Van Vleuten, Balsamo and Uttrup Ludwig biggest threats for Kopecky

Van Vleuten, Balsamo and Uttrup Ludwig biggest threats for Kopecky

Road  24/03/2023

Last year, Flanders’ Finest for women did not really unfold until the finish line in Oudenaarde. Lotte Kopecky made an impressive splash in her Belgian jersey to her first victory in the Tour of Flanders. The Tour of Flanders for women is counting down to a 20th and thus an anniversary edition. Top favourite Kopecky is number 1 on the provisional starting list, but the competition, including Van Vleuten, Balsamo, Uttrup Ludwig and Bastianelli, is not soft.

Lotte Kopecky is having a brilliant season. With two wins already and a second place in three races, she will be starting in Oudenaarde in the form of her life. The same goes for her team-mate Demi Vollering, who won the Strade Bianche, ahead of Kopecky. Furthermore, Team SD Worx can also count on sprint phenomenon Lorena Wiebes and the Swiss Marlen Reusser, who came fifth last year.

One of the biggest challengers for Kopecky and by extension SD Worx is undoubtedly two-time Tour of Flanders winner Annemiek van Vleuten. For Movistar Team Women, she will be looking for a third win and the title of record-holder in her final year in the peloton. She is joined by Arlenis Sierra Canadilla, Liane Lippert and the Dutch rider Floortje Mackaij.

Other ex-winners who will be starting are eight-time cyclo-cross world champion Marianne Vos and Coryn Rivera for Team Jumbo-Visma. UAE Team ADQ is bringing a former winner in former world champion Marta Bastianelli in her last spring. Alongside her, Silvia Persico, third at the World Road Championships in Australia, is also on the provisional starting list.

For Trek-Segafredo, the Italian duo Balsamo-Longo Borghini will be at the start in Oudenaarde. In 2015, Longo Borghini won Flanders’ Finest. Last year, it was Balsamo’s turn to join the party in Gent-Wevelgem.

Team DSM are bringing Pfeiffer Georgi, among others, to Oudenaarde. The Brit took a good fifth place in the opening classic and was victorious yesterday after a fine solo. For FDJ-Suez, crowd favourite Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is in the line-up. The Danish champion took a place on the podium in 2019 and she has also performed well this season with a third place finish in Strade Bianche. She will be riding with the likes of Grace Brown.

Many Belgians are also descending on Oudenaarde. At Fenix-Deceuninck, we can expect triple world cyclo-cross champion Sanne Cant at the start. Shari Bossuyt will be defending the colours of Canyon//SRAM Racing. She joins forces with Katarzyna Niewiadoma, who finished eighth last year.

Also on the provisional list of participants are Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Zoe Bäckstedt (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) and Kristen Faulkner (Team Jayco Alula). Discover the provisional start list here.

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