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Lisa Brennauer: “We have more than only one option” in the Tour of Flanders

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling starts Sunday’s Tour of Flanders – the Ronde van Vlaanderen – with a number of cards to play, despite being without 2015 race winner Elisa Longo Borghini. The Italian Champion has been suffering with ‘flu since Gent-Wevelgem, so will miss the race for the first time since her debut in 2011, but the black and orange team will still have plenty of options in the Classic Flemish race.

“Of course we will miss Elisa, her experience in this race, and her strength, but we can still bring a good line up,” explained Lisa Brennauer. “I think we’re a pretty strong group anyway, and we are all excited about this race.

“The girls did a recon, which I had to miss because I’ve had a bit of a cold, but I will be able to get out and check out some roads.”

Brennauer has shown excellent form in recent weeks, finishing fifth in the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde against some of the best sprinters in the World, and working hard for teammate Kirsten Wild in both the Ronde van Drenthe and Gent-Wevelgem. Despite never having achieved a big result in the Tour of Flanders, the former World Time Trial Champion’s characteristics mean that she hopes to do well this weekend.

“I’ve never been in the very front but I feel like my form is good, and I’ve been good in the first races so far,” she explained. “It’s also for me really exciting to see how far I can get on Sunday, and of course I will give my best.

“I also saw Audrey [Cordon-Ragot] doing well on the climbs, and she was also doing well in positioning, so I think she will also be a key rider in Sunday’s race.”

As well as the powerful attacking styles of riders like Brennauer and Cordon-Ragot, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s sprinter Kirsten Wild will also be eying a big result on Sunday, particularly with the 2017 race having finished in a what was effectively a bunch sprint.

The 35-year-old Dutchwoman, who has three times finished on the Tour of Flanders podium, is still full of confidence following the World Track Championships, in Apeldoorn, in March, where she took an incredible three rainbow jerseys.

“I think in the end we have more than only one option, and more than only one card to play,” Brennauer confirmed. “Obviously, Kirsten has made a huge step over the winter, and she’s going really well over the climbs. I think the race can also suit her, with the form that she’s shown in the past weeks, and she’s maybe still on a bit of a cloud from the World Championships!

“So I think we have more cards to play than only sitting an waiting to see what happens. I think Kirsten can really good be in this race. If she has a good day, I think why not, she’s been really strong in the races I’ve been with her.”

Alongside Brennauer, Cordon-Ragot and Wild will be Japanese Champion Eri Yonamine, who has impressed in recent races, in what is only her second ever Classics campaign. The black and orange team will be completed by the Scandinavian power of former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin and former Danish Champion Julie Leth.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Ronde van Vlaanderen
Lisa Brennauer (Germany), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark), Kirsten Wild (Netherlands), Eri Yonamine (Japan)

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