Women’s Tour of Flanders 2024 Race Preview


Women’s Tour of Flanders History

The 2024 Women’s Tour of Flanders is one of the most prestigious one-day races in the women’s calendar. This race, steeped in history and tradition, has been a highlight of women’s cycling since its inception in 2004, quickly establishing itself as a cornerstone event that attracts the sport’s elite. The roster of past victors reads like a who’s who of women’s cycling, featuring world champions, grand tour winners, and cycling legends such as Zulfia Zabirova, Nicole Cooke, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Marianne Vos, Annemiek van Vleuten, and Anna van der Breggen.

Remarkably, the list of champions highlights the rarity of multiple winners, a testament to the race’s competitive nature and depth of talent it attracts. Until Annemiek van Vleuten clinched her second victory in 2021, only Judith Arndt and Mirjam Melchers had achieved the feat of winning more than once. Lotte Kopecky joined those ranks in 2023.

The 2023 edition of the race was memorably won by the Belgian, adding her name to the illustrious list of multiple champions and setting the stage for an eagerly awaited 2024 race. As contenders and cycling enthusiasts alike look forward, the upcoming race promises to be as challenging and exciting as ever.

The Women’s Tour of Flanders initially mirrored the classic route with the iconic Muur/Bosberg finish, the race has transitioned through various phases, including a period when it concluded in Meerbeke, next to Ninove, before finding its current finish line in Oudenaarde. This evolution has led to the exclusion of some traditional climbs like the Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg for several years.

The 2024 race is set to continue this tradition, featuring the formidable duo of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs in the closing stages, followed by a 10km dash to Oudenaarde. These segments are pivotal to the race’s outcome, often serving as launch pads for decisive moves. 

Previous Winners

Lotte Kopecky
Lotte Kopecky
Annemiek van Vleuten

Women’s Tour of Flanders 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Sunday 31st March 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery across Europe
FloBikes in USA/Canada
VRT1 in Belgium (freely available but requires a Belgian SMS to create an account + a VPN is needed)

All times in GMT


Startlist: FirstCycling

Women’s Tour of Flanders 2024 Contenders

SD Worx are predictably stacked coming into this year’s Women’s Tour of Flanders. It feels most likely that they will be behind Lotte Kopecky in her attempt for a threepeat at Flanders. Even though the likes of Demi Vollering and Lorena Wiebes would love to win the race, Lotte Kopecky is the home rider on a team sponsored by a Belgian company that has just splashed the cash to extend her deal with SD Worx. Kopecky will be the major focus. Out of the non-Kopecky options, Wiebes has a decent shout as a fast finisher who is climbing punchy climbs really well. She was 2nd up the Kemmelberg on Kopecky’s wheel at Gent Wevelgem and that bodes well for a dig up the Paterberg. If there’s a larger group reaching the finish together it might swing to her favour. Demi Vollering will need to go long to win but the team instructions will properly stifle that. However, with the whole transfer saga coming out we may see some interesting internal battles. It’s a similar story for Marlen Reusser, who I think will have more of a policing role or an early attack in her to put pressure on other teams.

We’re going to see the return of Kasia Niewiadoma after a month away from racing by going to do altitude training. The Pole should’ve had a GC win at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana but allowed it to slip away and took her customary good result at Strade Bianche at the start of March too. She has 6 top-10s at the Tour of Flanders without ever making it to the podium. Chloe Dygert will be interesting to watch, her 36th at Gent Wevelgem wasn’t representative of her form with a top-10 on the cards until the spokes in her front wheel were snapped and she had to roll to the finish line.  There’s also the likes of Soraya Paladin and Maike van der Duin who might be useful in a small group finish. Van der Duin is still finding her feet post-injury but has finished just outside of the top-10 here before. Paladin has a similar best Flanders result but is coming off a good 4th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

Lidl-Trek is going to feel confident here after successfully taking the fight to SD Worx this season in the battle of the super teams. Elisa Balsamo almost pulled off the Binda-De Panne-Wevelgem triple again but lost by a rim to Lorena Wiebes in the last rim. She’s looking stronger this year and hasn’t finished worse than 2nd place during all of March. Similar to Wiebes, it will need to be a reasonable-sized finishing group for her to be in with a shout. Shirin van Anrooij is looking in good nick this Spring with top-10s at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and Dwars Door Vlaanderen. The latter she was in with a serious shout for the win in a sprint-a-deux with Marianne Vos. Elisa Longo Borghini will always be a threat in the women’s Tour of Flanders. She has 8 top-10 results and is a previous winner back in 2015. She was 6th at Dwars Door Vlaanderen but animated and controlled the chase behind with her teammate up the road. She’s another rider on the team in good form with a win at Trofeo Oro in Euro and a pair of WWT race podiums this year.

Marianne Vos is going to be talked of as a genuine favourite again at the Tour of Flanders after winning Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Dwars Door Vlaanderen this year – both races she had never won before in her long and illustrious career. She’s won here once before, way back in 2013, but it’s an interesting statistical quirk that she’s never finished in the top-10 in her 5 editions since then. That surely, surely is going to change this year with her current form. Teammate Fem van Empel is also going to be worth keeping an eye on with her 37th at Dwars Door Vlaanderen not an indication of her form. The cyclocross world champion was in the front group and looking certain for a top-10 result but a puncture saw her effectively knocked out of contention.

UAE Team ADQ has plenty of riders who could do well without a major favourite. Silvia Persico feels the most likely to do well after finishing 4th in last year’s Tour of Flanders but Sofia Bertizzolo also has the same best result from a few years ago. Persico has the combination of decent climbing and a fast finish but her form is only okay so far in 2024. She has several lower-end top-10 finishes but hasn’t threatened a race win yet. I kinda also expect Karlijn Swinkels to get the team’s strongest result as the all-rounder has been going well including 2nd at Trofeo Oro in Euro, 4th at Le Samyn des Dames and 6th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Eleonora Gasparrini and Chiara Consonni are the fast options for the finish but neither has a good previous finish here and the climbing is probably too tough, especially with the likes of Lotte Kopecky drilling it at the front.

Pfeiffer Georgi will be leading Team dsm-firmenich PostNL here and should improve on the 16th place she scored last year. The Brit has been focused on the major races, with a couple of flatter races like Classic Brugge-De Panne pulled from her schedule to aim for the hillier races like Gent Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. It feels like a case of managed workload with the hope that she will be at her very best for the major targets. Teammate and fellow Brit Josie Nelson is also in some good form, winning her first-ever UCI race on the final day of the Tour de Normandie recently and just missing out on a GC win by 1 second. This is a bit of a jump up and she’s in a supporting role but it’s worth keeping an eye on her.

Letizia Paternoster has put herself into contention with a great 3rd place at Dwars Door Vlaanderen this week. It was a follow-up to her 4th place at Ronde van Drenthe this year and shows that she might be able to challenge on the many hills of the Tour of Flanders. Her one previous edition saw her finish 81st but the Italian is looking the strongest she’s been on the road since 2019. Teammate Ruby Roseman-Gannon was 17th here last year and has been recovering from her crash at Nokere Koerse which saw the Aussie pouring blood down her legs at the finish. The pair of riders should work well together and have a good enough kick at the finish to challenge for the top-10.

Emma Norsgaard
Emma Norsgaard

We’re definitely seeing a change of approach from Movistar this season. Previously they’d sit back a little bit more and try and hoover up the best result they could, normally through the sprint of Emma Norsgaard. However we’ve now seen them more likely to go on the attack in the latter stages of races, trying to force something. At Gent Wevelgem, they knew they would struggle to make a dent into the Balsamo/Wiebes finish so relentlessly sent moves forward to see if the peloton would allow them to go. We can expect to see similar from Emma Norsgaard and Floortje Mackaij if they’re there on the run into Oudenaarde at the end of this year’s Tour of Flanders and then maybe use Arlenis Sierra to try and mop up the best possible result in the sprint.

Puck Pieterse is going to get most of the attention for Fenix-Deceuninck in what should be her final road race this side of the Paris Olympics. She extended her calendar to race at Flanders before she pivots to devoting her attention to the MTB which she hopes to get a medal in. She’s been impressive, always in the hunt and not afraid to call out riders not working hard enough in the lead groups of races. She has podiums at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Ronde van Drenthe and only one finish outside of the top-10 which was at Strade Bianche (she finished 13th). Expect her to be in the hunt. I can see teammate Christina Schweinberger also doing well after her 9th place at Gent Wevelgem, but the team is largely riding in support of Pieterse as their strongest shout for a potential podium result or more in Oudenaarde.

FDJ-Suez’s Vittoria Guazzini has been going well but there’s a trend now that it comes in flatter races than the Tour of Flanders. She’s taken some great results like a win at Le Samyn des Dames, 6th at Ronde van Drenthe and 10th at Classic Brugge-De Panne but that’s offset by DNFs at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Dwars Door Vlaanderen. She’s a fast finished but I’d be surprised to see her in the lead group here. So the team’s best result should fall to one of its attacking engines in Loes Adegeest or Amber Kraak. The latter took that famous win on the final day of the UAE Tour Women after being in the break all day and holding off the sprinter teams. She’s had a few top-20 results since. Loes Adegeest was 16th this week at Dwars Door Vlaanderen which is encouraging for tilt this Sunday.

Thalita de Jong generally finishes 40-somethingth at the Women’s Tour of Flanders over the years but there is a real encouragement that the Dutch rider will improve on that this year. She’s finished no lower than 15th in any stage or race this season and has peaked with a pair of 2nd places. She can definitely sneak into the top-10 at this year’s race if all goes well. Compared to some others on this race preview, she will be a bit more exposed with fewer teammates able to assist her.

Cedrine Kerbaol
Cedrine Kerbaol

Ceratizit WNT is always there or thereabouts and whilst we’re probably going to look at names like Cédrine Kerbaol and Marta Lach to deliver something at Flanders, their roster has quite a few different options. Nina Berton finished 15th at Gent Wevelgem last weekend, a good result for the Luxembourger and Marta Jaskulska matched that result mid-week at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. Kerbaol is already a race winner this year and will try to get into the mix for the tough finishing climbs here and should get the team’s best result.

Kim Le Court has had a great introduction to the Women’s WorldTour this season and continues to impress. She was 9th at Classic Brugge-De Panne, matching her result back in Australia at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The Mauritian also wasn’t far away from that with 11th at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and 13th at Gent Wevelgem. The Women’s Tour of Flanders is another step up on those but it’s encouraging to see the rider with a good MTB background contest these races with punchy climbs.

5th at Gent Wevelgem, you’d expect Maria Giulia Confalonieri to have a decent Tour of Flanders record over the years. However, the Italian has 10 editions under her belt with no top-10 results. We know she can get over short sharp climbs well and is fast enough to contest the flat finish here but it just hasn’t clicked for her so far in her career.

Victoire Berteau is looking strong this year for Cofidis and is reportedly already in talks with a Women’s WorldTour team for next season. The French national champion has been in or just outside the top-10 in races recently with a good 11th at Dwars Door Vlaanderen mid-week. She has the power to be able to get into small groups but currently, the sprint lets her down in comparison and denies a few extra final places.

Women's Tour of Flanders 2024 Outsiders

India Grangier
India Grangier

India Grangier will be looking to get a good result for Coop-Repsol. The team were very active in the early stages of Dwars Door Vlaanderen, trying to establish a breakaway that didn’t stick. The French rider hasn’t raced the Tour of Flanders before but took a top-20 in Omloop het Nieuwsblad this season.

This might be a tough one for Eline Jansen but we’ve seen the Dutch rider turn up in the top-10 of sprints after hilly days. She was 7th on the final stage of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana and 10th on a hilly tough stage at the Tour de Normandie as well. This is obviously a step up but we’ll see how she does. Teammate Margot Vanpachtenbeke has also been doing well recently, claiming 11th at Gent Wevelgem last weekend. That’s comfortably her best result in a Women’s WorldTour race and gives her something to build on. Anywhere in the top 20 would be a strong result.

I suspect that Lotto Dstny will all be working for Thalita de Jong but it’s worth keeping an eye on Fauve Bastiaenssen as well. She took a good 8th place Nokere Koerse and with a clear run has an opportunity to try and make the top-25 at this year’s Tour of Flanders.

Top 3 Prediction

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