Women’s European Championships Time Trial 2023 Race Preview

Women's European Championships Time Trial History

The Women’s European Championships Time Trial has only been in existence since 2016 when it was decided to include an elite-level race. This came after almost 20 years of U23 and Juniors races with many big-name winners. Given the lack of a U23 women’s World Championship set of races, it’s almost a surprise that the European Championships was so ahead of the curve with Diana Žiliūtė winning the inaugural edition back in 1997. She retained the title in 1998 and then a host of stars like Linda Villumsen, Ellen van Dijk, Anna van der Breggen, Hannah Ludwig, Vittoria Guazzini and Shirin van Anrooij have all won the U23 race. 

When it comes to the Elites Women’s European Championships Time Trial, it’s been very much Ellen van Dijk‘s race over the years but she has been challenged in recent years. Van Dijk won the opening 4 editions of the European Championships and even in the last 3 years, she has still finished 2nd each time. Combined with her 2 wins at the U23 level, it’s an impressive record. Marlen Reusser won the last 2 editions and will be the big favourite again this year, largely in part due to Ellen van Dijk not being here to race with the Dutch star in the latter stages of her pregnancy.

This year’s time trial course is by and large flat. Unlike the recent World Championships which contained a couple of testing hills before a final blast up to the castle in Stirling. Therefore it should suit riders with strong power and the ability to push the outright watts rather than necessarily the lighter riders.

Previous Winners

Marlen Reusser
Marlen Reusser
Anna van der Breggen

UEC Road European Championships Time Trial 2023 Profile

TV Coverage

Wednesday 20th September 2023

Live on Eurosport/GCN


Startlist: FirstCycling

Women's European Championships Time Trial 2023 Contenders

Marlen Reusser will be the big favourite here for Switzerland. Winner of the TT stage at the Tour de France Femmes, the Tour de Suisse and the Mixed Relay at the World Championships, there’s only really one big result missing this year. Things just didn’t click at the World Championships as the pressure built on her to deliver a medal and so Reusser pulled to the side and called it a day. There will certainly be other opportunities, and whilst she moved on and finished 4th in the Worlds road race, plus she was 3rd in GC at the Tour de Romandie this week too. A win here will help fully assuage her feelings from the last time trial. 

Next door to Switzerland is a strong pair from Austria. Christina Schweinberger has been tearing up the second half of this season and took 3rd in the World Championships time trial. That result was a nice surprise and will put her into contention again here. She was 5th in the short TT at the Simac Ladies Tour so might prefer this longer race. Anna Kiesenhofer is always a decent threat in TTs but was 15th at the Worlds. She will have had a bit of a confidence booster though this week, winning the Chrono de Gatineau over in Canada.

The Dutch are particularly strong, as always, even without Ellen van Dijk. Demi Vollering comes into this as the winner of the Tour de Romandie, even after pulling out of the Simac Ladies Tour the week before due to sickness. She was 2nd at the Tour de France Femmes TT, 6th in the Worlds TT and the short Simac Ladies Tour TT too. I’m expecting a podium for her but it might be close with her teammate. Riejanne Markus. Markus won the Dutch National TT this year, finishing 55″ ahead of Demi Vollering in Nunspeet. Since then, she’s been close but not quite there, which tied in with a Tour de France Femmes where she was left feeling a little disappointed in her form. She was 5th in the TT there and finished 2nd in both stages against the clock at the Simac Ladies Tour. 
Demi Vollering is a late withdrawal, so instead Shirin van Anrooij will be the other Dutch option. Last year she was the Dutch and European U23 TT champion and did a solid race at the World Championships as well. This year she’s been a little off that form though, finishing 9th at the nationals in a real off day for her and her only other top-25 result is 3rd at the Tour de l’Avenir.

Lotte Kopecky
Lotte Kopecky

The World Championships road race champion Lotte Kopecky will also be a threat. Her time trialling has come on a lot this season. Almost always the Belgian national TT champion she was also 3rd on the Tour de France Femmes TT stage and has won twice more against the clock at the Simac Ladies Tour. Clearly in huge form, this course should suit her power output and she’ll be a major contender.

France will be in the medal hunt as well through Juliette Labous and Audrey Cordon-Ragot. Labous probably has the better form at the moment but skipped the French national TT back in June. We saw her finish 6th at the Tour de France Femmes and then 5th at the World Championships. She didn’t race Simac so we’ve not got a more recent race result to compare to, unfortunately. Labous was 4th in GC though at the Tour de Romandie so is finishing this season strongly. Audrey Cordon-Ragot finished 11th in that TT in the TDFF before finishing 9th in the Tour de Scandinavia TT stage as well. She was 2nd back at the French nationals behind Cédrine Kerbaol (who will be doing the U23 race). It feels like Labous will target a top-5 with Cordon-Ragot targeting a top-10.

Anna Henderson will be a threat and maybe an outside bet for the podium, although it’ll be tough to break up the Dutch dominance. She’s been strong on the TT bike all year and only really the British nationals has been an off result. That was down to a rolled tyre and a crash so wasn’t representative. 2nd in the Baloise Ladies Tour, 4th at Worlds and then 4th at Simac a couple of weeks ago, the results are there to be a threat. British teammate Pfeiffer Georgi should be too far behind either. 4th in a tight battle at Nationals, the Tour de France Femmes result wasn’t particularly strong with 37th but it came at the end of a hard week with plenty of work for the team. 10th at the Simac Ladies Tour feels like a similar position I expect to see her here.

Kasia Niewiadoma
Kasia Niewiadoma

It’s going to be quite hard to really work out where both Polish riders, Kasia Niewiadoma and Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka, will finish here. We’ve seen Kasia Niewiadoma finish 9th at the Tour de France Femmes TT but then was nowhere near that at the Simac Ladies Tour and didn’t do the World Champs TT. It’s similar for Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka too. She was 7th at Worlds and won the Polish nationals but then was 56th at the Simac Ladies Tour. It may be that she prefers a longer course to that and so it might be more of a threat here. 

Emma Norsgaard gets a mention here for her Baloise Ladies Tour TT results, plus winning Danish nationals. She was 3rd on the TT at Baloise but then 41st in the Tour. 16th at Worlds and 14th in the Tour of Scandinavia doesn’t scream the best recent form but this course should suit her watts so a top-10 is doable. 

Women's European Championships Time Trial 2023 Outsiders

Lisa Klein
Lisa Klein

It’s tough to see Germany lighting things up in the Elite European Championships time trial but they’ve certainly got well-known riders in Mieke Kröger and Lisa Klein. The current national champion is Mieke Kröger and we know she’s a big threat on a flat course like this one. She was 18th at Worlds but that ending there definitely didn’t suit her compared to others. Lisa Klein is another whose Baloise Ladies Tour results hopefully point at a good result here – she was 5th in both the TT and the Prologue there. She was down in 15th at the Simac Ladies Tour though so it’s really tough to really peg where she will be expected to come.

Britain’s Lizzie Holden had a storming rider to win the British nationals back in June and that meant there were some hopes for her to do well in the Tour de France Femmes TT. She was only 23rd that day and that tempered expectations a little bit going into the Worlds. She was 14th in Stirling, despite a finish that really should suit her. I’m expecting her to be the 3rd best Brit here with Henderson and Georgi ahead.

Italy has a pair of really strong riders but both aren’t in the best form at the moment due to recovering from injuries. Vittoria Guazzini was in great form earlier this season but then crashed and sustained an injury and has been slowly coming back ever since. There have been glimmers like 8th on the Tour de France Femmes TT but then 32nd at the Worlds as it wasn’t to be her day. She also missed out on the Tour de Scandinavia TT  after leaving that race early. At her best, there would be a medal shout for Guazzini. In a similar boat is Elisa Longo Borghini who had to have surgery for an infected saddle sore recently. Her season has slightly derailed since sustaining that brutal-looking crash at the Giro Donne. She returned for the Tour de France Femmes but left before the Tourmalet and she also didn’t finish this week’s Tour de Romandie after looking off the pace.

Top 3 Prediction