The women’s Tour of Flanders has been taking place since 2004 and takes place again on Sunday 7th April.
Its podiums have always been a who’s who of the strongest cyclists in female cycling. 2018 saw Anna Van der Breggen take the crown, finishing just over a minute ahead of Amy Pieters and Annemiek Van Vleuten. 2017 saw more of a smallish bunch sprint finish with Coryn Rivera announcing herself at the highest stage.
Both possibilities are on the cards again for 2019. If riders haven’t managed to drop each other by the flat finale to the finish, we’ll see another sprint.
Women’s Tour of Flanders 2019 Contenders
Boels-Dolman’s Chantal Blaak has finished on the podium here twice before. She’s had a good Spring so far, winning Omloop Het Nieuwblad, finishing 2nd in Ronde van Drenthe and around 10th place in a couple of others. Marta Bastianelli is the in-form rider, in 9 races so far in 2019 her worst position is 8th. She should be a cert for yet another top-10 and is a very good shot for the podium. He best position previously here though is only 8th. Annemiek Van Vleuten won De Ronde way back in 2011 but was on last year’s podium, finishing 3rd. She’s not raced a lot this year, but won Strade Bianche and finished 4th and 7th in Omloop and Dwars Door Vlaanderen. She’s an obvious favourite.
2013 winner Marianne Vos has finished on the podium 4 times. She won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda this year. But other than that she’s been flitting between the lower reaches of the top-10 and finishing just outside of it. She’s always impossible to rule out. You can’t rule out Ashleigh Moolman, her CCC-Live teammate Ashleigh Moolman. She was 6th and 14th in the Italian races of Strade Bianche & Trofeo Alfredo Binda. But hasn’t done as well in Belgian races so far in 2019, finishing in the 20s.
Kirsten Wild has been on the Tour of Flanders podium 3 times but but has never won it. After a Winter spent riding the track, she’s come onto the road and won 2 of her 3 races so far. Always in with a shout when there’s a sprint finish, that’s what she’ll be hoping for.
Ellen Van Dijk won this race in 2014. She showed her 2019 form by winning Dwars Door Vlaanderen with a solo break this week. Van Dijk was also 3rd in the flat Ronde van Drenthe race but between 15th and 20th in the two Omloop races earlier in the year. She should be good for a top-10 in her current form.
Elisa Longo Borghini is the 2015 Tour of Flanders winner. Her European season wasn’t looking particularly good until she finished 8th in Dwars Door this week. With that in mind, she suddenly has more of a chance of repeating her 4 top-5 finishes here. Lucinda Brand has only a best place at the Tour of Flanders of 12th. But her 3rd place at Dwars Door Vlaanderen this week puts her in contention. She’ll be leading Team Sunweb’s efforts so will have the team behind her to be in the mix later on in the race.
Canyon SRAM have the in-form pair of Elena Cecchini and Katarzyna Niewiadoma. Cecchini has finished in the top-10 of her last 3 races, peaking with 4th at Dwars Door. She’s finished 5th at the Tour of Flanders in the past and that seems doable again in 2019. Katarzyna Niewiadoma has crept into the top-10 3 times in the past, never finishing higher than 8th. She’s peaked this season with 3rd at Strade Bianche. But is another who did well at Dwars Door this week with 10th place.
Lotto’s Lotte Kopecky is in good form herself with 4 top-6 results in her last 5 races. A track rider with a decent sprint, if she can get over the Paterberg in touch with the lead group, she’ll be a contender. Coryn Rivera announced herself by winning the 2017 edition of the Tour of Flanders, out-sprinting her rivals. So far her 2019 classics season has been a bit iffy with 8th place in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda being her only solid result. Sofie De Vuyst doesn’t have an amazing record at the Tour of Flanders, only finishing a best of 16th. However her 2019 form merits her inclusion with a pair of 8th places at the Omloops and 6th in Dwars Door. With those sorts of results in very similar races, she’s a contender.
Dane Cecile Uttrup Ludwig is more of a climber and would probably lose out in a big bunch sprint finish. She did well in the Italian races, finishing 5th at Strade Bianche and 3rd at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. However, 54th in the Belgian sprint finish of Gent-Wevelgem. She’s an outsider for a long break. Finally, Ale’s Chloe Hosking is a sprinter who may be in the mix if she makes it to the end. She’s probably not in the best form though. Finishing just outside the top 10 in flat races recently after a strong start to the season at home in Australia.
Women’s Tour of Flanders 2019 Outsiders
Virtu’s Anoushka Koster has a best in De Ronde of 39th. However her form is there or thereabouts in the Spring races this year. A best of 16th at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and solid 20-30 place finishes are good. She may be sent up the road so Marta Bastianelli doesn’t have to work as hard behind. WNT-Rotor’s similar card to play is Lara Vieceli, whose strong start to the season in Spain hasn’t transferred to the later Spring races yet. She’ll be looking to do something similar to Koster.
Elisa Balsamo is a borderline contender but has only finished 74th here before. 77th in this week’s Dwars Door also counts against her. Despite finishes of 6th at De Panne and 9th at Gent-Wevelgem. A rider who prefers flatter races, she’ll have to work hard to be able to sprint at the end.
Bigla’s Julie Leth has yet to break into the top-10 so far in 2019. She does have 4 top-20 results in 5 races. She’s knocking on the door on a much bigger result, especially if she’s up there and able to sprint. Alison Jackson started the season off well in Australia and has 4 recent top-25 finishes in European races. She sprinted well in Australia. If she keeps up that sort of form, she’s an outside shot at a top-10 finish.
Women’s Tour of Flanders 2019 Prediction
1 – Annemiek Van Vleuten
2 – Marta Bastianelli
3 – Kirsten Wild