No rest for the wicked. After a wonderful result for the team in the Tour of Flanders, five of the Flanders squad are taking to the start in the Healthy Ageing Tour tomorrow. It will be the first stage race of the year for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team.
2017 runner up Anna van der Breggen and 2015 podium finisher Christine Majerus return to the Dutch stage race, just like 2017 stage winners Amy Pieters and Chantal Blaak. The team is completed by former world champion Amalie Dideriksen and Skylar Schneider.
“Our team is stronger again this year than the years before,” said Van der Breggen. “That offers opportunities in the week to come.”
The five-day stage race consists of six stages, with a double day on Friday. Stage 3b is a 17.5-kilometre team time trial in the city of Stadskanaal.
“The team time trial on Friday is our first one of the year in a race, which is always a good moment for a first practice run and to see where we stand,” said team manager Danny Stam. “We’re very much looking forward to racing here again.”
The 2018 Healthy Ageing Tour is the second edition that holds this name and was formerly known as the Energiewacht Tour. The five-day stage race in the northern part of the Netherlands has been upgraded to UCI2.1 status this year.
The race opens with an 8-kilometre individual time trial in Heerenveen on Wednesday 4 April. With racing in the Netherlands usually ending in bunch sprints, the time differences in this time trial might prove decisive later in the week. Stage 2 is a 131-kilometre stage with start and finish in Grootegast.
Friday 6 April sees a double day, with a 66.2-kilometre stage in Winschoten in the morning. The riders do four laps on a 16.4-kilometre circuit around the Oldambtmeer, after a short initial route. The team time trial takes place in the afternoon.
The longest stage is planned for Saturday, when the start and finish are situated in Winsum. The stage is 142.9 kilometres, consisting of a big loop of almost 93 kilometres and three laps on a 16.7-kilometre local lap.
For three years, the race has finished with a stage on the German island of Borkum, which was won solo by Van der Breggen in 2015. Dideriksen finished third there last year. But for the 2018 edition, organisers have chosen the city of Groningen for the last stage. A criterium-style race, with 14 laps of 6.6 kilometres, determines the last stage winner and overall Healthy Ageing Tour winner.
The Twitter account for this race is @Healthyageingtr and the official hashtag is #HAT2018. Five stages will be livestreamed from start to finish on Podium.TV, which should have no geo-restriction. The team time trial stage on Friday afternoon will not be livestreamed live, but highlights will be shown later on the day.
Boels-Dolmans for the Healthy Ageing Tour:
Anna van der Breggen