Women's cycling has made a big evolution the last couple of years. This season our Young Wolf Shari Bossuyt will make her debut for her new team Canyon//SRAM Racing. We had a chat with Shari about the changes in women's Classics races.
It's not a surprise Shari is happy with the evolution of women's cycling in recent years. "We get way more media attention. A lot of our races are covered on television and I think that number will keep on growing. That's good to see." Not only the number of women's races on television is growing, the number of racing kilometers increases as well. "That's not necessarily a bad thing. The races are getting harder and harder. Our Tour of Flanders will be a 170 km race. It will make the race harder for us and the audience will be able to enjoy it a little longer on television."
A lot of Classics will look a little different this season. Belgian organizer Flanders Classics decided to change the parcours of two of its women's races. During Tour of Flanders the peloton will have to conquer Koppenberg for the first time and during Gent-Wevelgem the women will ride through De Moeren. On top of that, they'll climb the steepest side of Kemmelberg (max. gradient of 21%) in the latter. With three ascents of Mur de Huy also La Flèche Wallonne will be harder.
"I think those changes might lock up the race for a longer time as the races will be longer and harder. Before this season the races were shorter, which caused a spectacular way of racing from the very beginning. Now the big guns will wait a bit longer before they make their decisive move. That may look a bit more boring on television, but it's actually the normal way of racing. No one will make big moves knowing that there's still 170 kilometers of racing left."
During Gent-Wevelgem the women's peloton will ride through De Moeren this season, famous for it's windy circumstances. "It doesn't scare me. Actually I think that section might be an advantage for me. I like forcing an echelon, De Moeren are the perfect place to do so. I look forward to it!"