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The Tour de Suisse Women, launched only in 2021, is facing uncertainty regarding its future. Despite financial losses, the organisers are aiming to stage the race this year. Swiss Cycling has been a financial supporter of the event, but the costs of running the race have increased. One challenge the organisers highlight is the lack of prominent cycling stars in Switzerland beyond Marlen Reusser. Without recognisable figures to attract younger riders, the growth and sustainability of women’s cycling in the country isn’t as strong as it could be. Swiss Cycling has initiated the “Fast & Female” program to address this issue.

The men’s Tour of Britain will be cut to six stages in 2024 in order to lay the foundations for full parity with its women’s equivalent in the years ahead. British Cycling aims to increase the Women’s Tour of Britain to six stages in 2025. British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton confirmed the details “We’ve taken the decision to run the 2024 edition of the Tour of Britain Men over six days rather than the current eight, and we intend to seek permission from the UCI to extend the Women’s Tour of Britain to six days from 2025.”

American rider Lily Williams has signed a contract extension with Human Powered Health through 2026. Third in Danilith Nokere Koerse and a crucial pilot in the team’s lead-out train, Williams has had a strong spring and is looking forward to further growth as the team goes from strength to strength. Alongside her achievements on the road, Williams has been an anchor in the USA team pursuit squad, winning the world championships and an Olympic bronze medal during her time on the team.

At Pays de La Loir, Michaela Drummond of Arkea – B&B Hotels took the win but the emergence of Bodine Vollering as a contender is also worth noting. Bodine is the younger sister of Demi Vollering. Her achievement of securing her best UCI result with a fourth-place finish demonstrates her potential and talent in the sport, especially considering she is only 20 years old and is balancing her cycling career riding for an U23 development team with university studies.

Marlen Reusser of Team SD Worx-Protime had to abandon the Tour of Flanders following an early race crash, resulting in a fracture to her jawbone, damage to both auditory canals and several teeth. She underwent surgery at a hospital in Switzerland and we wish her all the best.

Lizzie Deignan of Lidl-Trek sustained a fracture to the radial head of her right arm in the same crash and had to leave the race. Lizzie Deignan’s broken arm at Tour of Flanders was the first fracture in her cycling career. She explained on her Instagram: ”I am lucky enough to say that after 15 years as a pro this is my first broken bone.“

Ava Holmgren of Lidl-Trek crashed on Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs, 30 km out from the finish and was not able to complete the race. Fortunately, the Canadian rider didn’t suffer any fractures but required stitches and had mild concussion. We wish her well for a complete recovery.

For Nicole Steigenga, who rode for AG Insurance-Soudal Team, watching the Tour of Flanders this year was rather emotional. On 28 February 2023, during Le Samyn, things went completely wrong for the Dutch rider. In her attempt to avoid a fall, she hit a curb, propelling her headfirst into a lamppost. The impact left her with concussion. The road to recovery proved to be arduous and protracted. While she managed to return to riding for brief training sessions, the prospect of competitive racing is still a long way off. Despite all that, the young Dutch rider hasn’t given up hope she will improve and be able to race again, particularly The Tour of Flanders. We extend our best wishes for her recovery.

La Vuelta Femenina by Carrefour will feature a team time trial this year, the only TTT in the women’s WorldTour this season.

The MTB World Series, which runs from April through to October, has six new venues and travels to 10 different countries for 15 weekends of racing. The opening round is held in Mairipora, Brazil, between 12 and 14 April.

 

Results

Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift: Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx-Protime) ahead of Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) and Pfeiffer Georgi (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL)

Ronde de Mouscron: Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health) ahead of Anniina Ahtosalo (UNO-X Mobility) and Martina Fidanza (CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling Team)

Scheldeprijs: Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx-Protime) ahead of Charlotte Kool (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Martina Fidanza (CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling Team)

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

Get the inside scoop on all the twists and turns of the Dutch bergs as the peloton gears up for an epic showdown at Amstel Gold Race. We dissect the course, strategies and contenders shaping the race, with profiles from Veloviewer. Check out our race preview here.

 

This week in cycling history

Monique Knol

The renowned Dutch rider celebrated her 57th birthday on 31 March. Her journey through the world of sports is indeed a remarkable one, filled with achievements and transitions that have left a lasting impact on cycling and equestrian sports alike. From her humble beginnings to her stellar performances on the Olympic stage, Knol’s story is one of determination, resilience, and versatility. Her early aspirations in skating might have faced obstacles, and she switched over to racing bikes. Her crowning moment came at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, where she won the gold medal in the road race, showcasing her exceptional talent and determination. Following that triumph, Knol continued to make her mark on the cycling world, as evidenced by her bronze medal win at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Beyond her Olympic successes, Knol’s career was studded with victories in numerous one-day and stage races, highlighting her consistency and dominance in the sport. Knol’s foray into dressage competitions later in her career demonstrated her versatility and passion for equestrian sports, showcasing her talent and dedication in yet another discipline. Her decision to transition into a trainer and team manager role after retiring from competitive cycling also speaks volumes about her commitment to nurturing the next generation of cyclists and sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience with others.

 

Daphny van den Brand

Van den Brand has left an indelible mark on the world of cycling through her remarkable achievements and tireless advocacy for women’s participation in the sport. Born on 6 April 1978, she began her cycling journey at the age of eight, initially focusing on road cycling before expanding her repertoire to include mountain biking and cyclo-cross. In cyclo-cross, she achieved unparalleled success, taking out eight national championships and clinching the cyclo-cross world championship title in 2003. Her dominance extended to the international stage, where she secured four world bronze medals, a silver at the European Championships in 2005, and a gold at the Cyclocross European Championships in 2006. In mountain biking, van den Brand continued to succeed, earning a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal in national championships between 2001 and 2003, further solidifying her reputation as one of the best riders of her time. Beyond her achievements on the bike, she has also emerged as an advocate for women’s participation and recognition in cyclocross. Her efforts played a pivotal role in pressuring organisations like the UCI to provide women with more opportunities, including the establishment of the women’s inaugural World Championships in 2000. She also campaigned for increased pay for female cyclists, advocating for equitable start money and prize money. Even in her retirement after 25 years in the sport, she remains connected to the cycling, channelling her passion and expertise into various initiatives. From conducting cycling clinics to offering training sessions and organising cycling tour experiences, she continues to inspire and empower the next generation of riders.

 

WorldTour highlight videos

Catch up on all the action from the latest World Tour races. Watch the Ronde van Vlaanderen highlights here.

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