Shirin van Anrooij shines back in her skin after nasty winter: 'That was shit, I can't make it better' Women's Cycling
Women's Cycling

Shirin van Anrooij shines back in her skin after nasty winter: 'That was shit, I can't make it better'

Shirin van Anrooij shines back in her skin after nasty winter: 'That was shit, I can't make it better'

Besides winner Marianne Vos, there was another big bright spot in the final of Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for women. Shirin van Anrooij was pulling, dragging, attacking and pounding as usual, immediately showing her good legs after a difficult winter. A fine boost, was the satisfied conclusion afterwards to IDLProcycling. On to the Strade!

In the ladies, the SD Worx-Protime block is obviously the team to beat, although Danny Stam's star formation was skillfully dismantled on Saturday by Vos and Lidl-Trek star riders Van Anrooij and Elisa Longo Borghini. Those were - unwittingly - perhaps responsible for Lotte Kopecky not having the legs to finish it in the end.

Longo Borghini ended up on the podium, while Van Anrooij had to settle for fourth. Not to worry, as she was very pleased with that. 'We knew we had to attack, but both were no longer strong enough to make it. I feel a lot of relief and joy, because I was very unsure going into this race. I had a really bad winter with a rib fracture, so it's really nice to be in the first classic. To be able to go with Kopecky on the Wall is something I really didn't expect. It is unfortunate that with this fourth place I end up just off the podium, but Elisa is on it. For me the feeling is more important," she says;

That Vos eventually rounded it off from the quartet did not surprise Van Anrooij. 'There were two of us and we attacked a lot,but I don't think there was enough left on them. I think we handled it very well and that's a good sign towards the rest of the classics. I saw Marianne riding in Valencia and she almost lost me on the climb, so I was expecting her. She's back and that's great.

Of course we know that Van Anrooij's winter did not turn out to be what she expected, but how exactly did the build-up to the Omloop go? 'The last few weeks were very changeable,' she says. 'I did keep training, but until last week it was only basic training. Until the turning point, because as soon as I went into a higher zone, my ribs were bothering me with breathing anyway. So for this race I was also quite relaxed, but luckily the form is fine. And my ribs didn't bother me, so that was already a victory in itself.

Shirin van Anrooij shines back in her skin after nasty winter: 'That was shit, I can't make it better'

Van Anrooij was initially a reserve for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Thus, the performance in her first Belgian race of the season was still a solid boost for everything to come. I felt good, but I didn't expect to be among the best riders in Het Nieuwsblad. It felt like a victory in itself to be here at all after a nasty winter. I am really looking forward to the rest of the classics. I hope I will be good in Strade, which is one of my favorites. After that I think mainly of Flanders and Amstel, but I like them all. It will also be a bit of discovery, because I didn't really ride Het Nieuwsblad either.

Actually, she would not ride on Saturday either. Initially I was not lined up, but due to ill riders I was allowed to start anyway. And I'm really happy about that," she says understandably. That she was motivated was clearly evident in the race. I really wanted to and was very happy to be there, but I also knew the only way to beat them was to try to get away. Unfortunately that didn't work out, but it really shows that there were two of us there and that we were able to put SD Worx under pressure like that.'

'We wanted to make the course very hard to still put pressure on them and not just let them win, and I think that worked out very well. I myself am very satisfied because I was very unsure at the start,' she repeated after a difficult period. 'The cross winter was just very shit, I can't make it better. That was very annoying and it also caused a lot of doubts because I couldn't train at intensity. With everything surrounding it, everyone being disappointed, it was just really nice to be there again in this first classic - which I wouldn't even start until two days ago -", the lady from Zeeland concludes;

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