Cycling enthusiasts had been eagerly anticipating the upcoming UAE Tour Women (8th-11th February 2024) and the first sprint duels of 2024 between Charlotte Kool and Lorena Wiebes. However, Team dsm-firmenich PostNL has announced disappointing news: Kool is unwell and will not participate in the race.
With Kool’s last-minute withdrawal from the UAE Tour Women, Team dsm-firmenich PostNL is forced to adopt a different strategy. Albert Timmer, the team’s director, shared that, in Kool’s absence, the team would pursue a more opportunistic approach during the three sprint stages expected in the UAE Tour. He elaborated that the team still aims to execute a strong lead-out in those sprints and will remain vigilant throughout the day, especially considering the potential impact of wind on the race dynamics.
The team will rely on the remaining five riders: Rachele Barbieri, Pfeiffer Georgi, Daniek Hengeveld, Becky Storie, and Elise Uijen. Timmer expressed his anticipation for the queen stage of the tour, with plans to support Georgi, Storie, and Uijen as key contenders for the summit finish on Jebel Hafeet.
The UAE Tour Women boasts a strong field, including world champion Lotte Kopecky, defending champion Elisa Longo Borghini, Gaia Realini, Emma Norsgaard, and Chiara Consonni, among others. While climbers have marked the penultimate stage as critical, sprinters look forward to the other stages, although wind conditions could still introduce chaos and echelons into the race.
Team dsm-firmenich PostNL is set to show adaptability and teamwork in the face of Kool’s absence, aiming to make an impact in both sprint finishes and the challenging climb of Jebel Hafeet.