Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weekend Preview: Ster van Zwolle

Let's be honest, it has been utterly frigid on the continent lately. After a frozen weekend that saw multiple races cancelled, Le Samyn today was only marginally warmer. With the weather being this cold, some riders don't perform as well as they normally would, as is evident by riders in the Beverbeek Classic and guys like Arnaud Demare at Le Samyn. This weekend holds two more races; races that can either go the way of the sprint or detonate into smaller groups.

53rd Ster van Zwolle (UCI 1.2) (Netherlands) 

The Ster van Zwolle holds significance in that it is the opening classic of the Dutch season and attracts continental and amateur teams from all over the Netherlands and beyond. The race itself is exciting in that it is hard to predict what will happen. While the course is flat, the racing will be anything but boring.

The Course

Ster van Zwolle, or the Star of Zwolle, apparently got its name from the course itself, which is supposed to be a star shape around the city of Zwolle, in the province of Overijssel. If we look at this gps map from 2011, we can see that a) it looks like a 2 year olds version of a star and b) the course's biggest obstacle is probably a highway overpass. The race is scheduled to do 177 kilometers (in addition to a 3.3 km neutral rollout), which should only take them a little bit over 4 hours. 

Coverage from last year's race:


Go here for a full startlist. Some additions and subtractions will possibly be made.

The Contenders

All of the Dutch teams will be hungry for a win so don't expect a foreigner to win. In fact, there was only been one foreign winner in the race's history, Marc Wauters in 1994, and he rode the majority of his career for WordPerfect/Rabobank so he is only half foreign. Every Dutch continental team is present along with 9 club teams and they will be pissed if a non-Dutch riders comes in and spoils the party...unless it is Rick Zabel (Rabobank Continental). The wind will not be a big factor Saturday so unless someone is feeling extra strong, it should come together for a bunch sprint.

3 stars: Yoeri Havik (De Rijke-Shanks) Nick van der Lijke (Rabobank Continental)
Giorgio Brambilla (Atlas Personal-Jakroo) Patrick Clausen (CULT Energy)

2 stars: Dylan Groenewegen (De Rijke-Shanks) Steve Schets (Doltcini Flanders)
Tino Thömel (NSP-Ghost) Michael Kurth (Quantec-Indeland)

1 star: Florian Bissinger (Vorarlberg) Vegard Robinson Bugge (Joker Merida)

I have absolutely no idea if there will be any race coverage this weekend. The website is pretty barebones but twitter or a Dutch website might possibly help with some coverage. I will try my best to give updates when I find them through my twitter account, @Vlaanderen90. It will be a busy weekend with Paris-Nice, West Vlaanderen, Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima but I won't give up on my U23s.  

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