Which Dutch rider wins?



A real power course is on offer to the rouleurs at this year’s World Championsh­ips in Flanders, heading inland from Knokke-Heist to Bruges. It is a race that has been dominated by the Dutch in recent years, with just three medals going to non-Netherland­s riders since 2017, out of 12. It will be Anna van der Breggen’s final chance to win a second world title, with her retirement coming up quickly, and she will be challenged, as always, by the new Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten.

Wind could be a big factor on the largely flat course, with the organisers noting that there are trees that grow diagonally in the region after being knocked sideways by the wind. No echelons in a time trial, however, so it might be one of the days on which the race is dictated by the time of day that riders set out on the course, as opposed to legs alone. Judging by the results at the Olympics, it should be the familiar favourites: Van Vleuten, Marlen Reusser, Van der Breggen, Grace Brown, Lisa Brennauer, Chloe Dygert and others. However, perhaps a Flemish rider might succeed on home roads.

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