Although Cloé Dygert outgunned Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten in Tuesday’s time trial, the Dutch are still dominant in women’s cycling. So all eyes will be on orange squad. In recent years, Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten have been the ‘poster girls’ of the Dutch, but their predecessor Marianne Vos is back to her best self. She won the road race at the Worlds in 2006, 2012 and 2013 and after a few years with injuries she seems to be better than ever. She won four stages on the Giro Rosa and continued her winning streak in La Course, the Ladies Tour of Norway (GC and three stages) and the Tour de l’Ardèche (GC and five stages). Moreover, the lumpy course in Yorkshire suits her characteristics.
Possible, the biggest opponents of the Dutch are the Dutch themselves. World and Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen, Giro Rosa winner Annemiek van Vleuten, European champion Amy Pieters, former World Champion Chantal Blaak, and Lucinda Brand – all these riders would be the leader for most countries. Are they willing to work together as a team?
Looking at the results in the hilly races of 2019, Van Vleuten stands out a little. She won the Strade Bianche, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giros Rosa’s GC, while Van der Breggen pocketed yet another win in La Flèche Wallonne (her fifth), Vos won La Course, Niewiadoma the Amstel Gold Race and Longo Borghini the Emakumeen Bira stage race trough the Basque Country.
A sprint of a select group is a likely scenario in Harrogate. Vos is a rider with fast legs, especially at the end of a hard race. Which will undoubtedly be the case in Yorkshire.
Favourites World Championships Road Race women
*** Marianne Vos, Elisa Longo Borghini, Kasia Niewiadoma
** Lucinda Brand, Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Coryn Rivera
* Lizzie Deignan, Katie Hall, Ashleigh Moolman, Lucy Kennedy, Chantal Blaak, Amanda Spratt