The Netherlands have won the honor to present a route this year.
Flat and open terrain in the first 100 km more or less. Then, the riders move onto a circuit which has two short climbs.
Here you have the circuit. They do both climbs seven times. This is the same circuit we had in 2022 Dutch Nationals.
The finale has some short and steep climbs. The first is 500m at 5.9%, the second 300m at 8.2%.
They race from 12:15 – 17:00 more or less. It doesn’t look like the wind will play a big role. As the wind blows from the south, it means they have a headwind more or less until the laps. A colder day, 15-17 degrees C but it should stay dry.
How will the race unfold?
Championships like these are difficult to predict. In terms of how I think it will happen, I think too many riders will be fresh when they enter the circuit. As teams smash it up the climbs here, perhaps with three or two laps to go, we see a group go off the line. But, 429 climbing meters. It should be controllable. As the wind doesn’t seem to favor echelons either, my first thought is a sprint.
Belgium has the best team by far, how do they play this? With De Lie being an absolute monster on a circuit like this, and Wout van Aerts class to follow moves, they can shut most things down. Denmark has their best option in Mads Pedersen and France in Laporte. That covers the three best teams here. The home team from Netherlands know the course, some of them will have ridden it a lot of times, knowing every inch of it. Their best option is Olav Kooij too in a sprint.
De Lie – I think he is the best at this discipline starting here. The finale reminds me of the Tour de Bességes stage 1 finale where he smoked M. Pedersen and Cosnefroy. I see him as the man to beat.
Wout van Aert – I hope to see him work for himself and the team. Following moves and contributing as little as possible to them. If the move is good, by that I mean riders he can confidently take to the line, I say go for it. Even then, it doesn’t matter as 90% of Twitter will find his performance or result bad tomorrow anyway.
M. Pedersen – best Danish option. He was spent in Deutschland Tour. Has he recovered? I think he has.
Laporte – French option. He will pray for an open race, he won’t beat the pure sprinters.
Kooij – fastest rider here in a flat sprint. As the amount of climbing tomorrow is slim, he stands a good chance at having enough left in the legs to challenge for the sprint.
Trentin – always good in a race where you can win metal.
Who will win?
I will take a win for De Lie.