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Jolien D’hoore “feeling really good” for defence of Madrid Challenge Title

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Jolien D’hoore will start Sunday’s Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, on the streets of central Madrid, wearing number one as last year’s race winner. The 87km race, on the street circuit around the Spanish capital to be used by the final stage of the men’s Vuelta a España hours later, is almost certain to finish in a bunch sprint, where the Belgian Champion will be accompanied by fellow sprinters Giorgia Bronzini and Nettie Edmondson.

“We have a strong team, I think,” D’hoore said. “We have Gio and Nettie, who are also really fast. Emilia [Fahlin] is coming; Elisa [Longo Borghini], and Julie [Leth]. Yeah, we have a lot of good riders, and I think we can do really well in the race on Sunday.”

Despite the flat appearance of the race’s 5.6km circuit and the race’s relatively short distance, compared to most other races in the Women’s WorldTour, the Madrid Challenge is far from an easy race, D’hoore says. The nervous nature of the speeding peloton, as well as the numerous slow corners in every lap, will make the race tough.

“It’s just a crit, but it’s a really hard crit,” D’hoore smiled. “It’s also not super flat; it’s a bit up and down, and a lot of standing starts, so you need to be switched on the whole time; the whole race. So it’s quite tiring, but it’s nice.

“I like it.”

D’hoore travels to Spain, having taken two morale-boosting victories in the last three weeks, in the Tour of Norway and this week’s Lotto Belgium Tour. She was just unable to hold on to the overall race lead on Friday’s tough final stage, over several Flemish climbs and in typical Flemish weather, but her form is exactly where she wants it to be in the approach to the World Championships, in Bergen, Norway, at the end of the month.

“Since this week I’m feeling really good, and the plan was not to actually be great yet, this week,” D’hoore explained. “My form still needs to come, so it’s a good sign that I can have some results when I’m not on top form.

“Also today I was feeling good, so hopefully we can show it again on Sunday,” she added.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Jolien D’hoore (Belgium), Annette Edmondson (Australia), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

 

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