
Stage 4: 13:00-16:15

All times in BST

Twitter: #BaloiseLadiesTour or #BaloiseLT23

Startlist: FirstCycling

Baloise Ladies Tour 2023 Contenders

A pre-race favourite will be Elisa Balsamo who can be a threat on the sprints and also the prologue stage too. The Italian hasn’t taken a win since mid-February though and crashed out of the RideLondon Classique at the end of May. So knowing exactly where the form is now is tough to tell.
Her teammates might have a go in the time trials as well. We’ve seen Lucinda Brand be a good rider on the TT bike, especially in a short prologue like we’ve got here. Brit Elynor Backstedt might also be a rider to watch in the longer TT after being one of only 5 riders within 30″ of the leader at British Nationals. It’s also tough to rule out former Baloise Ladies Tour Lisa Klein winner as well but there’s not much in her form on the road this season to expect a repeat of the 2021 result.

Emma Norsgaard is a solid threat for this year’s Baloise Ladies Tour. The Danish national time trial champion will rate her chances to pick up time against the clock and hopefully, also get off the mark in sprints in 2023 after near misses in Almeria and the Vuelta Femenina. Jelena Eric might also have a shot but it’s probably too flat here for her to be serious options outside of the TT stages and we’ll probably see Eric lead out Norsgaard.

Charlotte Kool is back here after winning a stage in 2021 but her biggest competition in the GC fight could be Pfeiffer Georgi. Whilst the Brit will support her in winning the sprint stages, Georgi will become a threat in the stages against the clock. Kool might threaten in the prologue but will close time in the TT. The battle will be if Kool can dominate the sprint stages by enough to claim the GC.

Ceratizit WNT has had a little break since nationals to regroup ahead of a final charge for the Women’s WorldTour positions. Kathrin Schweinberger was in the best form the last time the team raced, she has a stretch of top-10 results stretching back 6 races to the Ladies Tour of Estonia at the end of May. The Austrian will probably be looking for solid stage positions as she will be behind the major names in the TTs. Nina Berton might be more of a TT threat and then look to get into the breaks after QOM jersey wins at both of Festival Elsy Jacobs and the Tour de Normandie this year. At her best, Martina Fidanza is a great sprint threat after winning Ronde de Mouscron and finishing 2nd at Veenendaal-Veenendaal. The Italian’s issue is injuries this year which has meant that recent race form is a bit stop-start. Alice Maria Arzuffi could also be a threat after a consistent week flirting with the top-10 at the Thüringen Ladies Tour and 8th at Festival Elsy Jacobs this season.

Millie Couzens finished 3rd at Districtenpijl-Ekeren-Deurne this weekend, sprinting against a decent field in a tough wet race. The Brit is also coming off a win at Ilkley GP back home and so will be brimming with confidence going into this year’s Baloise Ladies Tour. Marthe Truyen will also be a solid shout after winning Antwerp Port Epic recently and also 2nd at the GP Mazda Schelkens. She is coming back after a broken collarbone suffered in mid-June however.

Lieke Nooijen should be in with a good shout here for Parkhotel Valkenburg after winning Districtenpijl-Ekeren-Deuren this weekend. It was an impressive finish where the Dutch rider sprinted for 500 metres and was still able to hold off the chasing pack having gone with a move from Lotto Dstny before the end. The team can also count on the likes of Kirstie van Haaften and Margot Vanpachtenbeke to deliver.

Anna Henderson
Anna Henderson

A prologue winner at Festival Elsy Jacobs last year, Anna Henderson is in with a shout here as well. A solid time triallist, she can also perform in the sprint stages too. The Brit wore the leader’s jersey at the Vuelta Femenina after her team won the opening team time trial and also finished 3rd in the national championships road race a couple of weeks ago. Henderson is in good form at the moment.

Julie Hendrickx of Lotto Dstny is coming into form at the right time after a 2nd place at Districtenpijl-Ekeren-Deurne. She wasn’t quite able to come over the 500 metres long sprint of Lieke Nooijen but it was a close run thing. She was also 9th in Belgian Nats where she was alongside Mieke Docx. She’s another who could be a threat in stages here after being consistently around the top-10 for most of the season. She hasn’t been afraid to try things and we might see some interesting moves.

This year’s Gracia Orlová winner signed for Team Coop-Hitec Products since then, plus Jenny Rissveds also became the Swedish TT champion in her new team colours. She won the TT at Gracia Orlová too and must be considered a threat here. The mountain biker should do well in the TTs and any smaller reduced bunch sprints that happen. I also quite like Ane Iversen for the longer TT as a former Norwegian TT champ who was also 2nd this year. I can see Lucie Jounier doing well in reduced bunch efforts as well but might prove to be the ideal lead-out for Rissveds. Josie Nelson will be another rider with those qualities who looks like she’s just returning to form again after her Vuelta Femenina crash.

If Danique Braam starts, she will be a threat in the finishes of races. She has finished 8th 3 times in a row at the Flanders Diamond Tour, Tour de Berlin Crit and Tour de Berlin Feminin. She might not make the start line though after crashing at Districtenpijl-Ekeren-Deurne this weekend. Nathalie Bex will be a rider with an outside shot in any of the sprint stages. Racing for Duolar-Chevalmeire, the Belgian was 12th this weekend at Disctrictenpijl-Ekeren-Deurne whilst setting up teammate Kelly Druyts for 5th place. Druyts won’t be here so Bex should get the first nod at the Baloise Ladies Tour.

There might be some joy here for the AG Insurance-NXTG U23 team as they bring Febe Jooris as a very strong TT threat. The young Belgian was on the junior World Champs podium last year in the TT and already this year has won the Belgian U23 title and was 2nd behind Lotte Koepcky in the Elites at 18 years old. Another 18-year-old who will look to do well at the Baloise Ladies Tour is Mirre Knaven and she might be the team’s fastest finisher after top-10 results at Trofee Maarten Wynants, the Tour de Feminin, plus a podium at GP Eco-Struct.
The wildcard of the young team is Julia Kopecky, the winner of Leidal Koerse this year. That win was somewhat of a surprise but well-earned as she outfoxed other riders in the small break by going at the flamme rouge and holding on. She followed it up with 4th in GC on home roads at the Tour de Feminin.

Baloise Ladies Tour 2023 Outsiders

Heidi Franz
Heidi Franz (now of DNA Pro Cycling)

The USA national team here is always an interesting one to keep an eye on. Some riders have dominated races over in the US but it doesn’t always translate to the European peloton. The link will be Heidi Franz who has plenty of experience and was 6th back at Festival Elsy Jacobs and 11th this weekend at Disctrictenpijl-Ekeren-Deurne. I’m intrigued to see how Emily Ehrlich gets on after winning the Redlands Classic with a good TT and finishing 3rd at the Tour of Gila after winning the TT there too. 2nd at the Joe Martin Stage Race is also a sign of a good rider. Laurel Quinones and Maeghan Easler are both good time triallists as well which should help GC efforts here but I’d expect less on the other stages compared to Franz/Ehrlich. Alia Shafi might also be a good shout for the prologue too.

Anne Knijnenberg should earn herself at least a Conti contract for 2024 after a season that has seen her be one of the best riders at the non-UCI level. The Dutch rider won the national ‘without contract’ championships and Ronde van Giessenburg in the last couple of weeks. Currently on the club team that normally is a pathway into Parkhotel Valkenburg, Knijneberg might find herself part of Volkerwessels next year after the name change.

MAT ATOM Deweloper Wroclaw will have a few options to choose from. There’s no Wlodarczyk who would’ve been a big favourite but it gives a chance for Nikola Bajgerova to step up. The Czech rider is the fastest finisher of this line-up and won the Belgrade GP at the start of June. 2nd in the Tour de Berlin Feminin Crit recently also shows her speed. Katarzyna Wilkos might be a more all-round option but her TT probably won’t stand up to the WWT riders. The Pole is quick in a sprint finish too though with top-10s on the rolling stages at the Bretagne Ladies Tour. Wiktoria Pikulik is another one to watch out for in the sprints too.

Top 3 Prediction