The Ronde Van Drenthe will open the 2012 UCI Women World Cup season in the Netherlands on Saturday. The big favourites are last year's winner Marianne Vos and World Champion Giorgia Bronzini.
Winding roads and cobblestone sections add to the spectacular character of this race where gale winds can be expected. The Ronde van Drenthe course, 132,8km long, was marked out in the true spirit of the Northern classics. It includes numerous sprints and primes as well as three short climbs, the last of which is 12.9km from the finish.
The favourites will have to avoid numerous traps along the course and even use them to their own good if they want to win. With four victories in five years, the Dutch riders are the favourites. If Annemiek Van Vleuten (Tichting Rabo Women), 2011 World Cup winner, will not be present due to an operation on the femoral artery, she can count on the overflowing energy of her compatriot and team mate Marianne Vos, who won the last edition of the Ronde Van Drenthe in the sprint, and who comes straight from a crushing domination of the cyclo-cross season.
The dual between Bronzini and Vos will be further animated by other renowned champions: the German Judith Arndt at the head of an impressive GreenEdge team, Sweden's Emma Johansson (AA-Drink Cycling Team), 3rd in the 2011 World Cup and who is back after an accident in mid-January, and her British team mate Lizzie Armistead, winner of the Omloop van het Hageland in February.
Latest on Cyclingnews
State of the Nation: Analysing the Dutch women's 2021 World Championships teamAny one of the riders from the Netherlands is capable of winning the rainbow jersey
Dutch squad fight back to silver medal in Worlds mixed relay TTTMollema still recovering from Tour de Luxembourg crash ahead of road race
'A perfect goodbye’ as Tony Martin exits cycling in a rainbow jersey at World ChampionshipsGerman rider won eight world titles in his 15-year career
Ganna grabs second medal of Worlds as Italy edge Switzerland for Mixed Relay TTT Worlds bronze'We didn't know until the last bike throw' said Longo Borghini
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.