Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
In addition to Coryn Labecki, Team Jumbo-Visma Women has expanded its squad with two young riders: German Linda Riedmann (18) and Swiss Noemi Ruëgg (20). They cycle very hard, climb well and won several national titles in the junior category. Soon they will make their debut in the Volta Comunitat Valenciana Femines and they are looking forward to it.
"The Tour of Valencia is a wonderful race to start with", says Riedmann. "You have a couple of days to get into it. There is something for everyone: flat stages and stages with climbs. It's an ideal race for us to get used to the speed of this peloton."
"It will be very different for us than last year anyway", adds Ruëgg. "It would be nice if we can contribute to a nice team result."
The Tour of Valencia kicks off with a 114 kilometer ride that goes from Tavernes de la Valldigna to Gandia. Lovers of short, steep climbs will be in for a treat on day two with a 117 km ride from Altea to Cocentaina. Day 3 is the queen stage. Then it goes up and down for 135 kilometers with several climbs from Vila-Real to Vistabella del Maestrat. The final day, it is sprint day in a 118-kilometer stage from Sagunt to Valencia.
"There is no pressure on us", continues Riedmann. "From the beginning, we were told that we can grow quietly and discover our potential. Everything will go step by step. That's why I had no fear of switching to a WorldTour team now, at eighteen. Doing so at Team Jumbo-Visma is a dream come true. The team is very professional, but there is a relaxed atmosphere at the same time. I like that."
"The team welcomed us warmly", agrees Ruëgg. "Everyone helps each other, which is new for us. There is a whole team ready to guide us. We only have to think about our training; the rest is taken care of. I am extremely grateful that I am already getting this opportunity... Sometimes I have to let it sink in that this is all happening and not a dream..."
Ruëgg: "I love classics where the course constantly goes up and down while riding through narrow streets and crossing tough cobblestone sections, like the Tour of Flanders and Dwars door Vlaanderen. I want to become good in the bigger tours where you have to keep your focus and shape for days. But at the moment, everything is still open and we get time to grow. One of my ambitions this season is reaching the podium at the European road championships (U23). In addition, I want to learn how to be a good teammate and how I can make myself useful for the team. That means training on launching the sprint for the leaders, keeping a good position in the peloton, practicing on bunch sprints, and so on. I want to polish my technique a lot. I also like to be involved in tactics. It makes cycling attractive to me: you have to have good legs, but you also have to race smart."
Riedmann: "I haven't decided yet what type of rider I can or want to become... Climbing suits me, but since we didn't have any stages with really long climbs last year, I can't say whether that kind of climb suits me too. I take it as an advantage that everything is still open. As Noemi just said, we also get the time to discover what we are good at and ride different kinds of races first. I'm looking forward to Paris Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne and Strade Bianche in particular. It's the first time I get to ride those and I'm looking forward to it. Also, because we can ride Strade Bianche with Marianne."
"She's such an inspiring athlete", Ruëgg concurs. "And she's so versatile... We didn't spend a lot of time with her yet, but she gave us a very warm welcome." Riedmann: "It's a great motivation to be able to ride on the team with one of the greatest riders of all time. I'm looking forward to learning from her."
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Femines will take place from february 17-20
Selection: Amber Kraak, Anouska Koster, Linda Riedmann, Noemi Ruegg, Karlijn Swinkels and Teuntje Beekhuis