After last year’s hilly parcourses in Plumelec (France), the 2017 edition of the European Road Cycling Championships is taking place in the flat region around Herning, Denmark, which will deliver some different kind of racing and winners. It shouldn’t make a big difference for the time trials, though.
The first ever edition of the European Championships in the Elite category delivered a somewhat expected result: 1-2 for the Netherlands, with Ellen van Dijk first and Anna van der Breggen second. Russian Olga Zabelinskaya got the bronze medal. Van Dijk’s win gave her country an additional third spot for the World Championships in Doha, something that she will be looking forward to repeating again — otherwise either her, Van der Breggen or Van Vleuten (not riding here as she’s heading to an altitude training camp in Italy) will have to be left out from the Dutch selection for Bergen.
How is the course?
Long, flat, fast and non-technical: a time trial for time triallists. There’s no hiding here: the woman with the strongest legs will win. It will be all about keeping a fast, steady pace on those long, straight roads from Denmark.
Who can win here?
There’s a big favourite, and that is last year’s winner: Ellen van Dijk. On paper it looks like the perfect course for the Dutchwoman, but she has had more than one disappointment in recent time trials, such as Doha Worlds, Rio Olympics or basically every edition of the Dutch national championships since 2013.
Her biggest rivals should be the same as last year: her countrywoman Anna van der Breggen and Russian veteran Olga Zabelinskaya.
Belgian Ann-Sophie Duyck is another strong outsider. Italian Elisa Longo Borghini may find this course too flat for her taste, whereas French TT champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot will be hoping to have another superb day like the one she had in her home country one year ago, which gave her a top-5 result.
Hanna Solovey (UKR), Lucinda Brand (NED) and Lotta Lepistö (FIN) can time trial too. It will also be interesting to see what the Spanish TT champion Lourdes Oyarbide may achieve among some of the best specialists in the world.
The time trial starts early on Thursday 3 (9:30 CEST). Van Dijk will be the last to go at 10:01. The race will be shown live on Eurosport Player.
Here’s the startlist: