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GP Oetingen 2023 Race Preview

1st GP Oetingen - Women's Elite

GP Oetingen History

The GP Oetingen is a relatively new one day race, with only 2 previous editions. It is an adapted version of the old Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik race, which covered some of the same roads in the area around the finish of Omloop het Nieuwsblad. 

There is the odd climb involved, with the Bergstraat the key one on each short lap. 450m at 8%, it’s not the hardest climb but is just enough to separate out the bunch. The finish line is not far away from its summit and it has potential to be a launch point, although the two previous years have seen sprints, albeit in smallish groups.

Previous Winners

Lorena Wiebes
Elisa Balsamo
Not held

GP Oetingen 2023 Profile

TV Coverage

Wednesday 8th March 2023

Live on Proximus (Dutch) or (French)
12:45-3:15pm GMT

Twitter: #GPOetingen

Startlist: FirstCycling

GP Oetingen 2023 Contenders

Chiara Consonni is the fastest sprint at this year’s GP Oetingen on paper. Runner-up last season as well, she’s the highest placed previous finisher at this year’s race. A pair of podiums behind Charlotte Kool and Lorena Wiebes at the UAE Tour Women shows good form, especially with both those stars not here. She’s supported by Eleonora Gasparrini who finished 5th 4 times in a row at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana but should be a lead-out here. Sofia Bertizzolo is the wildcard who can maybe go clear with a small group and sprint from there. Traditionally though, it should come down to a sprint. Bertizzolo is also finding her feet in 2023 after a couple of unfortunate crashes.

Movistar is quite hard to read at this year’s GP Oetingen. You’d expect Sheyla Gutierrez to be up there and she was 14th at Omloop van het Hageland last weekend. These smaller one-dayers usually see her get her best results. Teammate Jelena Eric was 8th in last season’s GP Oetingen but hasn’t raced so far in 2023 so her form is unknown. Finally, Aude Biannic was a great 8th place at Omloop van het Hageland, her highest individual result since the end of the 2021 season. If I had to say which one of the 3 is going to finish highest here, I’d go with Eric but it’s pretty open.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot should continue to impress. Another strong week has seen her finish 3rd at Omloop van het Hageland and 4th at Le Samyn des Dames as well. Not seen traditionally as a particularly strong sprint finisher, this season she’s been able to secure strong results in one-day races, especially with a good kick for the finish line. At GP Oetingen, she’s supported by Lucie Jounier who was 4th in the race last season. There is also fast finishers in Maggie Coles-Lyster and Dani de Francesco and for Zaaf Cycling the ideal finish has as many of the 4 near the top as possible for UCI points. 

Roxane Fournier looks back to her best now she’s on a smaller team in St Michel-Mavic-Auber93. 4x top-10s by the end of February is a bigger return than recent seasons and her 5th at Omloop van het Hageland was particularly impressive. I’m looking forward to how she fares in the Coupe de France-type races later in the year but you can certainly see her back in the top-10 again on Wednesday.

Team DSM aren’t bringing Charlotte Kool so I believe the Aussie Maeve Plouffe is the fastest finisher on the team. She’s been used mainly as a lead-out so far but the track rider also has a strong kick herself, taking a win and podiums at the Belgian national level last season. With minimal hills to worry about in the GP Oetingen, she stands a good chance. Teammate Elise Uijen is also there after winning a stage at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana recently. An attack from her certainly has a chance but a sprint finish is surely for others to contest.

Anna Henderson looks to be the fastest finisher from Jumbo-Visma. The Brit was 22nd at Omloop het Nieuwsblad but we’ve seen at races last year like the Simac Ladies Tour what she can do. The harder the race, the more chance Henderson will have and she shouldn’t have an issue making the front group for the finale.

Julie de Wilde
Julie de Wilde

I’m quite hyped about Julie de Wilde this season and what she might be able to achieve. 7th at Omloop van het Hageland is a good start and in this field with fewer bigger big-name sprinters should suit her a bit more. She also looks like the obvious choice for Fenix-Deceuninck, whereas sometimes she alternates with say Marthe Truyen.

Team Jayco-AlUla’s Georgia Baker is a fast finisher that was 3rd on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under this year. She followed that up with a pair of 7th places in the UAE Tour Women as well. Traditionally though, Belgian one-dayers aren’t where she gets her best results. Teammate Letizia Paternoster looked like she might be back to her best with 6th at Omloop van het Hageland. It’s a few years ago where she finished 3rd at Gent Wevelgem before things quietened down around Covid and the Olympics. There is certainly potential for one of these pair to be in the top-10 again at the GP Oetingen.

Uno-X will have the combination of Susanne Andersen and Maria Giulia Confalonieri at GP Oetingen. The latter is probably in the best form of the pair at the moment. Maria Giulia Confalonieri was the only rider able to go with Marta Bastianelli’s move at Le Samyn des Dames and managed to translate that into 2nd place at the end. The Italian is pushing closer to a win this year after the top-10s in the UAE Tour Women. For Andersen, 18th at Le Samyn des Dames is understandable with her teammate up the road. She seems to be more on lead-out duty for Confalonieri so far this season.

Human Powered Health will be going with one of Alice Barnes, Jesse Vandenbulcke and maybe Kaia Schmid too. Out of the trio, Vandenbulcke probably has the best bet after strong finishes at the Women Cycling Sport Costa de Almeria (7th) and Le Samyn des Dames (11th) this year. The Belgian also took a win at the limited start list at Aphrodite’s Sanctuary in Cyprus too. This is the sort of race that Alice Barnes did well in before but so far in 2023, she’s been looking out for teammates. Kaia Schmid did well in Australia and took her best result in a similar race last season.

BritJosie Nelson is hopefully recovered from her crash at Omloop van het Hageland. The Team Coop-Hitec Products rider crashed heavily on a speedbump whilst in the front group. It’s a shame that she missed out there but will have a chance to have another go on Wednesday. Her teammate Sigrid Ytterhus Haugset has been sprinting well in Spain recently and could be a useful foil.

Ceratizit WNT can rely on Mylene de Zoete, who finished 10th at Omloop van het Hageland. The Dutch rider also took a pair of top-10s at the UAE Tour and with no Arianna Fidanza, is the team’s strongest finisher so far this season. Well, initially there was no Arianna Fidanza but she is now on the start list! The Italian has had a strong start to 2023 that looked to maybe be derailed with a possible broken nose in Le Samyn des Dames. Instead, she came back to finish 6th in Trofeo Oro in Euro, the 4th top-10 of the season. Sandra Alonso is also here and took 5th at the Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almeria and 9th on the opening stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. Between the pair, it may come down to which of them is still in the front group at the end of the race.

Sofie Van Rooijen was 2nd three times last season, coming super close to a maiden pro win. She was a constant threat in any of the Belgian lower-level one-day races and will continue that this season. 16th at Le Samyn des Dames was a decent start and she can push on from there. Lieke Nooijen has joined her on the startlist now too, Nooijen was 5th at Le Samyn des Dames, which has a long drag up to the finish line. There were glimpses of strong results last season but another strong result here will show some good consistency for the 2019 Junior Worlds bronze medallist.

GP Oetingen 2023 Outsiders

Alana Castrique
Alana Castrique
Eline Van Rooijen of AG Insurance-NXTG U23 doesn’t have a stand-out result in 2023 so far but last season finished 9th at Konvert Kortrijk Koerse and 10th at GP Eco-Struct. Both are relatively flattish races and may be indicators of a good result at GP Oetingen.

Lotto Soudal’s Katrijn de Clercq hasn’t had a result this year so far but is another regular top-10 finisher of these races. The Belgian can sometimes drift backwards and be more of a top-20 finisher so she should be somewhere up there at GP Oetingen. 

Cofidis’ Alana Castrique has been flirting with the top 20 this season with 19th at Vuelta CV Feminas and 22nd at Le Samyn des Dames. I’m expecting a similar sort of result in this year’s GP Oetingen. Too strong in Belgian national races last season, Castrique rarely turned that into top 10s at the UCI level. This race gives her an opportunity.

Marith Vanhove should be a contender after podiums in this sort of race last season. A DNF at Omloop het Nieuwsblad this year, it’s not clear where her form is at the moment. The Parkhotel Valkenburg rider will be looking to push on another level this season and could start here.

It’s a similar case for
Celine Van Houtum as well after a DNF at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. The Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT rider was a regular top-15 finisher in Belgian one-dayers last year and can make that again here.

Top 3 Prediction