As I stated last week, the European schedule is filled with mid-week races over the coming weeks. This week Woerden, in the Netherlands, hosts itâ€™s 12th annual night race. While the race is predominantly Dutch, many Belgian, and other international stars head to this race. The race hasnâ€™t been won by a Dutch rider since Richard Groenendaal in 2005 (in 2006 it was the Dutch national championships). However, a Dutch rider has finished on the podium every year except three (2000,2001,2003). How will things go this year? Hereâ€™s what I think will happen:
Kiremko Nacht van Woerden (C2)
Lars van der Haar – in our season preview, I said that I consider van der Haar one of the top-ten, if not, top-five, riders in the world. After petitioning the UCI last year to race with the Elite Men this season (heâ€™s under 23 still), heâ€™s proven that he deserves to fight with the big boys. A runner-up last year, look for him to win tonite.
Bart Aernouts – last yearâ€™s winner in Woerden, Aernouts will have to settle for second behind Dutch phenom van der Harr. While Aernouts does have a sprint, itâ€™s nowhere near as strong as van der Haar. Unless Aernouts can get away early, I think heâ€™ll have to settle for second.
Twan van den Brand – this young Dutchman is coming off an impressive ninth place finish in Tabor. I expect him to stick with the leaders for most of the day, if not until the very end. However, I expect him to take the third spot on the podium.