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Last Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen witnessed unexpected twists and turns that impacted the dynamics of the competition. An incident ahead of the peloton during the men’s race prompted an unforeseen mid-race stop, leading to a 25-minute delay for the riders. In the wake of this disruption, the race’s route underwent alterations, with the Knokteberg and Hotond climbs being removed from the itinerary, reshaping the strategic landscape for participants.

Another milestone has been reached by Marianne Vos, who outsprinted Shirin van Anroij at Dwars door Vlaanderen to win the race. The Visma-Lease a Bike rider had never won this event before, but took victory during her second attempt, and thereby secured her 250th career victory, an amazing accomplishment.

Rumors and speculations have been swirling around the future of Demi Vollering with Team SD Worx – Protime, prompting much discussion within the cycling community. Addressing these speculations, Team Manager Erwin Janssen reiterated that he wanted to keep both Kopecky and Vollering and has since released an official statement shedding light on the matter: “We made Demi Vollering a generous offer and indicated that this should be responded to before a certain date. Vollering’s management did not respond to this. Therefore, we assume that Vollering will leave the team at the end of the year.” Janssen confirmed that the team are still completely committed to supporting Vollering in the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, but admitted that the situation was delicate.

Unfortunately, Fem van Empel’s return to racing has been delayed and she was not ready to start at Gent – Wevelgem last Sunday. We wish her well in her recovery!

Mareille Meijering will remain with Movistar team until December 2027. After a difficult first year in the WWT in 2023, the Dutch rider bounced back and put in some impressive performances in the first part of 2024. The overall winner at the Vuelta a Extremadura, as well as the queen stage in Guadalupe, Meijering shone at the recent Trofeo Binda and finished 9th against the WorldTour’s best climbers atop Jebel Hafeet at the UAE Tour.

Former Paris Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift winner Elisa Longo Borghini will not take to the start at the French race this year as she is focusing on Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Although the Italian rider has been on the podium at Liège and Flèche, she never won any of the three Ardennes Classics and aims to change this in 2024.

Swiss rider Marlen Reusser, who won last year’s edition of Gent-Wevelgem, was disqualified from this year’s edition for riding on a bike path. She used the path to move up in the field with less than 3 km to go when it separated from the road. Although she finished in the front group, she was later relegated and struck from the results.

Ford RideLondon had intentions to add a day to its schedule for this year’s edition. However, uncertainties surrounding the scheduling and continuation of the women’s Tour of Britain in late 2023 hindered these plans. Despite reluctance from British Cycling and the UCI to alter the calendar for this year, organisers are aiming to implement their proposed changes in 2025.

Race director Bruce Dunn has confirmed that the Joe Martin Stage Race, the longest-held stage race in the U.S.A., will not be held in 2024. After 46 years of amateur stage racing, 21 years on the USA Cycling professional calendar, and nine years on the UCI international calendar, the organisers had to make the very difficult decision to cancel the 2024 event due to the rising costs of producing a multi-day stage race coupled with limited corporate and stakeholder sponsorship and funding. Previous winners include Lauren Stephens, Coryn Labecki, Ruth Winder and Chloe Dygert.

Twelve UCI Women’s WorldTeams will line up at the fourth edition of the Tour de Suisse Women on 15 June in Villars-sur-Ollon. Joining them are seven UCI Women’s Continental Teams plus the Swiss Cycling National Team.

Puck Pieterse made her Tour of Flanders debut yesterday in only her tenth senior race on the road. Although she achieved some impressive results on the road so far, the multi-discipline Dutch rider will now switch over to MTB. Pieterse’s journey highlights the diversity within cycling and the potential for riders to excel across different formats of the sport.

Exciting times are ahead for Australian cycling, as the ProVelo Super League gears up to launch in 2025. The League will condense the racing action into a thrilling 10 – 12 week block. Each week kicks off with a criterium on Friday, followed by a double stage day on Saturday, culminating in the queen stage on Sunday. The league will have the backing of renowned Australian cycling sponsor Gerry Ryan, who currently supports Jayco-AlUla and Liv AlUla Jayco.

AG Insurance, Belgium’s largest insurer, has strengthened its commitment to women’s cycling. In addition to being the main sponsor, AG Insurance now also becomes the main shareholder of AG Insurance-Soudal with 76 per cent of shares. Decolef, the company behind professional men’s team Soudal Quick-Step, retains 24 per cent of the shares. AG Insurance aims to have more impact on the further development of the team and on the increasing professionalisation of the sport in general.

The 2024 UCI Gravel World Championships race course has now been revealed, with the elite women’s field tackling 133km of which gravel, cobblestones, and unpaved surfaces make up 56 per cent of the route as well as 1,000m of pitchy climbing. Amateur riders can qualify by finishing in the top 25 per cent at one of the 25 events on the Trek UCI Gravel World Series during the year. For the elite race, national cycling federations are given 20 spaces for their best male and female elite racers.

For the very first time, the future stars of cycling – all Junior 17/18 and U23 riders – will share the stage with the pros this year at the 2024 Pro Road National Championships from 14 to 19 May in Charleston, U.S.A. The competitions will include the individual time trial, criterium, and road race disciplines and will serve as a qualifying event for the U.S. Olympic Team in 2024 and 2028.

A fantastic initiative by Cycling Ireland to promote women’s participation in cycling has been launched. Encouraging female-focused events during Bike Week 2024 in May is a great way to create a more inclusive and diverse cycling community. If you’re a club, ride leader, or event organiser interested in participating, you’ll not only contribute to the growth of women’s cycling but also have a chance to win a €600 prize.

 

Results

Ronde van Vlaanderen: Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) ahead of Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek)

Dwars door Vlaanderen: Marianne Vos (Visma – Lease a Bike) ahead of Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek) and Letizia Paternoster (Liv AlUla Jayco)

Zwift Blog

In Sarah Gigante’s exclusive blog, she shares her experience of settling back into European life. The Australian rider has made some big changes, and looks forward with excitement to the season ahead. Read all about it right here!

 

Race Preview

Gear up for the ultimate showdown on the cobbles! Our race preview reveals the twists and turns of Paris – Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, from Veloviewer’s insights into the gruelling route to our predictions and top contenders. The cobbles are daunting, the competition is fierce… it’s L’Enfer du Nord! Check it out here.

 

This week in cycling history

Rebecca Twigg

American rider Rebecca Twigg, born on 26 March 1963 in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a renowned figure in the world of cycling. Her journey in competitive cycling began during her teenage years, where she quickly rose to prominence, taking her first national championship title at the young age of 18. Just a year later, she secured her first world title, marking the onset of a remarkable career. Throughout her illustrious tenure in the sport, Twigg has amassed an impressive array of accolades, including six world championship titles in the 3,000m individual pursuit. Additionally, she boasts an impressive tally of 16 national championship titles in the United States and has taken two Olympic medals, solidifying her status as one of the most decorated cyclists in history, particularly in the world of track cycling. Despite her remarkable success, her journey has not been without its challenges. Following her graduation with a degree in computer science, she ventured into a career of programming. However, the transition from the realm of professional sports to an alternative career path proved to be daunting, compounded by the battles she faced with mental illness. Her struggles with mental health issues led to periods of homelessness and a lack of adequate support. Despite these hardships, she has displayed resilience and perseverance, refusing to accept governmental assistance while advocating for the provision of more affordable housing.

 

WorldTour highlight videos

Catch up on all the action from the latest World Tour races. Watch the Gent-Wevelgem highlights here!

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