Pieter Weening with the form to surprise in Dutch national road race
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pieter Weening with the form to surprise in Dutch national road race

by Kyle Moore at 5:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, National Championships
 
Orica-GreenEdge transfer remains understated and under the radar

Pieter WeeningHe has relatively few race days so far during the 2012 season, with his season start not occurring until April, but Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) has hit the ground running on his new Australian squad. He will contest the Dutch road race championships on Sunday with fewer trade team-mates than he had during his years with Rabobank, but with more of an opportunity to take his own chances.

Weening already has three solid stage race results to his name this season, albeit with no wins, though he could be building to one of the biggest of his career. He was 19th in the Tour de Romandie, 13th in the Tour of California, and 11th in the Critérium du Dauphiné after climbing with the favourites in the latter race.

The Dutchman hasn’t raced since the Dauphiné concluded two weeks ago, building toward the Tour de France. Freshness should be a factor, but so could be inexperience at racing at such a high level.

“Whether or not I can still improve, I can hardly say,” Weening said according to De Telegraaf. “In the Dauphiné I saw myself improve, but I find it difficult on the basis of training to indicate whether or not I have made another step. The Tour will tell. Although you have to consider that men like Evans and Wiggins certainly will put in that next step.”

Before the Tour de France, Weening seems to have his best ever chance at the Dutch national road race title. Rabobank enters the race with 17 riders, and while they have the advantage in numbers, a rider such as Weening would rarely get his own chance in the race. At Orica-GreenEdge, and with just Sebastian Langeveld and Jens Mouris for team-mates, Weening could be the featured rider.

“You must be in between the big teams with the tactics trying to drive the pace,” Weening added. “Some guys adjust their pace based on a certain rider. I certainly do not. I ride purely on my feelings.”

With the Olympics and the World Championships coming later in the summer, Weening says he will not be influenced by pressure to be chosen in a loaded Dutch field, even on his current upward trajectory.

“I ride to win,” he emphasized. “I’m not riding a race for a future selection.”

It will take a Dutchman on flying form, perhaps Weening, to conquer the 228km course in Kerkrade on Sunday. The 10.3-kilometer course is extremely lumpy, with four individual climbs on the circuit, with gradients touching 20 percent in places. It is an uphill finish as well, meaning that defending Dutch champion and sprinter Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) will likely be on the back foot.

The Kerkrade course will most likely suit the climber and Classics rider who showed improving signs in the stage racing of the past two weeks – Weening along with a large number of others.


National Road Race Championships of The Netherlands (Kerkrade, 228km) – Notable Starters:

2 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM)
8 Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM)
18 Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
22 Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)
28 Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda)
31 Michel Kreder (Garmin-Barracuda)
35 Joost Van Leijen (Lotto-Belisol)
37 Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
39 Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank)
40 Roy Curvers (Argos-Shimano)
42 Koen De Kort (Argos-Shimano)
49 Bobbie Traksel (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony)
53 Stefan Van Dijk (Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s)
55 Kai Reus (UnitedHealthcare)
56 Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare)
71 Dion Beukeboom (Cyclingteam De Rijke)

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