Italian champion loves the cobbles
Tomorrow it’s the tenth edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for women. It’s the first race of the season for the Lotto Soudal Ladies team.
The course is 120.5 kilometres long. The riders have to cover eight hills, among those the Côte de Trieu and Paterberg. There are six cobblestone sections. After the women have done the ascent of the Molenberg, the last hill of the day, the cobbles of the Paddestraat (2300 metres) and Lippenhovestraat (1300 metres) are waiting for them. The Lange Munte (2500 metres) is the last obstacle on the route at twenty kilometres from the finish line in Ghent.
Elena Cecchini on the start line
Italian champion Elena Cecchini, new in the team, is one of the eight riders in the roster of the Lotto Soudal Ladies. This year she already participated in the Tour de San Luis and Tour of Qatar with the national team. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn (4th March) and Strade Bianche(7th March) are the next races on the programme of the 22-year-old rider.
Good on cobbles
Elena Cecchini: “It will be the first time I ride the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, other years I participated in the Track World Championships in this period. I’m really excited to start. I’m good on the cobbles. You also need to be lucky in this types of races and you have to be attentive all the time. I expect it to be a hard race. The weather conditions don’t put me off. I like cold weather. Just put the right clothes on and the adrenaline will do the rest (laughs).”
Favorite part of the season
“This is my favourite part of the season. I love one-day races; nervous races with the road that goes up and down all the time. The Omloop is also a preparation for what has to come, like the Strade Bianche next week and the Tour of Flanders in the spring. I expect riders like Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini to be good tomorrow. I’ll try to follow them.”
Honour the national jersey
“I’m really happy with my transfer to the Lotto Soudal Ladies. I love the mentality in the team. When I was offered the opportunity to ride for this team, I grabbed it with both hands. On the training camp I got to know everyone better. The girls are really fantastic and they’ll definitely assist me in the races. I’m really motivated for this new season and am confident that it will be a good year. I want to honour that national jersey.”