Following the completion of Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy this past weekend, Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank headed to Holland to prepare for the upcoming Dutch races. On Saturday, they will compete in the second round of the UCI Women’s World Cup, Ronde van Drenthe and on Sunday, the UCI 1.2 rated Drentse Acht van Westerveld.
The terrain for both routes is very typical for the area, narrow country roads with many twists and turns. Numerous cobbled sections could become treacherous if the wet weather the team has been experiencing continues.
The terrain is mostly flat but both races ascend the VAM-Berg, the famous 500 meter climb up a man-made hill. Although it is quite short, the climb has gradients in excess of 20%. In the 146 kilometre Women’s World Tour route the riders make their way up the hill three times, while in the 143 kilometre Drentse Acht race the next day, the hill is climbed twice. Winning attacks have been made on the final climb on more than one occasion in previous editions of the race.
Sports Director Ed Beamon commented: "Ronde van Drenthe is a classic Dutch race with plenty of character. The cobble sections are extremely tough regardless of weather conditions, and the narrow roads and open stretches make wind conditions a serious factor. Positioning will be everything, especially as the riders approach the VAM-Berg, so I am happy we have a few days to recon the course as well as acclimatize to the cold, damp conditions."
Team TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank roster:
Ingrid Drexel (MEX)
Heather Fischer (USA)
Kathrin Hammes (GER)
Lauren Stephens (USA)
Jennifer Tetrick (USA)
Brianna Walle (USA)
Race technical guide: http://www.rondevandrenthe.nl/bestanden/documenten/documenten%202016/375-technische-gids-2016-dames-lr.pdf
Main Image: Brianna Walle on the cobbles in Belgium, 2016 . Image: Anton Vos