Last week was jam-packed with racing with half the team in Spain, taking part in a sponsor training camp as well as racing the Women’s Clasica de Almería. Meanwhile the other half were in Dubai for 4 days of racing in the UAE Tour.
A strong 10th place for Sylvie Swinkels in Clasica de Almería
(Pictured from L to R: L Soland, S Haugset, T Jørgensen, J Roberts, S Swinkels)
The race in Almería consisted of a 140km route, leading to a tough day for the peloton battling constant strong head and crosswinds. The team was reduced to 3 riders due to sickness, with Jørgensen and Soland having to abandon. This left 3 riders to work together for a strong result. Haugset made it her goal to bring Jess and Sylvie as far forward as possible before the long finishing straight, which she achieved. Roberts proved a strong ally to Swinkels, leading her out to the finish, where they finished 10th and 16th place. A very strong result after a long day out with a reduced team.
Lots of crosswind action and hard racing in UAE
Stage 1 consisted of a flat stage in downtown Dubai. The team worked very well together, avoiding the multiple crashes throughout the stage. Mari Mohr sprinted to 14th place, and Nora Tveit also finished in the top 20, a satisfying start to the race for the team.
Stage 2: Al Dhafra Castle to Al Mirfa Harbour
With extreme crosswinds from the start, the peloton split into 4 groups. Mari Mohr, India Grangier and Emma Boogaard were positioned towards the front towards the end of the race but unfortunately in the sprint were too far back to reach a satisfying result. However, there were still some hopes for the GC with Mari Mohr and new riders India Grangier.
Stage 3: Hazza bin Zayed Stadium – Jebel Hafeet
A day for the climbers with a 107 km long stage on the menu that ended with an 11 km climb, averaging at 7%. However, the team had to battle with the crosswinds yet again before reaching the final climb. The peloton split after 50 km and didn’t come back together. The team did very well to keep Mari and India out of danger so they could start the climb in the first group. Mari lasted longest in the first group, but ended in a small group behind. She eventually dropped her group and finished alone between these groups in an impressive 28th place.
(Pictured: Mari Mohr)
Stage 4: Abu Dhabi
The last stage was flat and in downtown Abu Dhabi, again a flat stage, but without wind, meaning the plan mostly was to keep Mari and India out of trouble. The team sprinted for Josie Nelson, who managed a 20th place amongst tough competition. Overall, the team was satisfied with their performance and to maintain a good position in the World Tour rankings after 3 races so far this season.
Catch the team next at the Craywinckelhof Omloop van het Hageland on the 26th of February!