Kirsten Wild will transfer her power from the track to the road in her debut with Wiggle High5 at the Women's WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe on Sunday. The Dutch sprinter recently won three world titles on the track in Apeldoorn but said she just hopes to survive the nearly 150km in Hoogeveen.
"I didn't think too much about it. My target was really last weekend [at the Track World Championships]. I hope for some form and I will be able to survive in Drenthe," said Wild, who won rainbow jerseys in the Scratch Race, the Omnium and the Points Race last week.
"The team showed already a really strong performance in Strade Bianche, so we will have good form, so I hope we have a good race as a team. I think we have some opportunities because the girls showed that they are really strong already."
Ronde van Drenthe marks the second round of the 2018 Women's WorldTour. The series started at Strade Bianche last weekend, when Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) won ahead of Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Elisa Long Borghini (Wiggle High5). Van der Breggen will be competing at Ronde van Drenthe, but Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini will sit out this round.
Wild raced for Cylance last year and Hitec for two seasons before that. She placed second twice at Ronde van Drenthe in 2011 and 2012, both won by Marianne Vos.
The course is 141km and begins at the City Hall in Emmen. There are a series of early cobblestone sections before racing up the 'VAM-berg' climb four times. The climb traditionally encourages attacks ahead of a set of three finishing circuits and a flatter finish in Hoogeveen. The last section suits Wild's sprint capabilities if she is able to make it to the finish with the front group.
"If it's cold, Drenthe is a really hard race, and windy conditions makes it really difficult," Wild said. "And it's a long race, that's the most difficult part I think. It's almost 150km, or more, and that will be the hardest point. I feel in really good shape, but it's different to do a track race to a five hour, cold conditions race. I think I have to see. I don't know. No expectations. Only hope!"
Wiggle High5 will also field newcomers Lisa Brennauer and Rachele Barbieri, both also raced at track Worlds. Also part of the line up are Emilia Fahlin, Julie Leth and Lucy Garner.
"I'm really looking forward to racing with the girls," Wild said. "I've had so many nice messages from them this weekend. When I see the pictures of the Italian races it looks really cool. I'm really happy to be part of it and it finally starts."
Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling roster for the Ronde van Drenthe: Rachele Barbieri, Lisa Brennauer, Emilia Fahlin, Lucy Garner, Julie Leth and Kirsten Wild.
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