The women's peloton will be facing each other this Saturday at the World Championships, however with a particularity: The Elite and under-23 fields will be racing together, leaving only chaos in the mind of many who seek to perform in their respective classification.
“I just don't like it. Either you give the promises ladies a separate course, or you don't," Belgian team member Julie De Wilde said in a press conference ahead of the race. "I don't know who to watch. There are no separate bib numbers for the promises, and there are no ears in the race. I'm going to have to keep an eye on everything myself and hope I don't miss anything. It is more calculating than racing.”
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The 19-year old will be racing for the under-23 classification, however racing alongside the likes of Lotte Kopecky who will ambition a medal in the Elite race. Both fields will be racing together, with a classification taking in the end the results of both. This lifts the question that has been heavily criticized, which is that multiple teams will hence have riders racing under different circumstances, and above all the bib numbers will not be differentiated.
This will leave the under-23 in utter chaos, many believe, as criticism has also been evident on social media, as it is likely that the winner will not get to celebrate over the finish; but may also not even be aware of her victory. The topic within team tactics will also be complicated to manage, as some riders will have domestique duties, whilst others will have the freedom to chase their own result.
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“Now some promising ladies will have to ride for their elite teammates and others will have to ride for their own account," de Wilde says, disappointed in the format she will be racing on. "Suppose I win, I don't think I'm going to cheer. Now say for yourself: it would be a strange sight if someone suddenly made a victory gesture in the belly of the peloton. Or I have to ride away solo from everything and everyone, but that is a utopia.”