Maria Giulia Confalonieri Articles
It was a long time coming but the first women’s Paris Roubaix finally took place in 2021. We’d been teased that Paris Roubaix Femmes was taking place after the COVID lockdown in 2020 but further measures derailed the race. It was the same story in the spring of 2021 but finally, in October 2021, we saw a women’s peloton on the cobbles.
The women’s Brabantse Pijl sees the Spring Classics move eastwards. The Flandrian part of the calendar is over and we’re only a few days away from seeing more racing in the Ardennes region of Belgium. The race begins at Lennik in Flemish Brabant before heading south, skirting around the bottom of Brussels.
The women’s Amstel Gold Race returned last season. It was heavily altered, turned into a large circuit based around the Cauberg, the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg. The constant climbing was hoped to be attritional but ultimately we saw a reasonably large sprint after the Cauberg. Despite the attack of Niewiadoma, no-one would work with her and it proved fruitless. Vos took the sprint ahead of Demi Vollering and Annemiek van Vleuten.
The first Women’s Tour of Flanders took place in 2004. The route followed the last 55km of the men’s race with a bit before it to take the distance up to 94km. The finish parcours from that time is now used for Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Riders climb Kapelmuur before riding the tree-lined Bosberg. Zulfiya Zabirova won the first race with an attack on Kapelmuur itself.
Since the race’s inception in 2018, the race has seen 3 big bunch sprints and 1 notable solo win by Grace Brown last year. The parcours is super flat with nothing of note to worry about. The wind is about the only hazard for the riders but even that isn’t forecast to be too bad on Thursday.