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Columbia-Highroad women optimistic about the Ronde

Chantal Beltman (Team Columbia-Highroad)

Chantal Beltman (Team Columbia-Highroad) (Image credit: Bert Geerts)

Columbia-Highroad's women's team heads to Belgium for the Ronde van Vlaanderen Vrouwen, the women's Tour of Flanders, on April 5, fielding a strong lineup for the second round of the women's World Cup. Despite missing last year's winner Judith Arndt, who is recovering from a broken collarbone, the team feels confident and optimistic about their chances.

"It will make for a more open race where each of us will be able to take our own opportunity," said Columbia-Highroad rider Chantal Beltman in a press release. "Personally, I've ridden fewer races this Spring than last year, but I know the course very well, because I've ridden every edition of the women's Tour of Flanders since it began. Knowing where big moves tend to go should help me be in the right place at the crucial points, and that could be what counts."

The weather always plays a big factor, and the 32-year-old Beltman says the unusually dry weather expected for the weekend could completely change the race. "If it stays dry like it is now, it will be a lot faster than usual, and be a much more nervous race," said Beltman. "In Flanders, the strongest and cleverest rider always wins. If the weather remains good, however, it will be harder to see who that is until late in the race. If the race takes a while to take shape, using your strength right could be even more important than usual."

Columbia-Highroad for Ronde van Vlaanderen Vrouwen: Kim Anderson, Chantal Beltman, Luise Keller, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Linda Villumsen, Alex Wrubleski.