Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) finished fourth at Strade Bianche and then travelled directly to Austria to start a 20-day altitude training camp where she will begin preparations for the European Championships, Giro Rosa and the UCI Road World Championships, in September. The former world champion and reigning Olympic champion is expected to decide on racing the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix later in the season.
"I really hope to peak in September," Van der Breggen said. "The European championships TT, the Giro and the road race at the Worlds are my big goals for this season. However, I will also ride the Dutch Nationals, GP Plouay, the European Championships on the road and the Worlds TT."
Van der Breggen finished just off the podium in Strade Bianche on Saturday behind winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), runner-up Mavi García (Alé BTC Ljubljana) and third-placed Leah Thomas (Équipe Paule Ka).
The race marked the restart of the Women’s WorldTour, after racing had been shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The UCI announced the revised-late season calendar in May, however, cancellations of PostNord Vargarda team time trial and road race along with Ladies Tour of Norway and Boels Ladies Tour means that the Women's WorldTour has retained 14 of the original 22 events.
Many of the top teams, including Boels Dolmans, officially started racing at the three UCI 1.1 events Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa, the Vuelta Ciclista a Navarra and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria in the Basque Country at the end of July to test their legs ahead of Strade Bianche.
Van Vleuten won all three events and Van der Breggen place third in the opening race in Pamplona and second in Durango.
"To be honest the first four races [came] too early for my main goals this season. Besides that, the cancellation of some other races like the Boels Ladies Tour doesn’t improve that situation a lot," Van der Breggen said.
Her first goal will be at the European Championships moved to France at the end of August, before turning her attention to the Giro Rosa held from September 11-19. Organisers of the nine-day event have not announced the full route details but said it will take place in central and southern Italy.
"The parcours of the Giro hasn’t been presented yet, so I don’t know yet if the race will be suited for me," Van der Breggen said. "There is also the question of moving the Worlds TT race from Sunday to Wednesday, this gives us more time to recover. Although the Worlds TT will be raced on an almost flat parcours. On the other hand, there are plenty of climbing metres in the road race in Martigny. I’m really looking forward to the recon of the World routes."
Van der Breggen will spend time previewing the World Championships route in Switzerland this week. This year's Worlds will take place from September 20-27 an the road race route is expected too be a mountainous affair, and in that respect, similar to the course she won on at the Innsbruck Worlds in 2018.
After previewing the Worlds course, she will then begin a 20-day altitude training camp with teammate Chantal van den Broek-Blaak in Austria.
After a busy September campaign, Van der Breggen will start a series of Classics in October such as Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Amstel Gold Race and Tour of Flanders. The inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix is tentatively on her calendar, however, whether she participates will depend on her form that late in the year.
"These are all races which suit me well, and races which I have won in the past," she said. "The only question I have is how good I will still be by then. From the end of August, it will be a very busy and intense season. That is also the reason why I don’t now know if I will start in Paris-Roubaix. If I am feeling well than I will certainly ride this epic cobblestone race."
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