Britain's ROWE fears the future is Oranje in women's road race
GLASGOW - Britain's Dani ROWE reckons a Netherlands squad brimming with world and Olympic champions will be the team to beat in the road race at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.
ROWE will carry home hopes on the city centre looped course on 5 August as the elite women battle for the European title for only the third time. Until 2016, the event was restricted to under-23 riders.
Anna van der BREGGEN, who won the inaugural race in Plumelec, France, in 2016, will be part of the Dutch squad. She is also the Olympic champion from Rio 2016, and she finished second in her last race when women competed separately over one of the Alpine stages used by the men during the Tour de France.
But the Dutch team's star name is undoubtedly Marianne VOS, who will start the 130km race as favourite, having racked up an Olympic title, at London 2012, and three world championships on the road. The 31-year-old is also the European champion after winning the title in Herning, Denmark, last year. She has numerous other titles in cyclo-cross and on the track.
VOS was second on her last outing, the RideLondon Classic on 28 July in which she was beaten in the sprint finish by compatriot Kirsten WILD, who is competing on the track in Glasgow.
The Oranje machine also includes Chantal BLAAK, the reigning world champion, and Ellen van DIJK, who won the European time trial title last year.
"It is always hard to beat the Dutch," ROWE admitted. "But I'm in good shape and if I put myself in the best position then we'll see what that gives me."
ROWE has focused on the road for the past couple of years, having won Olympic team pursuit gold at London 2012 and three world championship titles. After switching allegiance from England to Wales, she took bronze in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games road race in April.
"I've never done a European championships road race before so it's really unknown territory for me," ROWE said. "The course suits me - it's got short, punchy climbs, and it's a bit like a criterium. I know it well from the nationals and the Commonwealth Games so I'm confident I can do well."
Denmark's Pernille MATHIESEN, Poland's Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA, sixth in Rio and silver medallist at the inaugural European elite race in 2016, will also be looking to upset the Dutch team.
The men's road race, which will also start and finish in Glasgow Green, is on 12 August.
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