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Women’s Nokere Koerse 2024 Race Preview

Lotte Kopecky 2023 Nokere Koerse Getty

Women's Nokere Koerse History

The Women’s Nokere Koerse, despite its relatively short history compared to other classics, has already established itself as a thrilling and challenging event in the women’s spring classics calendar. With just 4 editions held, including one postponed due to the Covid pandemic, the race has showcased exciting sprint finishes and intense breakaway battles.

In its inaugural editions, Lorena Wiebes stamped her authority on the race with two impressive sprint victories. However, the 2023 edition witnessed a change in the narrative as Lotte Kopecky emerged victorious ahead of her formidable teammate. The timing was apt due to the death of Kopecky’s brother in the lead-up to the race.

The dynamic nature of the race was also highlighted in previous editions, particularly in the year when Amy Pieters, Grace Brown, and Lisa Klein formed a breakaway, setting the stage for a captivating finish ultimately won by Pieters.

Central to the race’s challenge is the repeated ascent of the Nokereberg, a climb not known for its severity but made demanding by the sheer intensity of the sprint effort required. Descending into the village of Nokere at high speeds, riders confront the cobbled slopes of the Nokereberg, with gradients that demand all-out effort. 

Positioning becomes crucial for the final sprint, as demonstrated by the emotional crash experienced by Arianna Fidanza in the 2022 race. The Women’s Nokere Koerse continues to captivate both riders and fans alike, promising exhilarating racing and unpredictable outcomes with each edition.

Previous Winners

Lotte Kopecky
Lorena Wiebes
Amy Pieters

Women's Nokere Koerse 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Wednesday 13th March 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery in Europe
FloSports in Canada

All times in GMT

Twitter: #DanilithNokereKoerse

Startlist: FirstCycling

Women's Nokere Koerse 2024 Contenders

It’s going to be tough to see how SD Worx can be beaten at this year’s Nokere Koerse. The team has won all 4 editions and 3 of those wins are in the shape of Lorena Wiebes and Lotte Kopecky. Both are already off the mark this year with Lorena Wiebes notably keeping her streak at Ronde van Drenthe going this weekend. Last year’s race was an emotional one that swung in the balance of Kopecky as a result, expect to see the team try to break clear with someone at least covering the moves of others knowing that they can bring it back for Wiebes to finish off if needs be. Neither Kopecky or Wiebes have finished outside of the top 10 in all 4 editions of the Women’s Nokere Koerse ever held.

Movistar has plenty to be confident about here with Emma Norsgaard and Arlenis Sierra able to contest the sprint. Norsgaard was 8th back in 2021 and Sierra was 5th in Nokere last year. You can see how Norsgaard might be more of an attacking option out of the pair, looking to get into a small group and try and contest the victory from there as Amy Pieters did. She’s had an encouraging start to the 2024 season with 5th at Omloop van het Hageland her best result so far. If her Spain results do transfer to springtime in Belgium, then Arlenis Sierra will have some good form. She’s had a pair of 2nd places finishes over there with Omloop het Nieuwsblad a bit of a rougher reintroduction to the Belgian roads with a 34th. As always, it’ll be fun if Floortje Mackaij can go clear but her best form doesn’t quite seem to be there at the moment.

Chiara Consonni has had a good start to 2024 but there’s just a thought that it could’ve been even better. She’s not quite as fast to beat the top tier of sprinters but when they’re not there, Consonni also hasn’t been able to finish it off despite being the fastest on paper. It’s one to keep an eye on. 2nd at Drentst Acht this weekend was encouraging but really it should’ve been a win and now up against Wiebes and Kopecky it’s tough to see a win here. 4th here in 2022, there’s definitely a podium shot for the Italian though. The UAE Team ADQ back-up plan will probably come through Karlijn Swinkels who was 17th in the 2021 race but is much stronger now. Expect her to try to go for the small group option. I can’t be confident about the chances of Eleonora Gasparrini at the moment as she looks to regain some of the form she initially had this season.

Christina Schweinberger
Christina Schweinberger

Fenix-Deceuninck won’t be able to call upon the Ronde van Drenthe podium finisher Puck Pieterse here but Christina Schweinberger wasn’t far behind herself in 7th place on the VAMberg. The Austrian continues to impress and looks like a nailed-on shout to be a top-10 finisher in pretty much any one-day race. That doesn’t change here and she should improve on her best finish of 26th last season. We’re still waiting for Julie de Wilde to really come good again in 2024, the Belgian was 7th here last season and it’s an ideal finish for her. She’s not finished any higher than 17th so far this year so whilst she should do well it’s hard to make her a confident pick currently. Marthe Truyen is also waiting in the wings and was 9th at Drentse Acht this weekend for her best result of the season. She was a solid 20th at Ronde van Drenthe the following day whilst helping ride for her leaders and Nokere Koerse might see her able to get a result for herself again.

Another team with a wealth of options is Ceratizit-WNT. Arianna Fidanza is the rider who should have the best result out of the trio but an unfortunate crash whilst in a great position on the Nokereberg means it doesn’t show on paper. She’s had a number of really good results over in Spain so far this year, with 4th at Clasica de Almeria the most recent. So far it hasn’t transferred to the Low Countries. Kathrin Schweinberger has flirted with the top-10 at the Women’s Nokere Koerse, with 3 top-15 finishes without ever cracking 10th or higher. The Austrian may get a shout here but her 4th place in Mallorca is starting to look quite far away. The final teammate with a shout is Mylene de Zoete who is still recovering from an injury setback but took 11th at Drentse Acht this weekend. It’s honestly very difficult to work out which rider will do best for the team with any confidence.

AG Insurance-Soudal should be behind Marthe Goossens in this one. The Belgian rider took top-10s over in Spain but an 11th at Le Samyn des Dames is encouraging for this part of the world. She had a quiet Ronde van Drenthe but the Women’s Nokere Koerse feels ideally suited for it. Goossens has a great shot for the top-10. She’s supported by the likes of Ilse Pluimers and Maud Rijnbeek who potentially won’t be far away either and will certainly be able to step up if needed.

There’s a chance that Daria Pikulik doesn’t end up racing Nokere Koerse this year. The Pole crashed hard at Drentse Acht and had to withdraw from the Ronde van Drenthe the following day. Nokere Koerse is only a few days after that so whilst a recovery is possible it might not be ideal. With that in mind, even if she does race, it’s harder to be as confident in her sprint as we might normally be. Her best result of the season is 3rd at the UAE Tour and this race is a great opportunity to get back to those ranks.

Ruby Roseman-Gannon
Ruby Roseman-Gannon

Liv-AlUla-Jayco will be able to choose between Letizia Paternoster and Ruby Roseman-Gannon here. The Italian might just have moved ahead a little bit after a strong Ronde van Drenthe. It was encouraging to see her finish so strongly in 4th as she tries to bring back the hype she had in the 2021 season. There have been fits and starts since then and hopefully, this result sees her able to kick on. Paternoster was 10th in last year’s Nokere Koerse which could be beaten. Meanwhile, Ruby Roseman-Gannon is in a bit of a transition having done the early part of the season in Australia and only racing Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche since then. The Aussie has a chance to get back into the groove here in a race that’s surely going to have places up for grabs in a sprint.

It’s hard to ignore a recent winner and bar Lorena Wiebes, the most recent one here is Sofie van Rooijen. The Dutch rider won Drentse Acht on Saturday for the first pro victory of her career. Her previous results don’t suggest much at Nokere Koerse, but the confidence and speed shown to beat the likes of Consonni and Barbieri in a sprint makes her worth keeping an eye on. 

Another young fast finisher to watch out for is Babette van der Wolf of Lifeplus Wahoo. She was 6th on Saturday herself at Drentse Acht and has been knocking on the door plenty already this season. It was good to see her move up from the top-20 area into the top-10 and hopefully, that’s possible to continue at Nokere Koerse. Teammate Kaja Rysz has also been finishing well this season and should be the lead-out for Van der Wolf if Saturday’s positioning is anything to go by. If anything happens to Van der Wolf then Rysz is a more than capable substitute.

Women's Nokere Koerse 2024 Outsiders

Danique Braam
Danique Braam

I’m going to keep backing Danique Braam to come good in this spring classics part of the season and the smaller races like Nokere Koerse rather than the WWT ones should give her an opportunity. A fast finisher, the Chevalmeire rider should come into the finale with a chance to improve on the 36th place that’s somehow her best result of the season so far.

Another young rider to have put themselves on the radar at Drentse Acht was Silje Bader. The 18-year-old Dutch rider is a first-year Elite having done well in junior races like Gent Wevelgem and Trofeo Alfredo Binda last season. She was just off the podium on Saturday, finishing 4th in what was a result to put her on the radar. It looks likely she will join Team dsm-firmenich PostNL in the next available window so she will be a WWT rider sooner rather than later.

Hess Cycling’s Marjolein van ‘t Geloof has raced twice at the Women’s Nokere Koerse and has strong finishes of 5th and 8th so far in her career. She finally managed to overturn some bad luck, like multiple bike changes at GP Oetingen to finish 7th at Drentse Acht this weekend. Hopefully, that provides some confidence for a springboard to do well again in Nokere this year.

Coop-Repsol is going to be in high spirits after a strong showing at the Vuelta Extremadura Feminas this weekend. They had a good time trial which saw 2 riders finish in the top-10 of that GC. One of those was the young Swedish rider Stina Kagevi who was 3rd in the final time trial, only behind Ellen van Dijk and Brodie Chapman. We’ve not seen a sprint from her yet but she certainly has a large engine to work which which is a good sign. I’d expect teammate Eline van Rooijen to get the nod in the final blast up the Nokereberg and as a Brit, it’d be nice to see April Tacey able to improve on the 25th she got in last year’s race.

Top 3 Prediction