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Unive World Cup - Ronde van Drenthe - CDM

Netherlands, April 13, 2009

World Cup jersey heads home

By Laura Weislo

Marianne Vos is the clear favourite
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

The UCI Women's World Cup heads to the Netherlands, where current leader Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) will show off the jersey to the hometown fans in Drenthe. Vos, winner of the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and the warm-up in the Novilon Ronde van Drenthe on Saturday, has yet to add the Ronde van Drenthe to her lengthy palmarès. However, the triple world champion and Olympic gold medalist will be a marked woman.

Last year, Vos was outwitted by the Highroad team, which put Chantel Beltman into the breakaway. The Dutch rider stayed clear to the end, while Vos was left chasing for second, which she took in the bunch sprint over Ina Teutenberg.

This year, Teutenberg is on fire and has shown that the short, sharp climbs of these Northern World Cups suit her perfectly. After taking the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen, the German sprinted to victory in the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo for her 10th season victory.

A strong force to be reckoned with is the German Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. Regina Schleicher was a close second to Teutenberg in the Drentse 8, the same result that teammate Trixi Worrack obtained behind Vos on Saturday. Suzanne de Goede won the opening classic of the season at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Other riders who have been going well lately include Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling Team) and Sarah Düster (Cervélo TestTeam). The Cervélo team has a deep roster and will put up a good challenge. Should it come to another sprint finish, expect Kirsten Wild to be up there near the top.

Australian Rochelle Gilmore rides for a Belgian team and has put the experience to good use for a fourth-place finish in the Novilon Ronde. Expect her to do equally well in the neighbouring country where roads and wind are similar.

Eva Lutz is part of the strong Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

The Ronde van Drenthe is largely flat, but is by no means an easy race. Wind, cobbled sectors and one short, sharp climb combine to make the course worthy of the World Cup title. The race begins with a large loop starting in Hoogeveen, with three intermediate sprints to keep things rolling along before riders head back for the tough short laps that take in the area's only real elevations change: the Vamberg.

The riders actually take in the 380m, 10% grade of the landfill climb three times during the race. The first trip up will likely be of little consequence as it comes just 9.4 km into the 138km race.

The second trip comes at kilometre 89.2, and can be a factor in splitting the bunch. But it is the final trip with 14.2km to go which makes or breaks the race.

From the descent of the KOM it is a flat run-in to the finish. Columbia-Highroad will try to keep it together to give Teutenberg win number 11, but the puncheurs will no doubt take any chance they can to get away – expect an interesting hunt for the glory egg on Easter Monday.