While half of Team Jumbo-Visma Women is in the Giro d’Italia Donne, the other half will start on Dutch soil in the Baloise Ladies Tour this week. The selection for this international four-day event, with stages in Belgium and the Netherlands, consists of Anna Henderson, Aafke Soet, Karlijn Swinkels, Jip van den Bos, Romy Kasper and Pernille Mathiesen.
We have a strong team with which we focus on a good prologue and time trial”, sports director Lieselot Decroix says. “We don’t start with one outspoken leader. We want to have as many chances as possible to win a stage in the first place and, who knows, also win the general classification. We definitely have three or four riders who are able to do that.”
The Baloise Ladies Tour kicks off on Thursday night with a prologue in Utrecht followed by a 112km stage on Friday in Eeklo, Belgium. “We expect a lot from the prologue, that’s our first focus”, Decroix continues. “On the local lap in Eeklo, the wind could play a big role on Friday. And there are a lot of narrowings in the course. It’s a matter of being in the front and riding in an attacking way. If it turns into a sprint, we have a good team to train with.”
Saturday will be the decisive day for the general classification. The riders will start the day on the coast in Cadzand with an 82.4 kilometre stage ending on a local lap in Knokke-Heist. A second 11.5-kilometre time trial is scheduled in the Belgian coastal town, later that afternoon. On Sunday, the final stage over 121 kilometres will make up the final classification at the finish line in Zulte. Decroix: “Saturday morning there is a flat stage along the coast and in the afternoon there is another time trial. This one is perfect for Karlijn. A day with two stages is a tough day. The last day has more cobbles and short climbs. It can still go either way. The final classification will probably be decided in the time trial and the last stage.”
Baloise Ladies Tour (8/7-11/7)
Jip van den Bos