Simac Ladies Tour 2023 Race Preview

Riejanne Markus 2022 Simac Ladies Tour Cor Vos

Simac Ladies Tour History

The Simac Ladies Tour, formerly known as the Holland Ladies Tour, is a cornerstone event in the Women’s WorldTour having had that status since 2017. Its history goes back to 1998, before becoming a UCI race in 1999. In 2022, Lorena Wiebes joined the list of winners with her stellar all-round performance. She won the opening two stages before hanging on with a great performance on the hills to take the GC win. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak seized the title in 2021. She didn’t win a stage in her GC win but was consistent across the week to beat Marlen Reusser by 17 seconds. Yet, the extraordinary Marianne Vos who remains the biggest winner in the Simac Ladies Tour history. She has an astonishing record of four successive titles to her name between 2009-2012, setting a standard that hasn’t been matched yet. Another Dutch legend Mirjam Melchers made her indelible mark by clinching victories in both 2000 and 2004 as well.

This year’s race sees fewer time trial kilometres, with just a 2.4km prologue and 7.1km time trial in Leuven to earn time. There are two stages that feel like obvious sprint stages early on before a pair of lumpier stages. Stage 4’s race around Valkenburg will feature the Cauberg and other climbs from the Amstel Gold Race The final day in Arnhem will feature lots of short sharp accelerations and should be a reduced bunch sprint.

Previous Winners

Lorena Wiebes
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Not held

Simac Ladies Tour 2023 Profiles

Prologue Profile

Stage 1 Profile

Stage 2 Profile (TT)

Stage 3 Profile

Stage 4 Profile

Stage 5 Profile

TV Coverage

Saturday 5th September 2023 to Thursday 10th September 2023

Live on Eurosport/GCN

Prologue: 14:45-16:30
Stage 1: 14:20-16:05
Stage 2: 12:30-14:15
Stage 3: 14:30-16:15
Stage 4: 14:30-16:15
Stage 5: 14:25-16:10

All times in BST

Twitter: #SLT2023

Startlist: FirstCycling

Simac Ladies Tour 2023 Contenders

The Annemiek van Vleuten retirement tour reaches its climax on home roads at the Simac Ladies Tour. The retiring star has said that she won’t be going for GC but will be soaking in the adulation from the crowds for the final time. We obviously heard that about the Tour of Scandinavia as well but this time, the parcours doesn’t really suit too much other than the final days. Even then the climbs in Valkenburg aren’t quite tough enough for her to make a big difference. The couple of short TTs also don’t swing the balance much either. She will still do fine but don’t expect any major solo breaks or a big effort to win this. Arlenis Sierra might be a threat for stage wins via the sprint, particularly the hilly stages late on. The Cuban isn’t in the best form though at the moment, with her best recent result coming in a time trial. We’ve not seen Mareille Meijering since June but she can do well in Valkenburg after top-10s in hilly one-day races this year. We’ve not seen much in terms of results from Floortje Mackaij recently, she’s been firmly working for others but the Simac Ladies Tour could see her back to a bigger role.

Lorena Wiebes won here last season and if anything, the race seems more likely to be hers this year if she can beat her teammates. The amount of time trial kilometres has been reduced, with the prologue and short TT both firmly in the wheelhouse of a powerful sprinter now. This time last year we weren’t sure about her climbing on a Valkenburg stage but that seems to have been smashed out of the water this season. There are potentially 3-5 stage wins for Wiebes here and if so, that’s probably a strong GC as well. Teammate Lotte Kopecky will also be here, repping the new rainbow bands jersey. She’s won a non-UCI race in it already but there are chances here too. If Wiebes is the main nod, then Kopecky can capitalise in either GC through the TTs or be released as the team’s best option on Stages 4 and 5. It will largely depend on how the GC shapes up by then but strong TTs could put the Belgian in the prime position. Demi Vollering is also going to be here too. The shorter TTs won’t suit quite as much as a longer one but when it comes to the Valkenburg stage this year’s Amstel Gold Race winner (after 2 years in a row finishing 2nd) will be a threat. Also can’t rule out Mischa Bredewold getting involved after her win at the weekend in Plouay.

Jumbo-Visma has got a good line-up here with plenty of all-round threats. Riejanne Markus took a great stage win in last year’s Simac Ladies Tour, ghosting clear on the climbs and not being caught again. The TTs are short but Markus should be able to make up time. It’ll be tough to see her beat SD Worx in GC but maybe the podium is there. Anna Henderson is a great prologue and TT rider and might be able to put herself into the top-10 contention as a result. 4th in the World Championships TT was a great result but this will be a different effort. She was 3rd in GC at the similar Baloise Ladies Tour this year. Karlijn Swinkels is due to leave the team this off-season but had a great 7th place at Plouay this weekend. She’s got a useful fast finish and will also do well against the clock.

Kasia Niewiadoma
Kasia Niewiadoma

Canyon SRAM might not pull off a strong GC threat here, even with Kasia Niewiadoma, unless the Pole can avoid losing time against the clock. The former Amstel Gold Race winner will relish the Valkenburg stage and maybe she can finally break her winless duck. Maike van der Duin might be back to her best here, her crash at the Madison in the World Championships seemed to carry over into the Tour of Scandinavia. It’s also the debut race on the team for new signing Zoe Backstedt and it’ll be interesting to see how she fits in.

Christina Schweinberger is having a great season, which the Austrian continued with 6th this weekend in the Classic Lorient Agglomeration. She’s on a run of 4 top-10 results in a row now at the very highest level. Her teammate Julie de Wilde will also be a fun one to watch this week. She can do well in the prologue and will be in the hunt for stage wins too.

Tamara Dronova continues her solid consistent season with 13th place at the weekend. She was 4th on the last day of the Tour of Scandinavia too and is able to take top-10 results almost anywhere. Her TT isn’t amazing so that will probably hamper GC efforts but all of the sprints and hilly stages are probably in her wheelhouse. 

Lidl-Trek will be really looking to take the race to their usual rivals SD Worx. Elisa Balsamo will be their sprint threat and might also be able to contest the hilly stages. The team pursuiter should be ok on the prologue and the TT isn’t much longer either. She’s starting to come back into form after the injuries she took at RideLondon Classique. There’s also Tour de l’Avenir Femmes winner Shirin van Anrooij. Her 30km solo break for the win was a huge effort, reminiscent of her win at Trofeo Alfredo Binda earlier this year. She should also be a GC threat here too. Lucinda Brand might also have a shout after winning the Baloise Ladies Tour. The TT there and 4 consistent finishes in the top 4 took her to the GC victory. 

Parkhotel Valkenburg has a strong recent result from almost every one of their riders at the moment. Femke Gerritse was 2nd on the final day of the Giro Toscana, Lieke Nooijen won 2 Districtenpijl – Ekeren-Deurne, Quinty Schoens was 2nd at Kreiz Breizh Elites and Scarlett Souren 2nd at Egmont Cycling Race. It’s tougher against Women’s WorldTour opposition naturally but the entire team is able to be a threat on any given stage.

Charlotte Kool
Charlotte Kool

Charlotte Kool will be back going head-to-head against Lorena Wiebes. The tally has evened out since the UAE Tour earlier in the year but Kool represents one of the few riders able to beat the best sprinter in the peloton. 11 victories this year have been a great return steeping up in Wiebes’ shoes. Pfeiffer Georgi is another rider for whom the TTs at this year’s Simac Ladies Tour might help push her up the GC. 7th at the Amstel Gold Race this year means that she could be a threat in Valkenburg too.

Chiara Consonni will be confident after winning at GP Beerens on Sunday. The Italian won the final stage of the Giro Donne and had a 4th and 6th at the Tour de France Femmes before focusing on the World Championships. She’s not quite on the same tier as Wiebes/Balsamo/Kool but she is just below trying to close the gap.

Uno-X has a few stage-hunting possibilities. Susanne Andersen did an impressive 100km+ breakaway at Classic Lorient Agglomeration this weekend. She was powerful on the repeated short steep hills and we’ve also seen her clock up strong sprint finishes, including 2nd at Ronde van Drenthe. Maria Giulia Confalonieri is looking back to good form again. 4th at GP Oetingen was followed by 19th in Plouay. The Italian is a fast finisher on tough stages. Amalie Didikersen might be the flat-stage option. The Dane won the GP Eco-Struct earlier in the season and has top-10s in the Giro Donne and Konvert Kortrijk Koerse since. 

Ceratizit WNT comes with some strong options. There’s Arianna Fidanza, Martina Fidanza and Kathrin Schweinberger. Martina just finished 2nd at the GP Beerens behind Chiara Consonni, to go with another 2nd place at Veenendaal-Veenendaal and the Ronde de Mouscron victory. Sister Arianna Fidanza works well in tandem and after a strong spring has mainly been helping out the other fast finishers on the team. She hasn’t had a top-10 result since 2nd place at the Bretagne Ladies Tour back in May. Kathrin Schweinberger is in form at the moment, with 4th place at Konvert Kortrijk Koerse and just outside of the top-10 at GP Oetingen and GP Beerens.

If we get the Ally Wollaston who won the Festival Elsy Jacobs this year back on the road then the New Zealander might find herself in the top-10 of GC. She can certainly climb well on rolling hills and will be okay in the short TTs as well. She was knocking on the door with 3rd and 5th results at the Giro Donne before focusing on the track before the World Championships. I suspect Romy Kasper will be supporting but she had a strong Thüringen Ladies Tour this year and might be the sort of rider who can win a stage from the break at the Simac Ladies Tour. Maaike Boogaard is back in form as well, she was able to go clear at the GP Oetingen to finish 3rd ahead of the chasing peloton. She’s got a decent time trial too.

Top 3 Prediction