Moniek Tenniglo will make her debut with Mitchelton-Scott at the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne on Thursday. The Dutchwoman has recovered from an injury and will be one of the team's main support riders as they aim to secure victory at the fourth round of the Women's WorldTour that kicks off the cobbled Classics in Belgium.
"The whole team is in great form and building confidence after each race," said Classics specialist Gracie Elvin. "We're all really excited for this block of racing in Belgium, and also for our new teammate Moniek to join us after her break from injury."
Tenniglo joined Mitchelton-Scott after spending one season with FDJ, and before that she raced with Marianne Vos' WM3 Energie and Rabobank teams, where she was also teammates with Annemiek van Vleuten.
Upon signing with the Australian team, director Martin Vestby said that her strongest value for the team was in her ability to sacrifice herself – something that will no doubt prove valuable during the upcoming Classics.
The team opened the Women's WorldTour calendar in the best possible way, with Van Vleuten taking a solo victory at Strade Bianche. Sarah Roy was their highest placed rider at the Ronde van Drenthe in 14th, while Amanda Spratt returned from a head injury and took second place at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.
Mitchelton-Scott's team at the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne is made up of Tenniglo, Spratt, Roy and Elvin, along with Grace Brown and Jess Allen.
"It would be nice to have a good start at the first of the Belgian Classics, as it sets the standard for this period of racing," Vestby said. "I'd like to see the team communicate and ride well together. We have riders with some good form, and so it's now about putting all the pieces to together.
"I expect a sprint, but with some wind there can be a lot of action with the open fields. But if it does come down to a sprint, we have a team that can do a good lead-out."
The women will race 134.4km – reduced from 151km last year – and race along the coast line of the North Sea between Bruges and De Panne, with many predicting a sprint. The bunch will pass over one cobbled sector on the way to the coast, but it's the wind that's likely to play the major role in determining the outcome of the race.
"It's been nice to get some sun in Italy and to have had a successful race at Binda, but I'm one of the few riders excited to head back to Belgium hoping for some real Classics weather like we've had so far in Holland," Elvin said.
"Last year, we had some wind in De Panne, and I was in a break for most of the day, and this year I'm hoping for similar conditions. There aren't many cobbles in this race and the roads are long and flat, so you really do need the wind to make it interesting."
Mitchelton-Scott for the 2019 Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne: Jess Allen, Grace Brown, Gracie Elvin, Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt, Moniek Tenniglo