Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) again reigned supreme on the Mur de Huy, outsprinting Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products - UCK) and Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol Ladies) to claim her fifth win at La Flèche Wallonne Féminine.
It was a race that was always going to come down to the Mur de Huy, despite the peloton at one point being in three separate groups split apart by considerable aggression from a number of teams following the first ascent of the taxing 1300 metre climb.
Vos led out the sprint with 100 metres remaining, dropping her pursuants' wheels, and the victory never looked in doubt as the prolific Dutchwoman had enough time to sit up and celebrate in emphatic style, as the other two battled it out for the minor placings on the line.
The win for Vos came after she was defeated by Evelyn Stevens (Specialized - lululemon) in a two-up sprint in 2012.
"It may sound weird, in spite of everything, it's still exciting," Vos explained. "Every time I win, feel new again.
"That explosion of power, I can only do this once on such a climb," Vos continued, with the result of last year still fresh in the mind. "I did not want to waste it this time in an attempt to get away. After that mistake last year I wanted to wait as long as possible and that worked very well. "
The in-form Italian Longo Borghini was left frustrated on the ground while she waited for confirmation of her final result to go along with her gut instinct, but with that came lots of smiles.
"We were really close but I had a feeling that I was number two," the 21-year-old told Cyclingnews. "I was just waiting for the jury."
Longo Borghini's result on Wednesday isjust the latest in what has been an impressive spring, claiming top-10 performances at Le Samyn des Dames, Omloop van het Hageland, the Tour of Flanders and well as her victory at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio World Cup race.
"I'm really happy for this race and for the whole spring," Longo Borghini said. "My team did an amazing job. I really have to thank all my teammates and of course the staff.
"The last climb of the Mur was really hard. Vos went from around 100 metres and I tried to follow but in the end it was a sprint of two between me and Moolman."
Moolman's result was one for the history books, the first South African woman to podium in a World Cup race as well as her best result at the top level.
"I must say it's quite overwhelming," the 27-year-old told Cyclingnews. "I'm standing here today as a very proud South African and very proud African ambassador.
"I think I went a little too early," she said of the sprint to the line. "I got a little too excited; I could hear my manager on the radio saying ‘Use the steep part, use the steep part.' I think I tried to lunge for the second place but it was just so close."
The peloton was intact on the first climb of the day despite an early attack from Dani King (Wiggle Honda). Aleksandra Burchenkova (RusVelo) was next to attack, earning 20 seconds on the bunch, but she too was brought back.
Just under 50km of racing was done when the peloton shattered into action with eight riders gaining 42 seconds on the Côte de Bohissau. The peloton in two distinct groups, with the chase well and truly on, the eight leaders were caught and it was gruppo compatto once more.
The first ascent of the Mur de Huy at 65km saw splits emerge once more, with a large chunk of the peloton abandoning as the selection continued. As the riders re-fuelled, the race was back together and the finale was on the way was nearing.
Late attacks by Alena Amialiusik (BePink) and Katie Colclough (Specialized – lululemon) proved fruitless, never able to gain more than 30 seconds of clear air.
Former mountain biker Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giordana) was prepared to give it one more crack however in the final 10km but the wider roads proved to be her downfall and her 10 second advantage was easily swallowed up, setting up Vos for another victory.
"Everyone thinks I'm here just to win, but so many factors play a role," the overwhelming pre-race favourite said following her victory. "Without a good team for example it is quite a bit trickier. Moreover, it was terribly hard and it hurt. Although I felt good, but the Flèche Wallonne is a very grueling race. Winning on the Mur de Huy is never easy. It is also a matter of tactics."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant||3:34:32|
|2||Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK|
|3||Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Lotto Belisol Ladies|
|4||Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team||0:00:06|
|5||Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS|
|6||Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon||0:00:19|
|7||Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink||0:00:25|
|8||Amber Neben (USA) Pasta Zara-Cogeas||0:00:28|
|9||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS||0:00:33|
|10||Jessie Daams (Bel) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|11||Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol) GSD Gestion-Kallisto|
|12||Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:00:40|
|13||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabobank Liv/Giant||0:00:42|
|14||Carlee Taylor (Aus) Lotto Belisol Ladies|
|15||Edwige Pitel (Fra) France|
|16||Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Faren-Let's Go Finland Team||0:00:46|
|17||Elena Kuchinskaia (Rus) RusVelo||0:00:48|
|18||Amélie Rivat (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope|
|19||Marijn De Vries (Ned) Lotto Belisol Ladies|
|20||Noemi Cantele (Ita) BePink||0:00:54|
|21||Kristin Mcgrath (USA) US National Team|
|22||Ane Santesteban (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango||0:00:56|
|23||Georgia Williams (NZl) BePink||0:00:59|
|24||Megan Guarnier (USA) Rabobank Liv/Giant|
|25||Anouska Koster (Ned) Team Polaris||0:01:01|
|26||Joanne Hogan (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango|
|27||Celine Van Severen (Bel) Lotto Belisol Ladies||0:01:06|
|28||Dalia Muccioli (Ita) BePink||0:01:11|
|29||Anna Sanchis Chafer (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango||0:01:14|
|30||Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon||0:01:17|
|31||Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica-AIS||0:01:22|
|32||Christine Majerus (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team||0:01:29|
|33||Oriane Chaumet (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope|
|34||Aude Biannic (Fra) France||0:01:43|
|35||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS||0:01:59|
|36||Lauren Hall (USA) US National Team||0:02:13|
|37||Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giordana||0:02:21|
|38||Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) MCipollini Giordana||0:02:23|
|39||Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini Giordana||0:02:24|
|40||Audrey Cordon (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope||0:02:34|
|41||Oksana Kozonchuk (Rus) RusVelo||0:02:36|
|42||Elena Bocharnikova (Rus) RusVelo||0:02:43|
|43||Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Faren-Let's Go Finland Team||0:02:51|
|44||Sandrine Bideau (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope||0:03:28|
|45||Adrie Visser (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:04:29|
|46||Joanna Rowsell (GBr) Wiggle Honda|
|47||Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS||0:04:32|
|48||Annelies Van Doorslaer (Bel) Cyclelive Plus-Zannata|
|49||Rachel Neylan (Aus) Hitec Products UCK||0:04:38|
|50||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant||0:04:46|
|51||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant||0:04:59|
|52||Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon|
|53||Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier (Ger) Wiggle Honda||0:05:01|
|54||Valentina Carretta (Ita) MCipollini Giordana||0:05:06|
|55||Ann-Sophie Duyck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Ladies|
|56||Inge Roggeman (Bel) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team|
|57||Manon Souyris (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope||0:08:16|
|58||Emmanuelle Merlot (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope|
|59||Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Faren-Let's Go Finland Team|
|60||Aleksandra Burchenkova (Rus) RusVelo||0:08:35|
|61||Yulia Blindyuk (Rus) RusVelo||0:08:41|
|62||Melodie Lesueur (Fra) France|
|63||Vera Koedooder (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team||0:08:47|
|64||Amy Pieters (Ned) Argos-Shimano||0:08:50|
|65||Lina-Kristin Schink (Ger) GSD Gestion-Kallisto||0:08:54|
|66||Jessie Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer||0:08:55|
|67||Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team||0:08:58|
|68||Ine Beyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer||0:09:06|
|69||Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant||0:09:08|
|70||Jessie Maclean (Aus) Orica-AIS||0:09:10|
|71||Loren Rowney (Aus) Specialized-lululemon||0:09:14|
|72||Laura Trott (GBr) Wiggle Honda||0:09:15|
|73||Dorleta Eskamendi (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango||0:09:17|
|74||Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK||0:09:19|
|75||Inga Cilvinaite (Ltu) Pasta Zara-Cogeas||0:09:26|
|76||Stephanie De Croock (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer||0:09:35|
|77||Sara Mustonen (Swe) Faren-Let's Go Finland Team|
|78||Anisha Vekemans (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer||0:09:37|
|79||Rossella Ratto (Ita) Hitec Products UCK||0:09:40|
|80||Katie Colclough (GBr) Specialized-lululemon||0:09:53|
|DNF||Tayler Wiles (USA) Specialized-lululemon|
|DNF||Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products UCK|
|DNF||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK|
|DNF||Martine Bras (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|DNF||Emma Trott (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|DNF||Marieke Van Wanroij (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|DNF||Birgit Lavrijssen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team|
|DNF||Lucy Garner (GBr) Argos-Shimano|
|DNF||Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Argos-Shimano|
|DNF||Willeke Knol (Ned) Argos-Shimano|
|DNF||Kelly Markus (Ned) Argos-Shimano|
|DNF||Esra Tromp (Ned) Argos-Shimano|
|DNF||Marion Rousse (Ned) Lotto Belisol Ladies|
|DNF||Emily Collins (NZl) Wiggle Honda|
|DNF||Mayuko Hagiwara (Jpn) Wiggle Honda|
|DNF||Danielle King (GBr) Wiggle Honda|
|DNF||Elodie Hegoburu (Fra) France|
|DNF||Ludivine Loze (Fra) France|
|DNF||Lucie Pader (Fra) France|
|DNF||Silvia Valsecchi (Ita) BePink|
|DNF||Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink|
|DNF||Giada Borgato (Ita) Pasta Zara-Cogeas|
|DNF||Rossella Callovi (Ita) Pasta Zara-Cogeas|
|DNF||Silvija Latozaite (Ltu) Pasta Zara-Cogeas|
|DNF||Martina Ruzickova (Cze) Pasta Zara-Cogeas|
|DNF||Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Faren-Let's Go Finland Team|
|DNF||Jutta Nieminen (Fin) Faren-Let's Go Finland Team|
|DNF||Annelies Dom (Bel) Cyclelive Plus-Zannata|
|DNF||Latoya Brulee (Bel) Cyclelive Plus-Zannata|
|DNF||Daisy Depoorter (Bel) Cyclelive Plus-Zannata|
|DNF||Carla Ryan (Aus) Cyclelive Plus-Zannata|
|DNF||Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Cyclelive Plus-Zannata|
|DNF||Malgorzta Jasinska (Pol) MCipollini Giordana|
|DNF||Aizhan Zhaparova (Rus) RusVelo|
|DNF||Charlene Delev (Ger) GSD Gestion-Kallisto|
|DNF||Mayra Del Rocio Rocha (Mex) GSD Gestion-Kallisto|
|DNF||Stephanie Roorda (Can) GSD Gestion-Kallisto|
|DNF||Sarah-Lena Hofmann (Ger) Team Polaris|
|DNF||Mieke Kröger (Ger) Team Polaris|
|DNF||Janine Van Der Meer (Ned) Team Polaris|
|DNF||Jessica Cutler (USA) US National Team|
|DNF||Emily Kachorek (USA) US National Team|
|DNF||Kendall Ryan (USA) US National Team|
|DNF||Ruth Winder (USA) US National Team|
|DNF||Els Belmans (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer|
|DNF||Gilke Croket (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer|
|DNF||Lilibeth Chacon (Ven) Bizkaia-Durango|
|DNF||Mayalen Noriega (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango|