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Van Empel and Oudeman look forward to second participation in Giro d'Italia Women

Van Empel and Oudeman look forward to second participation in Giro d'Italia Women

The riders of Team Visma | Lease a Bike Women will take part in the 35th edition of the Giro d'Italia Women in Brescia this Sunday. Fem van Empel and Maud Oudeman return with fond memories of the Italian stage race, where they both made their debut last year.

"My first Giro d'Italia was a very nice experience", Van Empel said. "During the stages I didn't realise how beautiful the Italian landscape is. This year I'll try to enjoy it more if I can."

Last year, the 21-year-old rider surprised everyone by finishing second in the youth classification. "It surprised me. For this Giro d'Italia, the goal is not necessarily to do well in the general classification, but to take it day by day and make the most of the opportunities", she said. 

"The second place in the youth classification last year came as a surprise to me"

Fem van Empel

"I've had good blocks of training, working towards good form", the Dutchwoman continued. "The sessions went well and I can look back on them with a positive feeling. Unfortunately, the last part of my preparation for the Giro d'Italia suffered a setback due to a crash, but that doesn't mean I won't be full of ambition and motivation for the start."

Van Empel made her grand tour debut in the women's Giro d'Italia last year and felt it was an important step in her career. "Last year I noticed that my stamina had increased significantly after the Giro d'Italia. I felt the benefits. A multi-day race always makes you stronger."

Like Van Empel, Oudeman raced the Italian stage race for the first time last year. "It was my first grand tour and I thought it would be great to start there. It was exciting and the team gave me confidence. I made a lot of progress after the Giro d'Italia. In a big stage race you learn every day. I learned a lot from it. It was also very nice to race in Italy. I look back on it with pride."

"This year I have already been able to prove myself a few times and contribute to the team", the Dutchwoman continued. "I am thrilled that I can already be of value to the team. I didn't expect this development right away, but I have worked hard for it. Last year we raced a lot, which was a good investment. I learned a lot in those races and I can use that knowledge this season. I'm happy that my talents are starting to shine, but I'm still focusing on the process and learning from the races."

"I am very proud to ride two grand tours this year"

Maud Oudeman

Earlier this season, the 20-year-old raced in the Vuelta Femenina. There she and the team achieved excellent results. "The grand tours are essential for my career’s development. They are very different from other stage races. I have noticed that I come out of the grand tours stronger and I have always learned a lot from them. Riding grand tours is very important for my development and I am very proud to be able to ride two of them this year."

"It's a nice Giro d'Italia, with different types of stages. I hope to start it with a good feeling and compete in different finals. We'll have a great week with the team and see what's possible. It's going to be a tough week, but I'm looking forward to it", Oudeman concluded. 

Carlijn Achtereekte, Mijntje Geurts, Femke de Vries, Lieke Nooijen and Rosita Reijnhout will join Van Empel and Oudeman in the Visma | Lease a Bike Women squad.

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