By Owen Rogers
Multiple World Champion, Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) will return to road racing this weekend in the Netherlands. Vos will start the Ronde van Gelderland this Sunday, her first road race since last year’s world championships in Spain, where she finished 10th, her lowest ever placing.
The 27 year old Dutch woman has recovered from a hamstring injury which saw her miss the start of the road season, including the first three rounds of the World Cup. The injury initially manifested itself during the cyclo-cross season, bringing a premature end to her season and doubtless influenced the loss of the rainbow jersey she held since 2009. That transferred to trade team mate, and road world champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot.
Sunday’s race, a UCI 1.2 event based around the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, is largely flat and a relatively stress free comeback for the three-time world road champion.
“It was a matter of finding the right moment to start with a race which is not too hard,” Rabo-Liv team manager Koos Moerenhout told CW. “The plan is to start not easy, but in control, so this is a good way for her to start her season.”
Credit: Andy Jones
Marianne Vos looks certain to miss Strade Bianche due to lingering injury
Vos, however, will not compete at next week’s World Cup race, Flèche Wallonne in Belgium. Despite having won the event on four previous occasions, it was deemed a step too far in her recovery.
“At Flèche Wallonne all eyes will be pointed towards her and I don’t think that is a smart thing to start with,” Moerenhout added. “Of course the race itself is quite hard and it’s better to start a bit more relaxed.”
Instead, the Dutch woman will race the Festival Elsy Jacobs, a three day event in Luxembourg at the start of May, before competing in the Marianne Vos Classic the following week.
In a bid to qualify for next year’s Olympics, May will see the 2012 road champion race MTB World Cup events in Germany and the Czech republic. These will not be her first off road races of the season, however, having won the PaasBIke Nieuwkuijk in the Netherlands earlier this month.
This event followed a period of recovery and training in Tuscany and suggests her preparations could be on track for another successful year. Despite losing both her world titles - to Ferrand-Prevot the same woman - Vos chalked up 22 wins on the road in 2014, though her injury could be a warning that her multi-discipline approach is taking its toll.
A Different Approach For Rabo-Liv
Instead of Vos at next week’s Flèche Wallonne, her Dutch team will ride for countrywoman Anna van der Breggen and world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot.
The event was the French rider’s first win of an extraordinary 2014, which she capped by winning the world championships in Ponferrada. This year she will wear the rainbow jersey on a revised course, the extra climb in the final 10km playing into her hands.
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