Simac Ladies Tour History
The Simac Ladies Tour is the only Women’s WorldTour stage race in the Benelux this season. Formerly known as the Boels Ladies Tour, the race takes us across most of the Netherlands from the below sea-level areas to the hills of Limburg. The addition of a time trial will give the WWT peloton only its 2nd of the season after the prologue at the Giro Donne. With the World Championships only a few weeks away, it will give the TT favourites the last chance to race and see how their form is before heading Down Under.
The recent editions have seen a mix of sprints, hard racing and time trials to decide the winners. With the likes of Van den Broek-Blaak and Majerus winning, the balance has swung to the hard racers. Before them, Annemiek van Vleuten won 2 years in a row with the time trial helping her stamp her authority on the race. 2018 is also where a young Lorena Wiebes came to prominence with her then-best WWT results. This late part of the season is a good chance to see some riders who may move on a level next season.
Marianne Vos has won the Simac Ladies Tour the most, with 4 consecutive victories between 2009 and 2012. Aside from Van Vleuten, other double winners include Van den Broek-Blaak, Susanne Ljungskog and Mirjam Melchers.
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Simac Ladies Tour 2022 Stage Profiles
Simac Ladies Tour 2022 Contenders
Team DSM’s Lorena Wiebes has a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Simac Ladies Tour. She has taken a pair of stage wins in 3 editions but there have also been missed opportunities like last year when Alison Jackson won from a small break ahead of the bunch. An almighty crash on Stage 3 in 2021 also took Lorena Wiebes out of the rest of the last edition. We all know her form and the new European Champion should stand out in her new jersey too. Her teammate Pfeiffer Georgi is a bit of a decent outsider for the overall. She has a decent time trial as the U23 British TT champ, plus the harder stages will suit her too. Once off the leash of Wiebes sprint duties, Georgi could make the podium.
Last year’s winner Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak is back for another go. With just one time trial, the course really suits her ability to get over most of the climbs and read the right group. Van den Broeck-Blaak may not be the outright favourite but she can definitely put together a good GC race. Lonneke Uneken will be the team’s sprint option, she took a win here in last year’s race after avoiding the major crash by Wiebes. We haven’t seen Uneken take a win since Bloeizone Fryslan back in March.
Ellen van Dijk will be a big favourite with the time trial here. A nicely timed warm-up ahead of the World Championships, Van Dijk should win the TT with no Reusser here. That will set her up nicely for a swing at the GC. She may be put into difficulty on the Limburg stage but everything else will be in her stride. Chloe Hosking should get a chance for the sprints here, with stages 1-3 ideal for a regular sprint. She was 2nd on a recent Tour of Scandinavia stage and looked to be getting closer to her best.
Up against Lorena Wiebes will be Chiara Consonni and the Valcar lead-out train. It’s been 6 weeks since we saw Consonni win the final stage of the Giro Donne and the young Italian will be keen to get sprinting again. Her lieutenants Elonora Gasparrini and Ilaria Sanguineti are both in great form with the former winning the MerXem Classic recently and the latter almost making the podium at the GP de Plouay this weekend.
Team BikeExchange will probably get behind Georgia Baker at this year’s Simac Ladies Tour. The Aussie won the Commonwealth Games recently and should be the clear sprinter here for the early stages. That balance may shift towards Ruby Roseman-Gannon for the climbing around Limburg on Stage 4 or the final stage. The young Australian rider is a better climber than Baker, so if she is distanced, the team can quickly pivot around Roseman-Gannon.
It’s hard to ignore the presence of Amanda Spratt but really the Limburg stage feels like the only one where she could find some joy. The repeated ascent of the Cauberg always has the potential to split up the bunch but with the finish line quite a way from any climb, it feels like Spratt will do well to get a stage win.
Clara Copponi is back for FDJ but she was a late absence from the Tour of Scandinavia and Emilia Fahlin has been making the most of her chances recently. She’s partly motivated by needing a new contract with FDJ moving on from the experience Swede at the end of this year. She’s doing her best to prove to them that was unwise and expect her to be at the front again at the Simac Ladies Tour.
Rachele Barbieri is another hoping for a sprint win but it’ll be tough against Lorena Wiebes. Supported by Alison Jackson and Amber van der Hulst, she will certainly push the Dutch rider close and is firmly within the ‘best of the rest’ top tier.
Canyon SRAM will have their mix of sprinter options in Alice Barnes and Shari Bossuyt. Barnes may be a fuller rounded option for the GC but Bossuyt can certainly time trial as well. With the way the 2022 season has gone, I’m probably more inclined to back Bossuyt as the rider likely to finish highest.
Riejanne Markus will put herself into contention with the time trial here. After the European Championships, Markus will likely be 2nd behind Van Dijk and could even spring a surprise. She isn’t a one-trick pony however as she climbed well at the Tour de France Femmes to finish 12th in GC and was 14th back in Amstel Gold this year too. The Jumbo-Visma team also has Anna Henderson who can certainly time trial well. She won the prologue at Bloeizone Fryslan earlier in the season. She may not be quite the same tier as the likes of Van Dijk but is enough of an all-rounder to do well here.
Julie de Wilde is another rider who will look to take on Lorena Wiebes. The young Belgian won Konvert Kortrijk Koerse recently and was 4th just a couple of days later at the MerXem Classic. She has the potential to beat Wiebes in the future but that time may not be here just yet.
Finally, Roland Cogeas’ Tamara Dronova has the potential to quietly get a good result here. She’s shown Silvia Persico-esque consistency on all terrains this season but the question mark is the time trial. She’s not too bad at the discipline, but is untested this season. She may lose time there that could derail a GC stint but I fully expect her to be in the lower reaches of the top 10 as usual.
Simac Ladies Tour 2022 Outsiders
Mischa Bredewold was 11th here last season where consistent racing and a decent enough time trial ensured that she almost make the top-10. The Parkhotel Valkenburg rider has been good again this season but is missing a victory. There have been near-misses like 3rd at Leiedal Koerse where she set up a teammate, and more 3rds at the U23 TT and European mixed relay TT. She looks set to move up in 2023 so a strong home performance for her team would be a nice way to start the send-off. Her teammate Femke Markus has had an impressive season and looks set to move onto a new team for 2023. She will have a go during the purer sprints but her best chance for a result is on the final day where the course is tougher but still likely to be a sprint.
Jumbo-Visma’s Karlijn Swinkels is a solid time triallist, maybe not in the same heights as same Van Dijk but she shouldn’t lose too much time against the clock. When she gets the chance, we’ve seen Swinkels do well on the hard stages too, like the final day at Festival Elsy Jacobs where she was 3rd and steered herself to 6th overall. She’s also got a decent enough sprint in her arsenal and the all-round ability could see her make the top-10 if given the opportunity.
Mylene de Zoete got overtaken a little bit by Ally Wollaston earlier in the year but after the Kiwi sustained an injury, De Zoete is back as the main sprinter here. She’s another who did well at Konvert Kortrijk Koerse, finishing 4th. Against Women’s WorldTour opposition, a top-10 stage result would be a great confidence builder.