Team SD Worx defends the title of Blaak in the Tour of Flanders. It was only six months ago that the current Team SD Worx celebrated at the finish in Oudenaarde with two podium spots in the Tour of Flanders. The victory was for Chantal Blaak who rode solo to the finish after an attack at the Oude Kwaremont. Behind her, Amy Pieters managed to sprint to second place.
This result requires the expectations for this edition of the Tour of Flanders. Certainly, because Team SD Worx has opened the season strongly with six victories achieved by six different riders. Of the six that were successful so far, five have been selected for this race: Chantal Blaak (Strade Bianche), Anna van der Breggen (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad), Jolien D’hoore (stage in the Healthy Aging Tour), Amy Pieters (Nokere Koerse) and Christine Majerus (Omloop van de Westhoek). Only Demi Vollering has not yet won, but she claimed leading roles in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche.
In the 152.4 kilometer classic, the team has won victories in the past with Ellen van Dijk (2014), Lizzie Armitstead (2016), Anna van der Breggen (2018) and Chantal Blaak (2020).
Sports manager Danny Stam expects a tough race, with some teams wanting to attack early. That would be to the advantage of Team SD Worx, because the team has one of the strongest collectives in terms of width.
“The Tour of Flanders is one of the highlights of the season,” Stam emphasises. “It is a competition that we have always worked towards. We have shown from the start of the season that we are in a good condition. It was a little less in the last two races, but we are certainly ready for the Tour of Flanders. ”
Team SD Worx will not start with an outspoken leader on Sunday. “We start with an open strategy. We have three or four riders who can finish on the podium. With Chantal Blaak, Anna van der Breggen, Amy Pieters and Demi Vollering, we have serious candidates for the victory. The course of the game will determine whose card we will play.”
Last week, Chantal Blaak and Jolien D’hoore were a bit ill. “Of course, the question is always how well they have recovered from that”, Stam continues. “When Chantal has recovered a hundred per cent, she will be one of the riders who ride for the victory. If she is still a few per cent less, she can still make herself useful for the other girls in the final. ”
Chantal Blaak herself has full confidence for this Tour of Flanders, in which she starts with the number 1. “I started the winter well with the victory in Flanders and started the season with the victory in the Strade Bianche. Two weeks ago I did indeed become slightly ill, but in the meantime, I have the feeling that I’m back at my normal level. I have full confidence for Sunday. The Tour of Flanders is my favourite race. It doesn’t matter in which I start, I can and always want to show something extra here.”