Kasia Niewiadoma ended last year without a victory, but some alterations to the Canyon-SRAM rider’s lead-in training programme could make the difference at her targeted season openers, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 25 and Strade Bianche on March 4.
“My pre-season was pleasantly steady and went according to plan. I didn’t have to deal with any obstacles, so I had a secure and confident preparation for the season,” Niewiadoma said.
“I made small changes compared to previous years, combining more riding and strength work, and put some focus on areas such as sprints and time trial power output.”
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Newly upgraded to the Women’s WorldTour this year, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad upholds its tradition of kicking off the Spring Classics during ‘opening weekend’.
Canyon-SRAM have announced a roster that includes Shari Bossuyt, Elise Chabbey, Soraya Paladin, and new to the team Alice Towers and Maike van der Duin.
“I’m excited for the coming weekend—the season opener for me but also my first race with the team. We have a strong team and are ready to fight,” Van der Duin said.
This year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is routed from Ghent to Ninove and is longer than previous editions at 132.2km. The route boasts five cobblestone sections and eight climbs, with the penultimate ascents; Muur-Kappelmuur followed by Bosberg and then a ten-kilometre run-in to the finish line in Ninove.
It is a perfect course for the punchy, opportunistic riders like Niewiadoma, who are willing to take risks to win the Spring Classics’ opener.
“I like to get into Classics mode from the beginning of the year. I prefer training specifically for the Classics, where aggressive short accelerations are key. I know the parcours of Omloop well, and that experience makes it easy to restart the season in Belgium,” Niewiadoma said.
Following her season debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Niewiadoma will travel to Italy to compete at Strade Bianche, a race she has finished four times on the podium but has never won.
“Strade Bianche is one of my first objectives of the year, but I aim to perform in every race I appear,” she said of her season goals.
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