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Women's WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe 2021 - Preview

Ronde van Drenthe 2020
The podium of Ronde van Drenthe 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Women's WorldTour will come to a close on October 23 with the season's finale taking place at Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands. 

The event was cancelled last year due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19. Although it is traditionally part of the one-day races held in March, organisers requested a later date in October for the 2021 edition.

It has been a long season and while some riders might be feeling fatigued at this point of the year and looking forward to the off-season, others are still motivated and prepared for one last battle for victory.

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) is currently leading the Women's WorldTour series but she will not be on the start line because she is recovering from injuries sustained in a crash at Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

Her Movistar squad, along with FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, have withdrawn from the event as both teams have cited a shortage of riders following a series of injuries in recent weeks.

The route

The sprinter-friendly route is 159 kilometres between Assen and Hoogeveen and made up of a series of loops over 10 cobbled sectors and four trips up the VAM Berg. Riders who have historically done well in this race are powerful one-day specialists on flatter terrain.

The route begins Assen and travels eastward toward Gieten before moving south to Borger and to the outskirts of Emmen. The route then travels south-west toward the final circuits in Hoogeveen.

The peloton will climb the Vam Berg for the first time at the 99km mark, and then again at 129km, 136.2km and 143.4km, followed by a 16km to the finish.

Who to watch

Dutch riders have historically done well at this event. Adrie Visser was the first winner of the event back in 2007 and her compatriots have won the race for eight of the previous 13 editions to include Chantal Beltman, Loes Gunnewijk, Marianne Vos three times, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Amy Pieters. 

Other champions of the one-day race include Emma Johansson, Lizzie Deignan, Jolien D'hoore, Amalie Dideriksen and Marta Bastianelli.

Defending champion Bastianelli will not be on the start line, however, 2018 winner Amy Pieters from the SD Worx team will be a key rider to watch. The Dutch Champion won her national road race title after a solo breakaway on a circuit race that finished on the Vam Berg in June. She arrives with a strong team that includes Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.

Chloe Hosking will be a rider to watch from the Trek-Segafredo team and a sprinter who has shown strong performances late season after recovering from COVID-19 and the complication of pericarditis. She has a strong team that includes Elynor Backstedt and Letizia Paternoster.

Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) has also shown great form late season, after recovering from a crash at Simac Ladies Tour, she won two stages at the Women's Tour. She is strong enough to contest the main climbs and powerful enough to win a potential group sprint.

Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) won a stage at the Simac Ladies Tour, the road race and time trial at the Canadian National Championships and finished sixth at the Flanders World Championships. Watch for her to be a contender for the victory in Hoogeveen.

Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank also arrive with a dark horse contender in Kristen Faulkner after her stage win at the Ladies Tour of Norway and third place at GP de Plouay. Also watch for Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) who is always a contender for an aggressive race and an opportunist for a breakaway into Hoogeveen.

Teams

  • Alé BTC Ljubljana
  • SD Worx
  • Trek-Segafredo Women
  • Liv Racing
  • Canyon SRAM Racing
  • Team BikeExchange
  • Team DSM
  • Team Jumbo-Visma Women
  • Valcar-Travel & Service
  • Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank
  • Parkhotel Valkenburg
  • Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
  • Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire Cycling Team
  • NXTG Racing
  • GT Krush Tunap
  • Bizkaia Durango
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.

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