Simac Ladies Tour 2021 - Preview

The iconic Dutch windmills during the 2018 Boels Rentals Ladies Tour, now called the Simac Tour
The iconic Dutch windmills during the 2018 Boels Rentals Ladies Tour, now called the Simac Tour (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Under a new title sponsor Simac Ladies Tour (formerly Boels Ladies Tour) brings late-season world-class racing to the Netherlands from August 24-29. The event is suited to the most powerful riders in the peloton, and with two individual time trials on tap this year, the overall title could come down to the seconds between riders against the clock.

The event is the biggest women’s stage race in the Netherlands, joining the Women’s WorldTour in 2017, and it is heading into its 23rd edition.

Known from 1998 through 2008 as the Holland Ladies Tour, the race has been sponsored for the past 12 editions, first as the Profile Ladies Tour between 2009 and 2011, then the Brainwash Ladies Tour in 2012 before becoming the Boels Ladies Tour in 2013. The race joined the Women's WorldTour in 2017.

Former champions include Leontien van Moorsel, Petra Rosner, Kristin Armstrong, Annemiek van Vleuten, Ellen van Dijk, Lisa Brennauer, to name a few, while Marianne Vos has won the overall title four times. Christine Majerus won the last edition held in 2019.

The race, last held in 2019, was one of the many that were postponed and then cancelled last year due to COVID-19 but it emerged for 2021 with its new sponsor Simac, a company specialising in IT services and infrastructure.

How to watch

The Simac Ladies Tour will offer fans live race coverage and post-race programmes across television broadcast and live streaming platforms. The race will be broadcast on Eurosport 1, Omroep Gelderland, L1 and RTV Oost with daily 90-minute programmes and will be streamed live on Eurosport, GCN and the regional TV channels Omroep Gelderland, L1 and RTV Oost.

You can sign up for a subscription to Eurosport Player for £6.99 / $9.26 for a month, £4.99 / $6.61 for a year-long monthly pass, or £39.99 / $52.99 for a 12-month pass.

Coverage via the GCN Race Pass, available on the GCN app, will be available worldwide. Access in the UK will set you back £39.99 for a year. There's also an option to pay for the Race Pass month-by-month, although the year pass is much better value.

If you're outside your home zone, you may be able to access your streaming programmes with ExpressVPN which gives the ability to simulate being back in your home country, allowing you to watch the race live on various devices –including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets, etc.

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Simac Ladies Tour broadcast schedule
PrologueAug 2413:00 CET14:30 CET
Stage 1Aug 2513:00 CET14:30 CET
Stage 2Aug 2613:00 CET14:30 CET
Stage 3Aug 2713:00 CET14:30 CET
Stage 4Aug 2813:00 CET14:30 CET
Stage 5Aug 2912:30 CET14:00 CET

Who to watch

As a Women's WorldTour race many of the highest ranked teams will be on the start line in Ede. SD Worx line up with the defending champion Christine Majerus but will also field Chantal van den Broek-Blaak. In short, the team is well-rounded and suited to the time trials, windy flat stages and any punchy climbs offered at the Simac Ladies Tour.

One of the biggest contenders for the overall title is Denmark’s Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), who is a fast sprinter and a powerful time trialist, and both strengths will be key across the flat to undulating routes during the six-day race.

Ceratizit-WNT bring a team to support 2015 overall winner Lisa Brennauer, a former world time trial champion who has shown stamina, power, and impeccable late-race tactics during the early-season races. She was on the podium at Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, and Healthy Ageing Tour, but is missing that one big win this year. The team will also have a powerful sprinter in Kirsten Wild, who has won 10 stages in previous editions.

Jumbo-Visma arrive with four-time overall winner Marianne Vos. Vos secured victories at Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race this spring and a 30th career stage win at the Giro d'Italia Donne. She has not raced since the Tokyo Olympic Games, and so after some recovery will no doubt be looking to kick-start her late season goals on home soil.

Trek-Segafredo bring Ellen van Dijk (overall winner in 2013) and with two time trials on tap, it might be a parcours that best suits her for another overall victory. She won the time trial and the overall classification at the Healthy Ageing Tour, and also won the prologue and finished second overall at the Lotto Belgium Tour, making her a favourite for her nation’s top-tier stage race.

Australian champion Sarah Roy will line up as the contender for Team BikeExchange with a strong backing from Jesica Allen, New Zealand champion Georgia Williams, Teniel Campbell, and Janneke Ensing. It’s a powerful team for the time trials, flat windy stages, and who also look to race aggressively and to take opportunities in the breakaways.

Silver medallist in the time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Marlen Reusser (Ale BTC Ljubljana) will be the team’s rider supported for the overall classification. She is one of the strongest time trialists in the world but is also a tenacious rider who follows select moves and is able to stay with climbers over punchy ascents.

Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) will be a favourite for the anticipated sprint stages, but is also a strong time trialist and can handle the punchy climbs offered throughout the six-day route. Watch for her as a contender for stage wins and a top place in the overall.

The route

The Simac Ladies Tour will returned this August as part of the Women's WorldTour to once again welcome a world-class field. The race will cover a total of 584 kilometres that includes flat stages and two individual time trials. It isn’t all about the time trials, however, as high-winds will likely play a factor in the flatter stages. Although the two final stages were meant to be more selective, organizers adjusted them to become circuit races the that could see selections made via anticipated aggressive race tactics.

Prologue: Ede to Ede, 2.4km

The six-day race will begin with a prologue in Ede. The 2.4km route will favour the powerful time triallists looking for both a stage win and the first leader’s jersey of the event.

Stage 1: Zwolle to Hardenberg, 134.4km

A race for the sprinters, stage 1 is a 134.4km race routed between Zwolle and Hardenberg. Don’t be fooled by the flat profile, however, as high-winds could wreak havoc on a stage like this, and cause surprise separations in the field. It will take a strong team effort to get through potential winds and an organized lead-out to seal an anticipated bunch sprint.

Stage 2: Gennep, ITT, 17km

The second and final time trial of the six-day race, could be one of the most decisive opportunities to make a bid for the overall title at the Simac Ladies Tour. At 17km, it’s still fairly short for a time trial, however, it might be just long enough to put important seconds between the top-10 in the overall classification.

Stage 3: Stramproy to Weert, 125.9km

The 125.9km race from Stramproy to Weert is another day for the sprinters, but again, high-winds could play a factor in the outcome of this stage. Watch for strong teams to bring their sprinters in position for a stage win in Weert.

Stage 4: Geleen to Sweikhuizen, 148.9km

The first of two final selective stages, stage 4 is a 148.9km race that starts in Geleen and ends in Sweikhuizen, but held along nine laps of a local circuit. It is not completely flat, however, and punchy route that could see breakaways and selections happen before the finish line.

Stage 5: Arnhem, 149.4km

In initially planned as a point-top-point race from Arnhem to Posbank, the Simac Ladies Tour will now end on a short circuit in Arnhem. It is a flat and technical circuit where fans can expect to see explosive racing and perhaps another bunch sprint before the winner of the six-day race is crowned.

Pandemic restrictions

Organisers have moved the race ahead with appropriate sanitary measures in place and some route adjustments during the six days of racing. Like many races over the past 18 months, the public will be kept away from the riders.

“All measures are aimed at preventing too many people coming together at the same the same location and maintaining the 1.5-meter distance," the organizers stated on their website. 

"Most of the locations of the start and finish have been moved to locations that naturally attract fewer spectators. For this purpose, the existing routes have been adjusted. It was also decided that there will be no side events.

“The parking lots where the teams stay are closed to the public at the start and finish. The team presentation has been cancelled or will take place in a closed area. The start location is closed to the public or will also be with a box for up to 750 people with a ticket and QR code accessible. This varies by location. At the finish locations, a box will be created - concerning the last 200 meters before to 100 meters after the finish - where a maximum of 750 people will be admitted. These people must have an entry ticket that can be obtained on site and have a QR code in the corona check app. Outside the start and finish locations, public is allowed along the entire route subject to the 1.5-meter distance. The organization will deploy stewards to enforce and promote this.”

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Kirsten Frattini
Deputy Editor

Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.

Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.

She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.