Lorena Wiebes walked away from the Tour de France Femmes with a victory on stage 3, but her early departure through illness meant other opportunities slipped through her grasp. So did a tilt at the rainbow jersey at the Road World Championships, where she entered the road race among the favourites but left with a DNF.
Those key targets may have not run to plan but now Wiebes is now even more driven to make a success of the goals that remain, particularly given that includes an opportunity for the top sprinter to defend her European Road Championships title on home soil.
“The Tour and the World Championships were big goals for me,” said Wiebes in an SD Worx media release. ”That I couldn’t get everything out of it due to stomach problems, among other things, doubly motivates me to finish the season strongly now.
“I hope to gain extra confidence in the Tour of Scandinavia, GP Plouay and Simac Ladies Tour to hopefully successfully defend my European jersey at the end of September at VAM Berg.”
The Tour of Scandinavia, with its five stages from August 23-27, will be the first test for Wiebes to see if she has bounced back from illness and can successfully start a build that will continue into the next Women’s WorldTour races, with the one-day GP Plouay on September 3 and Simac Ladies Tour from September 5-10.
“Although it is also a question mark for me how my legs will feel, in the pro criterium of Etten-Leur they felt fresh,” said Wiebes. “In the Tour of Scandinavia, there are a number of sprint opportunities, so I’m hoping for stage wins. Furthermore, this is the perfect race to regain race rhythm and confidence.”
The Women’s WorldTour race covers 570.4km as it works it’s way from Mysen in Norway to Hadersley in Denmark, with a time trial along the way. SD Worx are heading into the event with dual aims as they also have New Zealand’s Niamh Fisher-Black to chase the overall ranking while Wiebes chases stage wins.
There will be no easing into the racing for the Dutch rider as the very first stage from Mysen to Halden offers an opportunity for the sprinter – who last lined up at the event in 2019 – to take her tenth victory of the season.
“I obviously have good memories of my previous participation. This year too, I hope to start right away with a win,” said Wiebes, who won the opening stage to Horton in 2019.
“I know the finish because also in 2019 we finished a stage in Halden,” said Wiebes who finished ninth back then, when the Halden stage delivered the event finale. “In the local lap, we have to cross a short climb twice. I will know immediately how my fitness is. I expect it to be a sprint with a depleted group. It’s somewhat of a tactical finish. Normally that suits me.”