I am a real fan of the Dutch races, they seem really well-organised, and they really love their fans, with race tickers, great websites, interaction via all kinds of social media, and tv coverage on local Dutch tv stations. They really pull out all the stops, and of course, that makes it easy to follow and support them. I already miss the fantastic Raboster Zeeuwsche Eilanden, which sadly had to be cancelled this year, after sponsors pulled out – but tomorrow is the start of one of my top favourites, the Energiewacht Tour. Before I tell you about it, here’s the highlights programme from last year’s race – and make sure you enter the
competition EDIT! TWO competitions! at the bottom of the post!
This is a six-stage race that runs over 5 days, 3rd-7th April 2013, with a junior girls’ stage race alongside the elite women. It’s probably no wonder it’s run so well, as among the organisers, Daniëlle Bekkering is a former pro skater and cyclist, and Thijs Rondhuis has been a Directeur Sportif for Marianne Vos’ DSB Bank team, and helped set up Hitec Products UCK.
The race is in the Groningen province of the Netherlands, so it’s very flat, and to make things more exciting for the General Classification competition, there’s an ITT and intermediate sprint bonifications that add to the overall. Being flat doesn’t make it easy – it’s very, very windy up there, with lots of cobbled roads, and this race is known for the big teams using the wiliest tactics, with echelons everywhere, and teams attacking at the 12km point. It makes for exciting racing to watch, which is lucky, because this one is shown on tv!
There will be short daily tv highlights on the RTL7 station – and these programmes are shown on the channel’s website every day. EDIT! They’ll all be put up here – Voorjaar 2013 is the 2013 version, and Aflevering means “episode”. The full schedule is here on the race website (remember Europe is now on Summer Time) – and they are very, very good at directing us to any other coverage, through the site, their facebook, their youtube and their super-friendly twitter. If you want to follow the racing as it happens on twitter, they’ll help you – or you can also use my race twitter list.
There are race previews, as usual, on Velofocus, on Les Déesses de la Route and on Velorooms. If you want a team perspective, ORICA-AIS have a preview of the Energiewacht Tour (I’m really loving their race previews and reports this year). We have a race thread over on Podium Café, where we’ll add everything we see to the comments, inclusing Monty’s excelent screenshot reports – and I’ve interviewed Lotto Belisol’s rider, and superb blogger, Marijn de Vries, on Energiewacht, how you get position in these races, her 2013, Frozen Eyeballs and lot more. I always like talking to Marijn she tells a great story – click through and read it!
Finally, the race has a great competition open to all of us, with a deadline of 5th April, where you can win a jersey signed by the race winner – you can decide who to wish good luck to using the startlist.
If you win, make sure you let me know!