Holy Week starts now! Our Ronde van Vlaanderen preview is here.

Despite different fortunes at Dwars door Vlaanderen, both Lidl-Trek squads are heading into the first race of Holy Week as motivated as ever.

The team leaders give us their thoughts and expectations ahead of Ronde van Vlaanderen:

Mads Pedersen

“To be honest, it’s a pain that we lost Jasper and Alex. If we take Alex as a helper first, he’s super important for the run-ins, for positioning and so on. He knows these roads so well. Of course we have Tim [Declercq], Otto [Vergaerde] and Eddie [Theuns] who are basically riding these roads every day, but one extra would have been nice. I’m also going to really miss Jasper and I think, as a team, we are going to miss the card that Jasper would have been sitting with. I feel really sorry for him too. He found the shape again and he showed really good signs for Flanders and he didn’t deserve to end on the floor with a broken collarbone neither did Wout [van Aert].
“I don’t think it would smart of us though to completely change the way we are racing after Dwars door Vlaanderen. We are in a really good rhythm and we like to race like this as well so I think it would be wrong of us to just completely sit back. We are still going to make a plan and still going to do ‘our’ race and then, we will see how the body is reacting from my side.

“You are not healing in three days and the body won’t be perfect so, you know, I have to start the race in a different mindset to the one I would have had if I didn’t crash on Wednesday. I know that to win Flanders you have to be 100% and I have to be honest that I am not 100 percent right now, after a crash like this, but on the other hand, everything is also possible and if everything really plays out in my favor, it is still possible. It’s 50/50 which way it goes.”

Elisa Longo Borghini

“I feel very good ahead of Flanders tomorrow. To say I am ‘super confident’ would be a little too much but I am just really happy that I can ride with such a strong team next to me. We showed in the previous races that we really are a team and when riding together, we can achieve great things so I am really looking forward to Flanders.

“This is something that we, unfortunately, couldn’t do last year and I wish people could really understand what we went through last year because many didn’t. This is our potential. Finally we are racing in a way that shows our full potential and, this could have been us last year too, but because of many injuries and sickness, we couldn’t do what we knew we were capable of. So, now, we are really just showing how strong we are, how strong we always have been, and how keen we are to make the race hard and to get the best out of every race.”

Shirin van Anrooij

“I took a lot of confidence out of my second place at Dwars door Vlaanderen and, in fact, I think the whole team can be proud of how our Classics season has gone so far in 2024 but, we still want to achieve more. I think one of our strengths as Lidl-Trek is how we race together, we are really united and tomorrow will be no different. I am really looking forward to racing with this group of women.

“I did not feel the way I wanted to at Gent-Wevelgem but then, on Wednesday, I saw that my shape is there and, now, I just need to believe in it. Elisa [Longo Borghini] and me have been in a lot of finals together now and I think we will be there in Flanders again. With Lizzie, Lucinda, Lauretta and Barzi [Elisa Balsamo], we have proved in the past we can achieve results together and so, I hope we can play the game the way we want to at Tour of Flanders.

“Dwars door Vlaanderen was my first big podium in a Belgian race and it came after another perfect race from the Team. It was really cool to be able to race the way I did on Sunday, I didn’t get too stressed, I was able to just sit on which I normally would never do because I always just want to race and I think it was a signal that I have really made another step up this year.”