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Ronde van Drenthe Race History
The women’s Ronde van Drenthe has a higher profile than the men’s version, being in the Women’s WorldTour. It’s one of the longest running top-level races in the women’s cycling calendar and the list of winners reads like a Who’s Who of women’s cycling since 2007. 5 World Champions have finished on the top step of Ronde van Drenthe but it’s Marianne Vos who has been the most successful. Vos’ 3 wins in a row between 2011-2013 and two other podium visits mean she’s comfortably the most decorated rider here. Although it doesn’t look like she’ll be racing here this year.
The parcours is relatively flat but that brings its own challenges. The long-range weather forecast is predicting 14mph winds with gusts up to 25mph. We’ve seen stronger in recent years. Previously, the warm-up Drentse Acht race has seen riders physically blown off their bikes on the VAMberg.
The VAMberg is notorious for being made of rubbish and then topped over with some grass, roads and cobbled sections. Because it’s an artificial hill, it sticks out of the landscape and is particularly exposed. The Healthy Ageing Tour traditionally tackled it repeatedly earlier in the season. In 2021, it was a miserable day that made the racing super tough.
The 2022 Ronde van Drenthe will scale it 3 times before heading to Hogeveen, returning for a final ascent before the flat finish. A rider may chance it and go solo from there but attacking into a headwind is tough. It will probably whittle the bunch down into a smaller group for a sprint at the end.
Saturday 12th March 2022
Live on Eurosport/GCN
Ronde van Drenthe 2022 Contenders
Last year’s winner is a good place to start. Lorena Wiebes has to be a big favourite again, especially after the way Team DSM dominated Ronde van Drenthe in 2021. The team had 4 riders in a front group of 7 riders and set it all up for Wiebes to win the sprint. It might change at the GP Oetingen but so far we’ve not seen Wiebes sprint for a win in 2022 though. Teammate Floortje Mackaij has been in the top-10 here on 4 occasions over the years and is in good form. She was 3rd at Omloop van het Hageland and just outside the top-10 at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche. I’d love to see her given free rein on the final VAMberg ascent to attack.
Also part of that winning break last season was Pfeiffer Georgi and Franziska Koch. Georgi finished 2021 in huge form and has already been 9th in Omloop van het Hageland. Like Mackaij, I hope she gets a chance to make a move. Koch has had the quietest start to 2022 out of the quartet but we know she has the potential to make a move.
Somewhat surprisingly, given her success at the Healthy Ageing Tour, Ellen van Dijk has never won Ronde van Drenthe. She’s taken 3 podium spots over the years but the nature of the course means she has to attack hard to get a high finish. Coming off a GC win at Bloeizone Fryslan, she will have confidence at the moment. The world champion Elisa Balsamo doesn’t have the best history at Ronde van Drenthe, with 25th in 2018 her best result. With this line-up around her though, she should comfortably beat that. She’s already won in 2022, in the first stage at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana before finishing 4th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad impressively. We’d love to see another head to head between her and Wiebes.
Trek also has a pair of riders who’ve done well here in the past. Chloe Hosking has a trio of top-5 results at Ronde van Drenthe, the best of which was 3rd in 2018. She came super close to win at Bloeizone Fryslan, just losing out to Lonneke Uneken on the line. It feels like her weakness will be the VAMberg and the team’s focus will probably be on Balsamo in the sprint too.
There’s also Amalie Dideriksen, the 2017 Ronde van Drenthe winner in the Trek line-up. She was shaping up to be the next big star of the peloton around then and times have certainly changed. She was a DNF at Bloeizone Fryslan so we’ll need to keep an eye on any potential startlist changes for her.
Marta Bastianelli hasn’t been back to the Ronde van Drenthe since she won it in 2019. Her results were steadily improving, with a 5th and a 4th before she took the top step. Her 2022 form is top drawer with 3 wins already. She’s already beaten Elisa Balsamo in a head to head sprint this year but the question mark will be if she can beat Wiebes.
After that epic Strade Bianche victory, you can see Lotte Kopecky doing well here. Any doubts about her climbing are well and truly smashed in matching Van Vleuten on the Via Santa Caterina at the weekend. Kopecky was 5th here in 2019 and you can see how she makes it over the VAMberg with the front group and sprint for the win. Teammate Lonneke Uneken will want a chance to sprint too after winning a Bloeizone Frylan stage in the week. She’s certainly got a love for the VAMberg, winning with a hugely impressive solo break in horrible conditions when the Health Ageing Tour visited in 2021. Elena Cecchini has a good history with the Ronde van Drenthe, finishing 2nd in her last two editions (2021 & 2017). She’s another taking good form into this race with a 4th place finish at Omloop van het Hageland. Marlen Reusser is the wildcard for SD Worx, we know that if she gets a gap then she can disappear but it feels like we’ve not seen her best so far in 2022. She was 3rd in the time trial at Bloeizone Fryslan by a surprisingly large distance (relatively that is) to Ellen van Dijk. I almost expect her to marshall the peloton for the sprinters on the team above.
They were on different teams then but the Liv Racing Xstra pair of Alison Jackson and Amber van der Hulst finished 11th and 12th here last year. Ronde van Drenthe can turn out as one of those hard races that Jackson can still be there to sprint in at the end. Finishing 12th at Bloeizone Fryslan was a solid effort last week. Amber van der Hulst has been a little quiet so far in 2022 after making the move to the Women’s WorldTour team. 13th and 14th in sprints at the end of Bloeizone Fryslan stages feels like she’s not hitting her stride yet. That may temper expectations here but at her best she should be a top-10 finisher.
It feels like ages since I’ve been able to mention Arlenis Sierra. She finished 2021 extremely well in a bunch of races without live coverage, except for the World Championships. With A.R. Monex folding, Sierra moved to Movistar in the off-season and this is her first race for her new team. Sierra was 7th in her one and only Ronde van Drenthe and whilst she could match that, the first race of the season on a new team add potential doubts.
Parkhotel Valkenburg’s Mischa Bredewold continues to impress with her attacks, keeping the peloton at bay for a long time in the Bloeizone Fryslan last week. She was 16th at the 2021 Ronde van Drenthe at the end of a season where she picked up her first pro win and impressed all-round. Against some of the names here, her final sprint will probably be lacking but expect to see her at the front.
This should be a race for Ruby Roseman-Gannon who won’t find the VAMberg too bad after her exploits already this season. The issue here is that she will be seeing these roads for the first time whereas many have raced the VAMberg countless times. After getting 12th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad though, she’s definitely capable of staying with the front of the race and using her strong sprint for a good placing. Her teammate Nina Kessler deserves a nod after finishing 10th in 2021’s Ronde van Drenthe but should be supporting here this year. It’d also be remiss to not include Georgia Baker after she was 7th at GP Oetingen this week.
Jumbo Visma isn’t bringing Vos or Henderson, so it’s likely Karlijn Swinkels is their best shot. Swinkels is in good form after winning the sprints jersey at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana (and two top-10s) before finishing 11th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. She’s always had a bit of a sprint so it’s good to see it coming out a little bit more.
Susanne Andersen seems to have been rejuvenated with her move to Uno-X with great results achieved already. She’s also another rider who was in the top-10 at last year’s Ronde van Drenthe. With the team working for her as a leader, she should have the support to make the front group and do a decent turn going into the finish.
Valcar’s Chiara Consonni missed the Team DSM led move here last year but was 2nd in the bunch sprint to finish 9th at the end. After a crash in the season-opener Vuelta CV Feminas, Consonni has come back to score 2nd at Le Samyn des Dames behind a dominant Emma Norsgaard. I feel slightly less confident in her making it over the VAMberg at the front but if she can do it, she’ll be a major contender in any final sprint.
Ronde van Drenthe 2022 Outsiders
Mylene de Zoete is looking like the best sprinter for NXTG this season and confirmed that with 9th at Vuelta CV Feminas. The reason she’s an outsider though is that she hasn’t quite shown the same sort of result in a Belgian classic style of race yet. Her teammate Julia Borgström is impressing in 2022 as well, she was 14th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and then 13th at GP Oetingen too. Potentially not the fastest finisher, the 20-year-old is making sure that she’s at least up there at the finish.
I’ve included 4 of the Netherlands national team here as outsiders, just because I’m not sure how they’ll fit together. My instinct makes me think that the Le Col-Wahoo pair will work well together and the others may pair off.
Thalita de Jong has left Bingoal Casino to join Liv Racing Xstra, except she can’t race for them until June 1st. In the meantime, she’s racing for JEGG-DJR Academy which is the new name for the amazingly named Team Loving Potatoes. 2021 was quite a comeback year for the often injured De Jong, with a victory coming late on at Grote Prijs Beerens. This will be her first race of the season.
Loes Adegeest finished 2021 by being 2nd at Binche-Chimay-Binche and started 2022 in style becoming the Esport World Champion. That race was clearly the focus of the early part of her 2022 season so the results on the road haven’t been there yet. Although Adegeest did spend an hour off the front of the peloton alone at the GP Oetingen this week after attacking.
The Le Col-Wahoo pairing of Maike van der Duin and Marjolein Van ‘t Geloof have been working well together again this season. Majo only has a best result of 49th here but has been 6th at Le Samyn des Dames. She also launched a huge lead-out at Bloeizone Fryslan that saw Maike van der Duin finish 4th on that stage. Van der Duin has naturally then had a good start to 2022 as well. She was 6th on another stage in Friesland and also 13th at Omloop van het Hageland. She tends to not be as a strong in WWT races though but is young and still developing.