Dwars Door Vlaanderen Women History
A women’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen has been going for a solid decade at this point. First run back in 2012 at national level, it took 5 editions before it joined the UCI ranks. That didn’t stop it from having big names race it in that period though. The early winners board is dominated by Amy Pieters with her 3 wins in a row from 2014-2016. Jolien d’Hoore was runner-up twice as well before the race finally became UCI-registered in 2017.
The opening 1.1 level race was won by Finn Lotta Henttala from Gracie Elvin. What followed was a pair of solo victories by Ellen van Dijk in 2018 & 2019 as she outfoxed the sprinters behind and left them fighting for the other steps on the podium. With no race held in 2020 due to Covid, the run of non-sprinter wins was carried on by Annemiek van Vleuten who reached the finish line with Kasia Niewiadoma and beat the Pole. Last year’s race, the first held at 1.Pro level saw a belated return to form with Chiara Consonni winning a decent-sized bunch sprint.
The serious climbs end relatively early with Ladeuze the last one with just under 40km to go to the finish line. What comes afterwards are cobbles on Huisepontweg – where Kopecky nailed home her advantage at Noekere Koerse recently – Herlegemstraat is also tackled twice as well. Maybe a late attacking point is the climb in Nokere, but not the cobbled Nokereberg, followed by Herlegemstraat’s cobbles. That may just about break the bunch into a very small gap with only 10km to go to the line. The current weather forecast is for decent winds and possibly some rain too, which gives attacks more of a shout.
Annemiek van Vleuten
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2023 Profile
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2023 Contenders
Starting off with last year’s winner, Chiara Consonni. After a few races that were more for Marta Bastianelli, this one should be for the younger rider. Bastianelli is still good at it mind, finishing 5th last year but Consonni should be the Plan A this time. It’s been a little bit of a mixed bag so far this year for Consonni. She started off by beating Wiebes in a sprint at UAE Tour Women but the early Spring Classics have been hard going other than a 9th from Group 2 at Classic Brugge – De Panne last week. Marta Bastianelli suffered a crash in that race so it was a rare miss from her but she’s definitely the more in-form rider of the pair after 4 podiums in the last month. It’s tough to separate them at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
We’re getting the return of Demi Vollering for the first time since her infamous victory at Strade Bianche. She’s been on an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada with Marlen Reusser and so will be looking forward to getting back to racing. The Dutch rider will start as a favourite but it can often prove tough to get a gap as a climber in recent years at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. If it comes down to a sprint, it’ll be a battle between Barbara Guarischi and Lonneke Uneken to decide who gets to have a go. Uneken has the better result this year with 11th at Ronde van Drenthe.
This has the potential to be a very Marianne Vos-type race. She’s never actually raced here before and there will still be question marks about where her form is. She was looking good at Trofeo Alfredo Binda until coming almost to a stop at a key moment. She carried on to finish 20th, finishing behind Wiebes and Brown in the sprint in the second group on the road. An in-form Vos would be a major contender.
FDJ-Suez has a great line-up for this race with almost too many names to pick from. The headline name will be Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig who’s back after her upgrade to the podium at Strade Bianche. The Dane will have no issue on the climbs but really needs the front group as small as possible to sprint from. Behind her, there’s the attacking option of Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race winner Loes Adegeest, who also had a solid Trofeo Alfredo Binda too. When it comes to a sprint, that’s where the options multiply. Vittoria Guazzini was 4th in the 2021 Dwars Door Vlaanderen and that’s almost matched by the 7th place of Marie Le Net here last season. There’s also a case to be made for Gladys Verhulst who just finished 2nd in GC at the Tour de Normandie Féminin, including a stage win on the opening day. I’m inclined to suggest Guazzini is the rider who will get the first nod after 7th place in Ronde van Drenthe and 3rd at Trofeo Alfredo Binda recently.
There’s no Elisa Balsamo here for Trek Segafredo so they may find themselves a bit exposed in the sprint. So with that in mind, we should see them attack plenty again with Trofeo Alfredo Binda winner Shirin van Anrooij. The young Dutch rider timed her attack perfectly in Cittiglio and took a comfortable victory in the end. Teammate Amanda Spratt can also have a solid go on the climbs and cover the moves of the lighter riders. I also see Lucinda Brand as a bit of a wildcard at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. A podium finished back in 2019, the late cobbled sections and punchy efforts really suit her.
Movistar will pin their hopes on a Van Vleuten-less trio once more. Floortje Mackaij has the best history here with no less than 4 top-10 results, including 2nd, 3rd and 4th over the years. She should be the attacking option, with the sprint covered by Arlenis Sierra. The Cuban was 9th in last year’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen and comes into it with great results of 5th at Nokere Koerse and 4th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda too. It leaves Liane Lippert in a bit of a free role. Her best result in Waregem is 9th back in 2019. You can see her supporting Mackaij, probably by making the race as tough as possible on the climbs to drop as many of the purer sprinters as possible.
It’s tough to pick a favourite from Jayco-AlUla as they bring 3 similar sprinter types. Letizia Paternoster was taken to the hospital at Classic Brugge – De Panne and has a mild concussion. She has been in the strong form of the trio so far in 2023 but probably won’t end up on the final start list. Teammates Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Alex Manly both finished around 20th here last season but don’t seem to have their European racing legs on just yet. The best result from the pair in this part of the season is Roseman-Gannon’s 20th spot at Nokere Koerse. The free role will go to Kristen Faulkner, from whom we can expect a long-range move to try and get clear well before the finish.
You’ve got to like the chances of Team DSM at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
They will bring Classic Brugge – De Panne winner Pfeiffer Georgi, potentially as their leader here once more. The Brit was 4th in last year’s race and is impressing many as she develops into a very strong Classics rider in her own right. Teammates Juliette Labous and Elise Uijen will help cover other eventualities. Labous is the obvious one for any climbing moves and Elise Uijen has been riding great so far in 2023 with a stage win in Spain and 7th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda recently too.
It’s slightly surprising that Maria Giulia Confalonieri only has a best finish of 24th at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. This sort of up-and-down race with a sprint kick finish should be right in her wheelhouse. The Italian is riding well, 2nd at Le Samyn des Dames was followed up with 5th at Ronde van Drenthe and then 11th at Nokere Koerse too.
AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step has got a great pair of options, just so long as they can keep the front group small. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio will draw most of the attention, especially as she appears to be in good form so far in 2023. Her teammate Justine Ghekiere is also one to watch. That infamous 1-second GC win ahead of her teammate at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana was proved to not be a one-off at Trofeo Alfredo Binda. The Belgian finished 8th there amongst elite company.
If the Zaaf Cycling team is racing, not necessarily a given at the moment, then Audrey Cordon-Ragot should be a big contender. Racing for herself has proved to be great fun for the French rider, taking multiple podiums and top-10s already this season. She finished 4th in GC at the Tour de Normandie Féminin last week, including 2nd on Stage 2 there. She’s shown herself to be an ideal candidate for a good finish at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2023 Outsiders
She’s only got a best result here of 42nd but I quite like Margaux Vigie of LIfeplus-Wahoo to do better than that this season. The French rider has been quietly consistent, adding another top-10 with 5th on Stage 2 of the Tour de Normandie Féminin last week. She’s a strong ‘tweener’ sort of rider who can negotiate the hills here and still have a kick at the end.
I’ve been waiting for Josie Nelson to come back to racing ever since her nasty crash at Omloop van het Hageland near the end of February. It was a hard fall, caused by a speedhump and the team has been careful not to bring her back too soon. She was in the front group there and was all set for a good result. She may make up for lost time at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
Martina Alzini was 18th here back in 2018, hopefully, she will do better than 23rd in 2023! Her form is great, 3rd at Trofeo Oro in Euro was followed by a fun week in Normandy. The Italian finished 2nd twice and that helped her secure 3rd in GC there. She’s a rider who could surprise a good few in Waregem.
It’s always kinda tough to work out which Parkhotel Valkenburg rider is going to get the nod but the likes of Margot Vanpechtenbeke,
Quinty Schoens and Sofie van Rooijen could all be up there in this year’s race. Schoens is the only one to have raced here before, finishing 40th last season. Her break in Normandy was very impressive and could’ve potentially been a stage victory if not for a mechanical that killed those chances. Margot Vanpachtenbeke was also impressive there finishing 6th on Stage 2. We’ve yet to see a big result from Sofie van Rooijen so far in 2023 but it’s definitely coming!