Marianne Vos will return to the peloton on Friday at the Dutch race Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic Women, with the Jumbo-Visma rider rebooting her road season on home soil as she lines up at a race start line for the first time in nearly seven weeks.
Vos hasn't raced since early April, as a positive COVID-19 test put her on the sidelines before Paris-Roubaix. She will return among an all Dutch Jumb-Visma line-up at a rare event on the calendar that the experienced 35-year-old cyclist has yet to compete in.
"I'm very curious about the race," Vos said of Veenendaal-Veenendaal in a team statement. "I think it's nice to ride a race in the Netherlands again. The races are scattered around the world to the point that this doesn't happen every week anymore.
“The whole team is looking forward to Friday. We will definitely try to attack and go for the victory.”
The 139.9 km event is running its second women’s edition, with a first in 2018 before it was absent from the calendar until this year. It will play out on local laps, with sections on the Grebbeberg, the Paardenveld and the Amerongse Berg.
At the 1.1 classified Veenendaal-Veenendaal, which was won by Annemiek van Vleuten in 2018, the three WorldTour teams of Jumbo-Visma, Liv Racing Xstra and UAE Team ADQ will line up against Women’s Continental Teams and a number of development squads.
“The race has a good field of participants, with a mix of World Tour teams and many Dutch teams,” said Vos. “It also means that Veenendaal-Veenendaal plays a role in developing talent in the Netherlands."
It will also play a role in rebooting Vos’ road season. She had already made a late start before catching COVID-19, not returning to the fray until Strade Bianche in March, following her World Championship winning cyclo-cross season.
Vos then came second in Gent-Wevelgem and raced the Tour of Flanders at the start of April. Paris-Roubaix, where she came second in 2021, was expected to be next on her calendar.
Vos said on the eve of the race: "I'm fit, I'm really looking forward to it, the tyre pressures have been tested extensively, and we are well prepared as a team."
However then on the morning of the event, which was a key target for the rider, she tested positive to COVID-19 and had to pull out. After that it took longer than initially anticipated before she was back on the road.
“At the time when I had to withdraw from Roubaix, I had no symptoms yet,” Vos said in an interview with Cycling Weekly. “I then did develop some symptoms but I wasn’t that sick – throat soreness and a persistent cold mostly. But it lingered. The moment I picked up the bike again, I noticed that when it came to endurance especially, it really had an impact.
Vos will make her return alongside Jip van den Bos, Aafke Soet, Riejanne Markus, Karlijn Swinkels and Teuntje Beekhuis.
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Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.