The Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour will start in Schmölln on Tuesday. A hilly stage race through the middle of Germany. It’s almost a home race for German Romy Kasper.
“The race takes place not far from where I grew up”, the Team Jumbo-Visma rider said. “I often went to training camp here, you can easily do some nice hilly training laps on the small roads and through the beautiful countryside. My parents always come to watch this race. I think I have ridden this race the most of all races in my career. In 2014 I got my first win in a pro race here. In 2017, I got to step on the podium again in the third stage. This edition I will be at the start for the twelfth time.”
Starting with the first stage in Schmölln, the riders will be confronted with tough hills over six days towards the final stage in Gotha. Only the fourth stage will have an uphill finish on the top of the Hanka-Berg in Dörtendorf, named in honour of the region’s greatest rider Hanka Kupfernagel. This 1.2-kilometre climb with an incline of 8 per cent will have to be climbed no less than five times and is, therefore, the biggest obstacle for sprinters.
Kasper: “Every day the race offers a challenge. We will encounter all sorts of things; climbs, sloping roads, side wind sections and cobbles. You have to be prepared for everything. Because there is no time trial this year I expect an open race every day, with aggressive riding from day one until the last stage. That means you have to stay focused all day and be prepared for surprises. It is hard to choose a favourite stage. They are all challenging and there is an opportunity to break away every day.”
After a joint training week in the area, Team Jumbo-Visma Women will start the six-day race uninhibited. “With the team we want to ride in an attacking way and focus on stage wins”, Kasper continued. “I would like to be in the breakaway one day. At the same time a few of us have just come out of a small break. For Jip van den Bos it is the first race since her concussion and for Aafke Soet it is also the first race after a longer period without races. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves and we’re especially looking forward to riding together again.”
Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (25/5 – 30/5)
Jip van den Bos