2021 Women's Tour of Flanders (De Ronde van Vlaanderen)

Kasia Niewiadoma, Grace Brown, Underdogs For 2021 Tour Of Flanders

Kasia Niewiadoma, Grace Brown, Underdogs For 2021 Tour Of Flanders

The women's field is filled with potential winners at the Tour of Flanders. These are five dark horses that could upset the favorites.

Apr 2, 2021 by Rebecca Reza
Alaphilippe, Van Aert, The Flanders Favorites

The depth of the women's peloton has led to unpredictable and explosive racing during this year's spring classics. With the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix postponed until October 2nd, all eyes turn to the Tour of Flanders this Sunday.

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The teams of SD Worx and Trek-Segafredo are expected to be the main protagonists, but there are no shortage of challengers on the startlist. Below are five dark horses with a shot at upsetting the favorites in Oudenaarde.   

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon // SRAM Racing)

Kasia Niewiadoma showed her form this week, as the only rider in the peloton able to respond to Annemiek Van Vleuten's blistering attack at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. Though her season’s goals are the Ardennes Classics and the Summer Olympics, the Polish rider has made no secret of her love for the early season Classics. 

Niewiadoma has yet to win a monument, but thanks to her attacking style, she is one of the most exciting riders to watch, and is reliably in the front of affairs as the Tour of Flanders approaches the finale. 

Niewiadoma will be backed by both Hannah Barnes and Tiffany Cromwell but will miss American Alexis Ryan who shared the podium with her on Wednesday.

Kristen Faulkner (Team TIBCO – SVB)

In just two years, Kristen Faulkner has gone from working in Silicon Valley to finishing 7th at Gent-Wevelgem. 

In her second season as a professional, Faulkner has proven herself capable of navigating the European peloton. Combined with the world-class strength that earned the former rower a spot on TIBCO-SVB's roster, Faulkner is proving to be a serious wild card in the classics. 

Lauren Stephens, the experienced Texan is the team's leader this Sunday, but the duo have played off each other to great effect this spring. 

Faulkner may just have the strength and anonymity to pull off an Alberto Bettiol-style win on Sunday, while Stephens will be more heavily marked. 

Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange)

Since the departure of Annemiek Van Vleuten, Team BikeExhange have been adapting to new strategies this season. 

Brown continues to build as a team leader since winning Brabantse Pijl last season. She has been consistent thus far in 2021, with top-ten finishes at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and a win at Oxyclean Classic. Brown will be backed by compatriots Sarah Roy and Amanda Spratt.

Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit – WNT)

The German Road Champion listed winning a one-day race as one of her main goals for 2021, beyond her dream of success at the Summer Olympics. While Ceratizit-WNT may not be able to match the strength of SD Worx or Trek-Segafredo, Lisa Brennauer brings experience, having raced eight editions of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. Brennauer is on form for success this sprint with a third place finish at Gent-Wevelgem and a top ten at Omloop. 


Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx)

SD Worx have already notched six wins in 2021, including what is often referred to as the "miniature Tour of Flanders", Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. 

Yes, it is odd to list Anna Van Der Breggen, the current World Champion as an underdog, but Van der Breggen has been inconsistent in recent years, and ultimately has decided to retire at the end of the season. 

SD Worx will likely back defending champion Chantel van den Broek-Blaak, who is on top form after an impressive victory at Strade Bianche. However, Van der Breggen seems intent on ending her career with a bang. She was third at Strade Bianche and won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in commanding fashion. Will we see Van der Breggen at her best this Sunday?