World champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) has considered skipping the Tour of Flanders held on April 7 in Belgium, reported Wielerflits. Van der Breggen suggested that there wouldn't be enough time to recover from Cape Epic held from March 18-25 in South Africa.
"I think the Tour [of Flanders] does not fit in my program," said Van der Breggen, who won the Tour of Flanders last year. "That race is close to the Cape Epic and I expect that I need some time to recover from it."
Van der Breggen introduced World Cup mountain bike racing into her calendar last year at Val di Sole. She announced in January that she would be racing Cape Epic with her teammate Annika Langvad, who races with Specialized during the mountain bike season and with Boels Dolmans on the road.
They will both race in the Sunshine Cup held in Afxentia from February 22-25 on the island of Cyprus as preparation for Cape Epic.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Healthy Ageing Tour and the Ardennes
Van der Breggen will begin her season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on March 2 and also attempt a title defense at Strade Bianche on March 9. According to Wielerflits, she will then compete in Cape Epic followed by the Healthy Ageing Tour from April 10-14 in the Netherlands, which will be used as preparation for the Ardennes Classics.
Van der Breggen won all three Ardennes Classics in 2017 – Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastonge-Liège. Last year she won Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastonge-Liège. She has been undefeated at Flèche Wallonne for the last four editions and will aim for a fifth consecutive title this year, which would match that of Marianne Vos.
Van der Breggen has also won the Giro Rosa twice, but decided to skip the race last year as she allowed for changes to her schedule to include more one-day races and mountain biking. She told Wielerflits that she hasn't decided if she will race the Giro Rosa this year.
"Only after the spring do I make a final decision,” she said.
Van der Breggen won her first elite women’s road race world title at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck last year. The World Championships will take place on a punchy course in Yorkshire this year where Van der Breggen believes she has a chance to defend her title.
"The course is not as easy to handle as I was in Innsbruck last year. But that does not mean that I have no chance "
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