The Energiewacht Tour is always a special race for me. It’s the first European stage race of the season, and the organisers always put on an excellent show, helping us to follow the race as it happens on their fantastic social media, and with tv highlights every day that are streamed without restrictions. This year the elite race is 6 stages over 5 days, from 9th to 13th April, and the junior women’s race is 3 stages, 11th-13th.
It’s definitely Dutch racing – a flat course, but with road furniture, sections of cobbles and wind all the way, and to win, riders and teams have to have superb tactical skills as well as strength and speed. Here are the highlights from last year, to give you an idea of what to expect, and after that I’ll tell you how to follow the race.
What’s the race like?
This race website is one of my favourites, and you can have a look at the whole technical guide.
Stage 1 is 93km, in 4 laps of 23.4km, starting and finishing in Delfzijl, on the River Eems estuary which makes the border between the Netherlands and Germany; Stage 2, 116.1km, 3 laps of 39km; Friday is the two-stage day, with Stage 3a in the morning 97km, 3 laps of 33.3km and the afternoon’s Stage 3b the 15.1km Team Time Trial around a very windy lake, the first chance we’ll get to see how the 2014 teams are shaping up (will Specialized-lululemon be able to continue their TTT domination with their new team line-up?). Stage 4 is the longest, 136.7km, in 4 laps of 34.5km and then the final Stage 5 is 7 laps of 15.1km, 104.7km in total.
There’s a race preview on Velofocus, where you can look up the stages on googlemaps – but just remember, however it looks, the wind will be the biggest obstacle. And if you want to know what it’s like from a rider’s point of view, Loes Gunnewijk has previewed the race on the ORICA_AIS site.
How to follow the race
The race twitter is excellent, and in previous years they’ve tweeted tons of photos and fan-pictures, and have excellent updates – and in addition, there’s my usual twitter-list for race tweeters. And follow the #EWT14 hashtag too, for race updates, and #EWT for general tweets (especially if you talk about it!). We’ll be talking about the race in the Podium Café thread, so look to the comments there for updates as the race happens.
It’s also on tv, with a short highlights show a day after each stage on Dutch tv station RTL7. The tv guide is here – and you might be able to watch it live here. On 10th, 11th and 12th April, the highlights are at 17:45 CEST (4:45pm UK BST; 11:45am USA EDT) and on 13th & 14th they’re earlier, 16:30 CEST. If you miss them, they will be archived, probably here – UPDATE! and are being put onto the Energiewacht Tour Youtube. And another Dutch tv station, RTV Noord, shows highlights of the race too – you’ll find them on their youtube – I’ll be putting them into the comments of the Podium Café thread as I see them, and tweeting them, as well as post-race posting here.
Follow the riders through the race with Pim Siegers’ list of cyclists in the race (Pim runs the social media, he’s superb!) – you can see the startlist here. The junior startlist is here (play the “spot the little sister” game!) and there will be all kinds of stuff on facebook and the race youtube.
I’ll put up a post with videos, photos and blogs after the race – but I recommend this one highly…. if we’re really lucky, we’ll see more riders fall in canals! Happy days….