Skip to main content

Roland Cogeas Edelweiss skips opening weekend to train for Strade Bianche

Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad at training camp ahead of Strade Bianche (Image credit: Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad)

New women’s WorldTeam Roland Cogeas Edelweiss skipped Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Omloop van het Hageland and Le Samyn in order to prepare for this weekend’s Strade Bianche, team manager Ruben Contreras has confirmed.

The team, who were granted WorldTeam status over the winter, started their season at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana stage race in February, but were the only WorldTeam absent from Opening Weekend.

Conteras told Cyclingnews the team instead held their first full team camp in Calpe from February 21 until March 2 ahead of the first WorldTour race of the season, Strade Bianche on Saturday. 

“After Valenciana, we went to the [Israel] Premier Tech men’s race in Girona, to the service course, and we picked up our new big bus, so for us it was better to stay in Calpe,” Contreras gave as explanation for the decision. “It was good weather, and good training for all.”

Contreras also pointed to the volume of races, and the team’s relatively small and young roster, as a reason they may be more selective around non-WorldTour race days.

“The problem is, we can’t ask the riders to race 100 races per year,” Contreras said. “They need the recuperation. The riders are human, they aren’t race horses. We have many younger riders and with these riders we need to go step by step. For us to do four races in one week in February is not possible.”

Contreras also revealed the team have been trying to sign two more riders to expand their roster, but have not been granted permission by the UCI.

After partnering with Israel Premier Tech last month, Roland Cogeas Edelweiss announced the signing of Israeli rider Rotem Gafinovitz, but she will not race for the team until June 1.

“We have new riders, but she will only begin with us on the first of June, it is stupid,” Contreras said. “For this reason, we must choose the races carefully to do a good program and do good work.”

The team travelled from Calpe to Tuscany on Wednesday to prepare for Strade Bianche, where Contreras says their objective is “to learn. Learn, learn, learn.”

“Also we need to be careful. Because it’s very dangerous, and I need the riders for other races. I hope we don’t have an accident.”

Contreras confirmed the team’s line-up on Saturday will be Olga Zabelinskaya, Tamara Dronova-Balabolina, Gulnaz Khatuntseva, Diana Klimova, Léa Stern and Aline Seitz. 

As new entrants to the women’s WorldTour, Roland Cogeas Edelweiss will be required to compete in all WorldTour events this season, which includes a busy schedule of cobbled Spring Classics. Having missed the first early season races, Roland Cogeas Edelweiss’s Belgian debut will be the Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne on March 24. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.