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GP Oetingen Race History
The GP Oetingen came into existence in 2021 but in reality is a revived race. It’s a new version of the old Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik race that was held between 2011 and 2018. The finishing circuit of that race has been largely reused for the GP Oetingen. A slightly longer triangle forms the route this year whereas previously it was more of a trapezium – a triangle with the top chopped off.
The main point of note on the circuit is the Bergstraat. The climb lasts 500 metres at an average of 8.4% and peaks at 11%. It won’t last much more than a minute for the best riders in the field but will be tackled 9 times in the race. Riders wanting to do well will need to crest the climb in the main group, survive the descent and have enough energy for the sprint. The finish line is closer to the Bergstraat in the GP Oetingen so the climb has a bigger role than in the old race.
Traditionally punchy sprinters won Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, Marianne Vos winning 3 times and Gracie Elvin twice. A young, 19 year old, Lotte Kopecky was 2nd in 2016. The first GP Oetingen was won by Elisa Balsamo from a reduced group of 10 riders.
GP Oetingen 2022 Contenders
It feels strange, but the only rider who was in last year’s top 10 that is coming back in 2022 is Maria Giulia Confalonieri. It seems everyone else is more focused on the upcoming WWT race at Ronde van Drenthe. Confalonieri was 6th in last year’s reduced bunch sprint. She does best in sprints at the end of tough racing and already has a good result this season. She was 8th in Omloop het Nieuwsblad, so we should expect her to be up there here. Ceratizit also has Martina Fidanza who is coming off a good week at the Bloeizone Fryslan. She finished 9th and 2nd in the sprint stages in the north of the Netherlands. I think I’ll give the nod here to Confalonieri given the repeated ascents.
Lorena Wiebes comes into this race as the big favourite, as you’d sort of expect with a race due to finish in a sprint. So far though, her best result in 2022 is only 3rd, but that hides a few things. At both Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland she won the sprint in the chasing bunch. I don’t think she’ll have an issue on the short climb here so should notch her first win of the year.
Valcar’s Chiara Consonni was working for race-winner Elisa Balsamo last season. Now up in the leader role, she’s finished 2nd in Le Samyn this year. If the peloton hasn’t dropped her on the climbs then she’ll make an interesting head to head against Lorena Wiebes.
Ruby Roseman-Gannon continues to impress in her first full season in the European peloton. After finishing 2nd in the first Setmana Ciclista Valenciana stage, she’s been remarkably consistent in a number of different races. She’s now finished just outside of the top-10 at all of Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Omloop van het Hageland and Strade Bianche. I think the climbing will be fine and on papers she’s one of the best all-round sprinters here.
Norwegian Susanne Andersen seems to be back to her best after being put down the pecking order at Team DSM. She’s taken a pair of 4th places at Vuelta CV Feminas and Le Samyn des Dames and a podium on the final day at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. I ummed and ahhed about including her in my podium prediction, she will be up there.
11th at Le Samyn des Dames was a good start to 2022 for Arkea’s Lucie Jounier. Then she improved on that with 6th on the Stage 2 sprint at the Bloeizone Fryslan Tour. There’s quite a bit of hype that Jounier will push on to a higher level in 2022 and so she’ll need to start consistent getting strong results at races like this one to make WWT teams take notice.
It feels like Cofidis’ Martina Alzini will get the nod for this race. She’s got a chance of finishing in the top 10 at GP Oetingen and already has one top-10 in 2022. That came on Stage 4 at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana where she was able to negotiate a tough day to make the sprint.
It was a super impressive few days racing in the Netherlands for Nicole Steigenga. In her home region, she used that local knowledge to finish 7th in GC. Known for making speculative attacks when the peloton slows down, it was interesting seeing this side to her racing. She was also 20th at Omloop van het Hageland so clearly in good form. Her sprint isn’t as strong as others on this list, so she’ll need to make the group small to do really well.
Le Col-Wahoo’s Lizzie Holden was another who did well in GC in Bloeizone Fryslan too. She was 9th thanks to a strong time trial and finished around 20th each day. That’s also roughly where she’s been finishing in Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Le samyn des Dames too. Another attacking rider, she’s someone who can keep the peloton on its toes.
GP Oetingen 2022 Outsiders
I’m not sure who will get the nod for Human Powered Health. Marit Raaijmakers probably will but had a very quiet Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. That’s why she’s in this Outsiders section because her highest result of the year is 39th. We know that she’s a good one-day racer though, so should improve on there here. This is the first race of the season for Makayla MacPherson and therefore her first pro race too! It’ll be interesting to see if she can hit the ground running but it’s a pure wildcard pick based on potential with the information we’ve got at the moment.
The Belgian track rider Katrijn de Clercq just took her best result on the road this week at Bloeizone Fryslan with 5th place on the last stage. It wasn’t a name I expected to see up there, so the test will be to see if she can match that again at GP Oetingen. That track background means she has a good kick and she got herself ahead of some big names in that finish.
Plantur-Pura has already had a decent start to 2022 and I quite hope that Julie de Wilde is able to improve on her 22nd at Omloop van het Hageland. That was a tough race and she was in that first chase group. We’ve seen her do well in stages at the Lotto Belgium Tour and it feels like the time for the 2019 Junior World Champ runner-up to push on a gear.
Alice Sharpe had a good sprint at Vuelta CV Feminas earlier in 2022, finishing 10th. It’s been a different story in the first couple of Belgian races though, so it’s tough to be sure how much can be taken from the result from Spain. The big if is about whether she can keep to the front of the race by the end.
Finally, Mareille Meijering is worth an outsider mention. She’s a university lecturer in economics at Utrecht but has steadily picked up results over the years. 8th at Drentse Acht van Westerveld last season ahead of the likes of Christine Majerus is a sign of what she can do in this sort of race. Meijering took a credible 19th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and could do similarly well at GP Oetingen.