Cycling worlds: The Dutch forget the chaos of the Olympics

Dutch Eileen van Dijk on her way to victory in the singles time trial of the Cycling World Championships in Bruges, 20 September 2021 DIRK WAEM

Two months after struggling in the Tokyo Olympics, the Dutch women’s team became the favorite part of the cycling world championships on Saturday between Antwerp and Leuven, with four successes in four years.

The leading women’s cycling nation has suffered a masterful setback for its unruly reaction behind Austrian Anna Kissenhofer in Japan. But it resumed its dominance trajectory in the last European Championships (van Dijk win) and then in the time trial for the two worlds last Monday (van Dijk 1, Van Vleuten 3).

In Flanders, the Netherlands participate in a group, half of which have already won the rainbow race one or more times: three times for Marianne Voss, whose last victory dates back to 2013, twice for Anna van der Bregen, who played her last. The season, once for Annemiek van Vleuten, disappointed with her silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.

“Marianne Voss is our best card,” Van Valleuten says, noting her older brother’s antagonistic qualities. But, with the risk of contention again, all the Dutch (Brand, Peters, Van Dyck and Fullering complete the group) have arguments to make in this kind of race.

So their opponents attack a large part of the start of the 157.7 km. Belgium’s Lotte Kubicki (fourth in the Olympics), betting on her speed, Italy’s trident (Balsamo, Bastianelli, Lungo Borghini) or American Corinne Rivera know what awaits them on the track that mixes the coasts of the Flemish circuit with the Leuven final, with a final difficulty (Sint Antoniusberg) at the entrance to the last two kilometers.

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The French, bolstered by Juliette Lapus’ sixth place in the world time test, presented themselves without collectors. “I lost confidence in my last races,” said young Frank Comtoise (22), reassured by her latest performance.

“I prefer taller emperors but I know how to run the kind of courses that require me to be in good shape. We are participating in the Flèche Brabançonne track where I finished sixth after escaping,” adds the young woman. A woman, one of the “Bleues” ancestry that also aligns with the 22-year-old France champion Evita Muzic and the most experienced Audrey Cordon Ragot and Aude Biannic.

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