We race our first stage race of the 2021 season at tomorrow’s Healthy Ageing Tour in The Netherlands. The team’s line up will include 2019 general classification winner, Lisa Klein, alongside Alice Barnes, Elise Chabbey, Hannah Ludwig, Alexis Ryan and Omer Shapira.
Lisa won the five-day edition of the tour in 2019 by a margin of eight seconds, and ranks the victory as one of her career highlights.
“The Healthy Ageing Tour is always a hard race because there is always crosswind or strong wind and narrow roads, and it’s a constant battle to position yourself. Even so, I have really good memories of this race and I’m super happy to be back here this week,” said Lisa.
“The individual time trial on stage two is my favourite. I’ve been targeting it and I’m aiming to win. It won’t be easy. The weather conditions are meant to be tough with strong winds, rain and cold temperatures, and there is some strong competition. But I am ready and looking forward to fight hard.”
With very few individual time trials on the calendar, Lisa said every opportunity to race the discipline becomes important.
“A stage race with an individual time trial is valuable. I really like the new time on the calendar, having the tour ahead of the spring classics instead of in the middle of them. I believe it’s the ideal preparation in order to be in the best shape for the big spring races.”
With the likes of three ITT specialists in the team’s roster (Lisa, Alice and Hannah) Lisa said the team has several cards for the general classification but says she starts with a bigger focus on stage two than defending her title.
“We have a strong squad here. With smart tactics we can aim for the podium. In stage one we will be alert and race aggressively, it’s only a three-day tour so no reason to hold back! I’m wanting to do well in the ITT and then I think the team can make a decision after that for the overall,” added Lisa.
Hannah Ludwig: “I am looking forward to starting the season and getting back into racing again. I’ve missed it so much! I’ll be aiming to enjoy the racing, and do my best work. The time trial stage is an opportunity to see how my strength is developing and where my shape is compared to some of the best riders.”
Stage 1 – Assen, 28 laps for total of 126km, starting at 10:00CET.
Stage 2 ITT – Lauwersoog, 14.4km out and back course, first rider starts at 11:00CET.
Stage 3 – Col du VAM, 17 laps for total of 115.1km, starting at 09:45CET.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The three stages of Healthy Ageing Tour will be broadcast around the world live, in condensed form and on television between 10 and 12 March. The organisers made the live broadcast announcement yesterday, giving thanks to a group of cycling enthusiasts that donated to the crowd funding campaign, an anonymous benefactor, and the willing cooperation of Eurosport x GCN, Sport Noord and Podium TV.
Photo Credit: Thomas Maheux