Scheldeprijs Women History
There isn’t an extensive history at Scheldeprijs Women, it was first held coming out of the Covid pandemic with Lorena Wiebes winning in 2021. She doubled up in 2022, confirming that the women’s Scheldeprijs is very much like the men’s race. Over the years, the men’s edition has been seen as a sprinter’s world championships or a teaser before the Champs Elysees at least. The women’s Scheldeprijs is very much confirming to that norm so far. Still a 1.1 race, it’s not absolutely top drawer in the women’s calendar but certainly gives the pure sprinters a chance to shine.
Held between Schoten, near Antwerp there are no hills of note on the parcours, so it’s really just a flat smash. Like Classic Brugge-De Panne the potential is there for it to get get affected by wind conditions. Most of the damage though as to be done in the first half of the race as the route comes back to a local loop in Schoten where it’s probably too built up to really split up the race into echelons.
Scheldeprijs Women 2023 Profile
Wednesday 5th April 2023
Twitter: #SP23 Or #SPwomen
Scheldeprijs Women 2023 Contenders
The two-time winner Lorena Wiebes is back again in 2023. She will be the obvious outright favourite but has looked more beatable this season for the first time since Kirsten Wild retired. Beaten to the line by Charlotte Kool and Elisa Balsamo for victories, even Chiara Consonni snuck past into 2nd place on a UAE Tour Women stage. She will always go into a race like this as the favourite but it doesn’t feel quite as in the bag each time as it did when Lorena was at Team DSM.
The main contender is surely Charlotte Kool of Team DSM. She’s stepped up into Lorena Wiebes’ shoes this season without missing a beat, including beating her former sprint leader in the UAE Tour Women twice. She gets to use the elite-level Team DSM sprint train but it will be missing the road captain Pfeiffer Georgi. That absence will just swing it towards Wiebes for me as she will have the full works of the SD Worx team.
Chiara Consonni has been knocking on the door for a victory in 2023 but has also placed second fiddle to Marta Bastianelli in some races. At the UAE Tour Women the Italian took a pair of podiums but then it was a long while since we saw her back at the front of a race. 2nd at Dwars Door Vlaanderen last week though would’ve been a big confidence booster, especially as it was effectively the bunch sprint behind solo winner Demi Vollering. She can mix it with the two riders above but I expect her to take the 3rd step on the podium.
Team Jayco have a good combination of finishers here. Last year Georgia Baker finished 4th at Scheldeprijs Women and could get another opportunity this season. We haven’t actually seen her race on the road since the UAE Tour Women in mid-February though so she may not be fully up to speed. Letizia Paternoster raced both editions of Scheldeprijs so far but had to play a team role so there’s no real result of note. She has become a contender once again after changing teams and can look back on 10th at Nokere Koerse and 9th at Ronde van Drenthe recently.
Silvia Zanardi was 13th in last year’s Scheldeprijs Women and comes into this year’s race after winning the national level Giornata Rosa in Friuli. She wasn’t far off at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana with an 8th and 4th in stages there before finishing 7th at Trofeo Oro in Euro. This might be the year Zanardi moves on from BePink and a Women’s WorldTour finally snaps her up. A strong performance here will keep suitors interested.
Both Mylene de Zoete and Arianna Fidanza of Ceratizit WNT have raced the previous two editions of Scheldeprijs Women, with the best finish between the pair of 15th in 2021 by Fidanza. De Zoete was 10th back at Omloop van het Hageland and in this flatter race might get the nod over Arianna Fidanza who was 4th back in that race. The results for the Italian have just slowed up a touch after a quickfire start to the season, it’s now a month since she finished in the top 10 at Trofeo Oro in Euro. It’s a similar story with De Zoete though so whilst they can do well at Scheldeprijs, it’s also tough to pitch them as big favourites.
Scheldeprijs Women should be a great opportunity for Rachele Barbieri to find a result. So far the Italian’s best result in 2023 is 51st at Classic Brugge-De Panne as crashes and things have prevented her from excelling as she did last season. Barbieri was 3rd at this race back in 2022 and at her best, she can absolutely achieve that again. With Liv Racing TeqFind now firmly in the relegation battle, they need a result and UCI points from Barbieri on Wednesday.
In a flat race like this, I quite fancy Maria Martins to do well. Often pitched as a road captain, the track star and current European Champion in the scratch race can be a quick sprinter on a flat parcours. The Portuguese rider was 14th already this year at Classic Brugge-De Panne and I fully expect her to get into the top-10 at Scheldeprijs.
St Michel-Mavic-Auber93’s Roxane Fournier has been sprinting well in 2023 now she’s able to race for herself again. 3rd on the final stage of the Tour de Normandie Féminin is her best result but she’s scored a total of 6 top-10 results this year. I’m expecting her to get the nod over teammate Simone Boilard but the Canadian has also been doing well sprinting to 6th on the first day of the Tour de Normandie Féminin and 10th in the WWT level Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race back in January.
Lotto Dstny’s Kristyna Burlova has become a contender after impressing at the Tour de Normandie Féminin with a pair of top-10s. She’s not necessarily followed that up with the Women’s WorldTour results but with this being a 1.1 race, there a chance for the Czech rider to deliver again. Her teammate Mieke Docx was strong at Le Samyn des Dames with 9th but has struggled since with a back blockage and just generally the tough racing. Between the pair, a top-10 would be a good result.
I’m going with Maggie Coles-Lyster as the option for Zaaf Cycling. The team is undergoing plenty of change and appears to have lost the services of Audrey Cordon-Ragot, despite her showing up on the early startlist for Scheldeprijs Women. The Canadian finished 13th at Gent Wevelgem, she sprinted early but got swamped as others came through. Against this field, she should be in the top 10.
Scheldeprijs Women 2023 Outsiders
Parkhotel Valkenburg’s Lieke Nooijen got a great result with 5th at Le Samyn des Dames but took quite a hard fall at Tour de Normandie Féminin and we’ve not seen the Dutch rider race since. There’s a chance she gets a scratch from the final startlist as a result but she can be a threat in the finis here.
The Top Girls Fassa Bortolo pair of Cristina Tonetti and Alessia Vigilia will be a threat in the break and the finish. Vigilia has a habit of getting into breaks, which never shows up on the results sheet but is one of the reason so much live coverage is great now. She won the Umag Trophy in Croatia and then finished 10th in GC at the chaotic Trofeo Ponente in Rosa, with 2nd on the 4th Stage. The leader will probably be Cristina Tonetti though I think. 5th at Trofeo Oro in Euro shows the Italian has a fast finish and she took her own 2nd on stage 5 of the Trofeo Ponente in Rosa. I’d be surprised to see her not on a bigger team next year.
Noëlle Rüetschi is one to watch out for from the AG Insurance-NXTG U23 team. She took a notable 3rd place at the Volta Limburg Classic at the weekend. That race is a national level race but has a huge reputation and a stacked startlist as a result. The Swiss rider is only 18 years old but will be worth keeping an eye on.
Finally, there’s Silvia Zanardi’s teammate Valentina Basilico who was 2nd last week at the national level Giornata Rosa in Friuli behind her teammate. The young Italian was 9th on the opening stage of the UAE Tour Women and whilst she will be working for Zanardi no doubt, she might be able to sneak into the top-10, especially if anything happens to her leader.