HTC-Columbia women optimistic about Flanders title defense
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HTC-Columbia women optimistic about Flanders title defense

by VeloNation Press at 7:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Flanders

The HTC-Columbia women's team is ready to go for their third consecutive Tour of Flanders victory this coming Sunday in Belgium.  Judith Arndt and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg took home the honors in 2008 and 2009 respectively, and after a strong start to the season in the US, they have shown themselves in a position to repeat.

The 119.3 kilometer race is rated as the toughest Classic in women's cycling, with the World Cup race featuring nine steep cobbled climbs that are often complicated by the presence of poor weather.  Arndt was forced to miss last year's race after breaking her collarbone, but returns this April to join Teutenberg and newcomer Noemi Cantele for an exceptionally strong HTC-Columbia line-up.

"I think I'm in good shape and I'm feeling pretty confident, even if you're always a bit nervous about your first big European race of the season," Teutenberg said.  With six wins already this season in the USA, the HTC-Columbia pro says so far her year has been a success.

"The fields were more competitive than last year, but the races went well all the same, which is a good sign.  With Judith back and also Noemi [Cantele], we've got a very strong lineup for Flanders, and we're ready for all kinds of different situations, too.  Flanders is a race which you take kilometre by kilometre.  You have to see what kind of weather there is, because Flanders is so difficult and the weather changes things a lot."

HTC-Columbia sports director Ronny Lauke thinks the team is ready for success, and doesn't think the pressure of defending the title will make things any different.

"We're definitely in the position of being the favorites with our line-up, and since we've won it two years in a row, even more so," said Lauke.  "I don't think that makes it more complicated.  Having so many good riders just gives us more options and makes it more difficult for the other teams to figure out who we are going to be racing for.  That's an advantage.  In any case, our goal remains the same - we want to win Flanders for a third consecutive year."

HTC-Columbia women's team for Tour of Flanders: Judith Arndt (Ger); Noemi Cantele (Ita); Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger); Ellen Van Dijk (Hol) ; Linda Villumsen (NZ),  Adrie Visser (Hol).


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