Ronde de Mouscron History
The Ronde de Mouscron has a short history of just two editions, like Scheldeprijs before it. The first edition was a big bunch sprint that was dominated by Valcar as they delivered Chiara Consonni to the win that year. Last year’s race was a slightly different affair with a large group able to split the bunch. Thalita de Jong took the win for the small JEGG-DJR team whilst waiting for her transfer to Liv Racing Xstra to go through. A host of sprinters followed her home in what was a minor shock, despite De Jong’s good form.
There’s been a bit of a change to the route for 2023. The cobbled section on the Chaussée du Long-bout has gone, sacrificed for a longer tarmac path just across a field or two from it. That sees the lap up to 24km in length, with the peloton tackling it 5 times for a total of 120km. The weather in Mouscron on Monday looks good, albeit windy. So whilst a sprint is likely, we could see splits from the many turns on the loop and the wind playing a role.
Thalita de Jong
Ronde de Mouscron 2023 Profile
Ronde de Mouscron 2023 Contenders
Fenix Deceuninck looks like they can cover all eventualities here. The main sprint chance should come from Maria Martins who almost took a good result last week at Scheldeprijs. The Portuguese rider was in the right place at the right time but when she kicked, she just seemed to go backwards. Another chance comes on Monday.
Teammate Cecilia Van Zuthem could also get the nod but I see her more in the lead-out role unless something happens to Martins during the race. I also quite like the Brit Flora Perkins to provide some mid-race action. She’s been attacking in any and every opportunity she’s had to race for the main Fenix-Deceuninck team after signing for their Dev outfit.
On paper, one of the fastest finishers here is Italian Letizia Paternoster. There is plenty of flat firepower for Jayco-AlUla here and they can pull back any move that goes away. 10th at Scheldeprijs was decent but it does feel like there’s a stronger result due from her at some point soon.
New Human Powered Health signing Audrey Cordon-Ragot will be up for continuing her great start to the season. After a couple of weeks off sorting out the admin of leaving one team and joining another, she will be keen to start earning her new team some points to keep them in the Women’s WorldTour and has everything needed to win this. Teammate Daria Pikulik is probably the greater sprint threat though and I think she has the fastest kick out of anyone on this start list, however the Pole has been a little bit quiet since the spring classics started. This flatter race may allow her to recreate her win at the Tour Down Under.
Amalie Dideriksen had a return to form at Classic Brugge-De Panne securing 6th that day after riding the splits to go clear with an elite group. A former-world champion, we see the Dane doing well in flatter races and this should give her a chance to match or better that De Panne result. Teammate Anniina Ahtosalo will be champing at the bit for a good result as well. We’ve seen the Finn attack and go super long on the odd sprint so far this year but nothing quite repeats her result from early last year at the Vuelta CV Feminas. She may lead out Dideriksen or get a shout herself.
I’m not sure where to even begin in calling which Ceratizit-WNT rider will get the lead sprinter role. They’re bringing absolutely everyone! There’s Sandra Alonso, Mylene de Zoete, Martina Fidanza, Arianna Fidanza and Kathrin Schweinberger. Every single one of that quintet has a decent high top-10 placing so far in 2023 as well. Martina got the nod at Scheldeprijs and finished 5th. I can see this being a way for the team to secure a massive bunch of UCI points that should help get them another bit closer to Women’s WorldTour status in 2024.
Still at the Zaaf Cycling team is Canadian Maggie Coles-Lyster. She continues to do well and is effectively racing for a contract after the team hasn’t paid its riders at all this year. If she can impress enough, then she might be able to get picked up by another team before the end of the season. She’s doing a decent job of it, including finishing 8th at Scheldeprijs last week. She just missed out on a win with 2nd at the Vuelta Extremadura last month and should do well against this field.
Team Jumbo-Visma hasn’t brought a recognised sprinter so they will pretty much be a bits-and-pieces team here. They’ve backed youth and given them a run-out so it should come down to the pair of Eva van Agt and Noemi Rüegg to animate the race. The latter certainly did that at Dwars Door Vlaanderen, where her sliding control of flat tyres made her viral after the race. Eva van Agt did well in the same race finishing 19th, her best result of the year so far. Both riders will be let off the leash here and have a chance to impress.
Against this 1.1 level field, Cofidis’ Martina Alzini should be a decent threat. She had a great Tour de Normandie Féminin, twice finishing 2nd in that race. The Italian was also 3rd here last season so will want to go a little better in Mouscron this year. Teammate Victoire Berteau will no doubt attack at some point. We’ve seen her in the moves at Dwars door Vlaanderen and she attempted to do the same at the Tour of Flanders too. The photo above of her was from the break at the Tour de France Femmes as if to prove her willingness to go off the front. She will be a threat if a move goes clear.
It’s been really hard to place Tamara Dronova at the moment and her team is suffering as well without their marquee rider firing on all cylinders. 10th at the Trofeo Oro in Euro at the start of March is her only result of note since the end of January and it really looks like the Russian is struggling to replicate her 2022 season. Against minimal top-drawer WWT level opposition here, it’s a chance to get back into the top-10 again.
Canadian Simone Boilard has played a little bit of second fiddle to a resurgent Roxane Fournier this season but will be the undoubted leader here in Ronde de Mouscron. We saw her get in the break for the second year running at Scheldeprijs and that ability to get into a small break could serve her well here. She was 6th recently at Tour de Normandie Féminin and should be in the top-10 again here.
Arkea’s young French sprinter Marie-Morgane Le Deunff will be looking to make up for her DNF at Scheldeprijs recently. I believe that was down to her being caught up in the late crash there but if she’s fit enough to go again at Ronde de Mouscron will be a threat in the finish. She’s made the top-10 at Tour de Normandie Féminin and Vuelta Extremadura this season.
Ronde de Mouscron 2023 Outsiders
If Tamara Dronova is unable to sprint at this year’s Ronde de Mouscron then it could fall to Alice Sharpe to step up for Israel Premier-Tech Roland. The Irish rider was 19th for them at Scheldeprijs, in what was her first race for the team after spending the early part of the Spring solely racing on the track.
Duolar-Chevalmeire has a pair of riders with top-10 finishes at the Ronde de Mouscron. Minke Bakker, 6th in 2021 and Danique Braam, 9th in 2022. Both have been just outside of the top-20 at recent flat races like Classic Brugge-De Panne and Scheldeprijs. You can see one of them making the bottom reaches of the top-10 but it’s hard to pin down which one.
Eneicat has had a fun season so far, especially racing at home in Spain. Chilean Aranza Villalón represents the best option for them here I believe. She’s got a quick finish which we saw in her 9th place at Vuelta CV Feminas and 12th at Women Cycling Pro Costa de Almeria too. Fresh from winning the Chile ITT national championship, she’s an all-rounder threat.