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Preview : Ronde van Gelderland

Two World Cup races in successive weekends drew the Italian teams north for a long trip, but now they’ve gone back down South again. So you’d think that the field for Saturday’s Ronde van Gelderland would be a little thin, especially with the big names trying to hold a bit back for next Wednesday’s Fleche Wallonne, but you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact so many teams applied to take part that the organisers had to restrict teams to just six riders. Nederland Bloeit are resting Marianne Vos which is raising a bit of a kerfuffle in the media, although to their disappointment neither she nor the organisers are providing the sort of headline-friendly, Cav v Greipel quotes that they really want. Or perhaps Dutch smack talk is a lot more subtle. HTC-Columbia are meanwhile resting both last year’s winner Teutenberg and Judith Arndt who crashed out here last year on her first race back after injury.



That profile looks impressive at first, doesn’t it. The race leaves Apeldoorn, goes on a long loop North and East before returning to Apeldoorn over the hills of Arnhem. But have a look at the scale at the side. The tallest climb is the Zijpenberg, 1000m at an average of 3.3%. The steepest is the Emma Piramide (well if the VAM can be a berg, then why can’t the Emma be a pyramid), 700m average 4.7%. The rest probably wouldn’t be named climbs in any other country. In other words this is a flat course where the winds are far more likely to decide the race, just as happened last year. The race site is excellent and gives lots of good information in English including maps, profiles, regulations and schedules, plus links to all sorts of aerial photograph goodies on Google.

Who to watch for? Well with Teutenberg gone, Kirsten Wild is the obvious favourite, especially if she and Lizzie Armitstead can get the leadout right. Over at HTC-Columbia regular leadout woman Chloe Hosking may get a chance for herself if Cantele is trying to keep back something for Wednesday. Lotto too go Aussie for Rochelle Gilmore , Emma Johansson leads her Red Sun team, while Nederland Bloeit bring both of their stars from Drenthe, Loes Gunnewijk and Annemiek van Vleuten. Others who may surprise include Tibco’s Jo Kiesanowski, Australian Carly Light, and (if Nashua bring a team) Cherise Taylor.

Omroep Gelderland seems to be the local tv channel, but I can’t see any substantial coverage scheduled for Saturday. Catching the webstream of the evening sports news may be your best bet. If anyone hears of anything better then let us know below.