Women’s Dwars Door het Hageland History
A relatively new race, the women’s Dwars Door het Hageland has had 2 editions so far, both this side of the covid pandemic. The first year, 2021, was won by classics queen Chantal van der Broek-Blaak in a solo victory of 36 seconds ahead of teammate Christine Majerus. The following year saw Italian Ilaria Sanguineti win in a head-to-head with Christina Schweinberger, with everyone else 2 or more seconds back.
The race is known for its gravel sections and the repeated climb up to the citadel in Diest. It’s a tough cobbled climb, with double-digit gradients near the base and a relentless struggle to the top through some long lazy turns on the rough surface. Powerful riders who can hang in there with a sprint are ideal for the win at the women’s Dwars Door het Hageland.
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Women's Dwars Door het Hageland 2023 Profile
Women's Dwars Door het Hageland 2023 Contenders
The overwhelming favourite going into this race will be Lotte Kopecky who arrives after winning the Thüringen Ladies Tour and joining in the SD Worx stage fest there. She has every quality needed to win this one. Teammate Christine Majerus has finished in second place here in the past, she will probably be supporting Kopecky but we know SD Worx aren’t afraid to send someone up the road to see what sticks.
Both Pfeiffer Georgi and Charlotte Kool are arguably contenders here but I’m leaning slightly more towards Georgi due to the climbing. We know Kool has her sprinting legs at the moment after 2 stage wins and the GC at RideLondon Classique and was also part of the team’s group time trial to victory at Dwars Door de Westhoek last weekend. Pfeiffer Georgi rolled home first and this race will surely be one for her to target.
There aren’t too many opportunities left to see Marta Bastianelli race as she will be racing for the final time next month. The climbing might see her off but the canny Italian has a way of being difficult to shift. She was 2nd on a Thüringen Ladies Tour stage but couldn’t get through the SD Worx blockade. She’s supported here by Eleonora Gasparrini who was 4th in GC at RideLondon Classique after a pair of 5th places. She wouldn’t be a bad option for the team to pivot to either.
Marta Lach is another rider who did well at Thüringen Ladies Tour only once finishing outside the top-10 on her way to 6th Overall. She’s in good nick at the moment as 8th at the Bretagne Ladies Tour with a stage win shows. Another option is Kathrin Schweinberger who was the first non-Team DSM rider home in 4th place at Dwars Door de Westhoek last weekend.
A little quieter recently but still an option is Elinor Barker of Uno-X. She was 7th back at Gent Wevelgem so the short-sharp climbs here shouldn’t cause too much issue and she’s still got a reasonable kick left at the end too. Her teammate Anniina Ahtosalo is another option after a recent 4th at Trofee Maarten Wynants but I’m not fully convinced if she will make it over the climbs here.
Back in form after her horrific crash at Brugge-De Panne is Julie de Wilde. The young Belgian was also 6th at Dwars door de Westhoek last weekend and a solid Kopecky-lite option. Christina Schweinberger was 2nd here last year and comes to this race with a consistent week in Germany that saw her finish 5th at the Thüringen Ladies Tour. Yara Kastelijn is a little bit of a wildcard who should be fine with the punchy climbing but is just finding her feet again after a rest post-Spring Classics.
Paris Roubaix Femmes winner Alison Jackson is definitely going to put in a stint and was 5th at last weekend’s Dwars Door de Westhoek. Letizia Borghesi was 9th there and despite a quiet season really in 2023 has the ability to negotiate the climbs here and be in contention late on.
It’s hard to pick apart the Parkhotel Valkenburg options but they will have Femke Gerritse leading them. 4th in GC at Festival Elsy Jacobs and 14th in GC at Thüringen Ladies Tour is a sign of good form. After her breakout in 7th place at Brabantse Pijl, Margot Vanpachtenbeke took top-10s at Thüringen Ladies Tour against stiff opposition. She isn’t far away from a podium or win now. After a slow start to 2023, Kirstie van Haaften is starting to get some better results with 10th at Antwerp Port Epic Ladies and 18th in GC at RideLondon Classique after a consistent weekend. I could probably name all 6 PHV riders as candidates to get noticed but will stick with these 3!
Eugénie Duval might’ve got more at RideLondon Classique if not for the late crash on Stage 2 but 15th in GC was still very solid after her Paris Roubaix Femmes result earlier in the year. Gladys Verhulst has been unlucky with the crashes recently but at her best would be a proper contender for this one. We’ll see what form she has after DNFs at Itzulia and RideLondon Classique. Marie Le Net is also a cheeky option if it does come down to a reasonably sized bunch sprint.
Back in form in the UK was Thalita de Jong who was 9th on the first stage and 23rd overall after just missing out on the 3km to go crash on Stage 2. She’s been unlucky so far this year but this could be a chance for the former-CX world champion to recreate her 2022 form.
Women's Dwars Door het Hageland 2023 Outsiders
Kaja Rysz has shown to be good this year on rolling terrain and was 16th in GC at RideLondon Classique. She often works for teammates but she was looking strong in the UK and might be in with a shout of doing something here at Dwars Door het Hageland.
Kristyna Burlova looked good at Scheldeprijs with 6th place and has backed that up recently in the Czech Republic at the Tour de Feminin. There she finished 4th and 7th and is a useful sprinter.
Swede Hanna Johansson of Torelli was able to win a WWT jersey at RideLondon Classique where her exploits in the break on Stage 1 were enough to see her hold off the challenge of QoM challenger Soraya Paladin. It was a huge result for a Conti rider on a smaller team to be able to go home with the jersey win and bonus too.