Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dwars door Drenthe, in the Netherlands...

Paris-Nice is taking place in France right now. Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy, is as well. I bet you knew that already. The cycling media covers them, they are the big races taking place in Europe this time of year. But there are less well known races taking place at the same time. One such is the Dwars door Drenthe, or, Ronde van Drenthe if you prefer, which takes place tomorrow, March 9.

Drenthe, if you did not already know, is a province of the Netherlands, located in the northern part of the country. The race itself then, is a sort of one day tour of the province, covering 204.8 kilometers. It is part of the UCI European Tour calendar, with a rating of 1.1

This is only the third year in the history of the race; the 2010 edition was won by Enrico Rossi, and last years race, which was part of the two-stage Ronde van Drenthe with a 2.1 rating, was won by Kenny van Hummel. While most of the sports top riders are busy elsewhere, the Dwars will still field some favorites. By my calculation these include Stefan Schumacher and Angelo Furlan, both of Christina Watches, and both of whom have an extensive palmares lists dating back to 2002 in the case of Schumacher, and 2001 for Furlan. Other favorites to watch for include, American Ben Day, and Aussie Rory Sutherland from the United Healthcare squad, Jan Barta of Team NetApp (if he is there, he is listed on the race start list, but not the list on the team website), Mattias Friedemann of Champion Systems, who cracked the top 20 several times during stages of this years desert Tours in Oman and Qatar, Theo Bos and Graeme Brown of Rabobank, and Kevin Van Impe, winner of the 2009 Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Martin Mortensen, both of Vaconsoleil-DCM. 

Hard to pick one rider out of that group, especially so early in the year, but watch for Van Impe (and not just because he is a son of Frank, and nephew of Lucien). Van Impe has ridden in support of Tom Boonen at Quick Step the past few seasons, but should be energized and ready for a fresh start with his new team. Should any of those more familiar names, or the bigger teams with which they ride, not be up to the test, there are plenty of younger riders looking to make their mark on this young race and in this, still young, 2012 season.

In case you were wondering there is also a women's race in Drenthe, the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo, which is run on the 8th of March, that being today. The women's version does attract the biggest names in cycling - Marianne Vos won last year. 

And as I step back in, I find that I need to update this last bit - Marianne Vos managed a third this year, beaten to the title by Chloe Hosking (Australia, Specialized Lululemon) and Giorgia Bronzini, of Italy, and the current World Road Champion. By they way, if you go to the race website and watch the video recap by Dutch RTV, American rider Carmen Small gets some nice time in the spotlight beginning at about the half way point. She is in a three woman break at this point, which later grows to five riders, before being swept up. 

And the men: Well, one of my picks for the win came out on top - Theo Bos won in his home country, for the home team (Rabobank), over Barry Markus and Daniele Colli.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...