Against the odds or with the tide? Women’s elite Euro Champ road race preview

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The last of the women’s races at the 2017 European Road Cycling Championships in Herning (Denmark) will be, as planned, the elite road race. It will be for sure a very different one from the preceding edition, which took place in hilly Plumelec (France). But, as the U23 race recently showed, you can’t take anything for granted. Bad weather and aggressive tactics can make things hectic even in the most predictable parcours. So let’s look at tomorrow’s competition with an open mind.

What happened last year?

Niewiadoma, Van der Breggen and Longo Borghini | Photo © UEC

Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands reigned supreme. Surprising? Not all all. The recently crowned Olympic champion showed once again that she has something special when it comes to being brilliant in the most important races. She was able to follow the powerful attacks of Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma and beat her on the line. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) was third.

The course

There’s not much to say about the roughly 20-kilometer circuit. It’s flat and fast, and also twisty enough not to make the wind a noticeable factor for a long time, as the road’s direction is changing all the time.

Does it mean it’s easy? On paper it is, but bad weather (not unlikely) might make things tricky and favour attacking tactics. It’s 120-km lenght in total.

Who’s going to win?

Probably a sprinter, unless some powerful rouleur is strong enough to hold off the bunch’s pursuit. Some Dutch riders such as Ellen van Dijk or Anna van der Breggen could try that, but the team has good options for a sprint with Kirsten Wild and Marianne Vos, too.

Belgium’s Jolien D’hoore and Finland’s Lotta Lepistö will be big favourites as well if there’s a bunch finish, but don’t forget home hero Amalie Dideriksen either.

Italy has several options, with former world champions Giorgia Bronzini and Marta Bastianelli as leaders. Roxane Fournier (France), Sheyla Gutiérrez (Spain), Emilie Moberg (Norway) and Christine Majerus (Luxembourg) are interesting outsiders.

The race starts at 14:00 CEST on Saturday and will be shown live on Eurosport Player.

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