Women's European Championships Road Race History
The European Championships is one that the Dutch national team have a strong hold over. They’ve won 5 of the 6 races that have taken place, with only Marta Bastianelli in 2018 the outlier. Strangely for such dominance, no rider has ever won more than once. The different parcours across different years help with that but it shows the all-round nature of the Dutch team that the likes of Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen can both win a title that Vos and Pieters can also win. They look likely to win again unless one of the other nations can spring a surprise.
This year’s course is in Munich and doesn’t offer up too much of a test and the overwhelming thoughts are that we shall see a sprint finish. Whether that’s a large bunch or a small bunch remains to be seen but the Dutch will rally around their sprinter Lorena Wiebes for sure.
Ellen van Dijk
Annemiek van Vleuten
Women's European Championship Road Race 2022 Contenders
When it comes to a sprint, you can’t really look past Lorena Wiebes. She has been in sterling form again all season and will be riding high from her new highest-paid rider in the peloton contract. She has plenty of her Team DSM sprint train around her, so it should run like clockwork despite some of the non-communication between the Dutch team at national level in the past. The likes of Charlotte Kool and Lonneke Uneken will have to wait their turn here but will make great sprinters for Wiebes going into the finale.
Surely the Italian team will be sprinting with world champion Elisa Balsamo here. But the power they can put together in their sprint train is borderline ridiculous. They can call upon the likes of Chiara Consonni, who has experience as the lead-out for Balsamo, former European Champion Marta Bastianelli, Rachele Barbieri, Arianna Fidanza and Mediterranean Games champion Barbara Guarischi. Pretty much all of these riders would fancy their chances at a medal individually but will probably be press-ganged for Balsamo. Bastianelli feels the most likely to get a free role, if a small group goes, she will fancy her chances from within it.
Belgium is stacked with support for Lotte Kopecky but maybe not quite the same talent as Italy above. Kopecky feels like the out-and-out leader but the likes of Sanne Cant and Marthe Truyen will prove useful in a sprint finish too. Lotte feels like the obvious 3rd favourite to me, with Wiebes and Balsamo showing themselves as a level above this season in a regular sprint.
French sprint hopes probably lie with Clara Copponi who hasn’t been as strong on the road recently but took 3 medals on the track at this European Championships, albeit no golds. She started the season so strongly and won a stage at the Women’s Tour but was very quiet during the Giro Donne. With that recent form, Copponi is probably a tier below the top-3 at the moment.
It’s a similar story with Susanne Andersen as well. The Norwegian started the season strongly but injuries stopped her from getting more strong results. At her best, she would be a good top-10 finisher here but the current form suggests finishing in the low top-10 would be great for her at this point in time.
The Polish team looks quite good with Agnieska Skalniak-Sojka and Daria Pukulik the strong options. Both raced so well in Belgium recently, with Skalniak-Sojka the winner of the Lotto Belgium Tour and Daria Pikulik a repeated contender against Wiebes at the Baloise Ladies Tour. The Poles can launch a long one but also try a pure sprint too.
Spanish rider Sandra Alonso will vie with Sheyla Gutierrez for sprinting duties for the red and yellow. 10th at Paris Roubaix Femmes brought her to wider attention but she’s also been 2nd in the Spanish nationals and 3rd at the Mediterranean Games too.
Finally, Swedish rider Emilia Fahlin is racing for a contract in 2023 after confirming that FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope will not be renewing her in 2023. She has shown a return to sprinting form, that injuries and team duties hid for a bit, with an impressive 2nd behind Marianne Vos at the Tour of Scandinavia plus further top-10s there and at Vargarda too. A top-5 outsider, her best is certainly in that bracket though.
Women's European Championship Road Race 2022 Outsiders
The Dutch can afford to roll the dice and negate some of the attacks that others will try to prevent a Wiebes sprint. Last year’s winner Ellen van Dijk is always a big engine and perfect for either bringing back attacks or creating them. It’s a similar story with Floortje Mackaij but as she forms a strong part of the Lorena Wiebes sprint team for Team DSM, she may have a conservative role.
Ingvild Gaskjenn has earned herself a move to Team BikeExchange-Jayco in 2023. She may have to support Andersen but in a free role, she could have some fun. A reduced group will give her the best chance for a strong result
Germany and Switzerland will look to roll the rice with Liane Lippert, Elise Chabbey and Marlen Reusser. All 3 don’t have a recognised major sprinter to work for so their hope for a strong result is to try and go clear. For Reusser, any flashback to her win on the gravel at the Tour de France Femmes will give her a chance. She’s already won the TT at these European Championships.
For France, their options if they want an alternative to a Copponi sprint lies with Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Juliette Labous. Cordon-Ragot in particular will be in confident form after winning in Vargarda despite the slightly bizarre circumstances of a super late Marianne Vos disqualification after the finish. She was a DNF at the Tour of Scandinavia but looks to be back in form with 4th in the TT at these European Championships.
Top 3 Prediction
- Lorena Wiebes
- Elisa Balsamo
- Lotte Kopecky