Judith Arndt wins 2012 Women's Tour of Flanders

Armstrong and Numainville round off the podium

Judith Arndt became the first rider to win on the new look Ronde Van Vlaanderen course by outsprinting Kristin Armstrong. The pair powered away on the Oude Kwaremont 30 kilometres from Oudenaarde finish and left Canadian rider Joelle Numainville to take the group sprint for third.

The one-two result was an identical finish to the ladies' Ronde in 2008, when Arndt (GreenEdge) again edged out Armstrong who was back in Europe at the head of an American team.

"It had a good end for me," Arndt said modestly afterwards. "I was looking forward to the last 20kms – I like it better than the old course. It's kind of strange that it was exactly the same result as four years ago." She added.

The race lacked the presence Dutch champion Marianne Vos who pulled out on the eve of the race through illness, but the hundreds of thousands who lined Belgium's most famous race didn't care and gave vocal support to the 127km event.

The race came to the boil as the peloton hit the cobbles on the Paadestraat section under the pressure of Armstrong's American squad, who were determined to make the 127km race as hard as possible.

A puncture on the Paadestraat wrecked the defending champion, Annemiek Van Vleuten's chances of contending the final.

"Our goal was to be barely able to finish at the line." said Armstrong's teammate, Kristin McGrath. "We all were making attacks to keep the peloton strung out so Armstrong could attack on the Kwaremont, and the plan worked."

Numerous probing attacks were made as the race travelled over the Berendries, Valkenberg and Kanarieberg climbs at the heart of the race. According to reports the peloton was frequently split into large groups. At one point, more than a minute separated the first and second bunches.

The decisive move was made amid the screaming fans on the Kwaremont, when Carmen Small-McNellis of the United States team hit the bottom of the climb in first place and made the perfect platform for Armstrong, the reigning Olympic TT champion to make her move. Only Arndt, the World TT champion had the legs to stay with her.

However at the finish British National Champion Lizzie Armitstead said race communication broke down and the chasing peloton weren't being given time gaps or even knew who was ahead.

"We just had to pull the last 15kms and bring back the group, but weren't getting any times or numbers."

She said: "I'm disappointed. I think my inexperience showed. I've only done Flanders once before and I was too excited. In went with an attack after the Kanarieberg and again just before the Oude Kwaremont so the attack was caught and when they come past you with speed it's hard to [get on]."

While Armitstead's AA Drinks-Leontien.nl squad tried rein in the break in the closing stages, the combined strength of the two world-beating time-trialists was too much.

The pair collaborated all the way to the final kilometre. "I was surprised we were the only two left," said Arndt. "In a sprint like this you pretty much feel immediately if you are going to beat the other or not.

"We're both similar types of rider. We don't really have an acceleration so we both knew if we wanted to win we had to do a long sprint. I watched her like a track rider and she started to go at about 350m. I also started immediately." It was Arndt's fourth victory this year, including the overall at the Ladies' Tour of Qatar.

For Armstrong who has her sights firmly set on the London Olympic Games, it was a satisfying performance.

"It makes me feel good. I wanted to come into the early season so I can take a break before London. I have to come in strong to show that I can race in Europe. This is just one more step towards selection."

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Judith Arndt (Ger) Greenedge-Ais3:19:05 
2Kristin Armstrong (USA) USA National Team0:00:02 
3Joelle Numainville (Can) Canada National Team0:00:30 
4Kirsten Wild (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team  
5Adrie Visser (Ned) Skil 1T4I  
6Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Team Specialized-Lululemon  
7Evelyn Arys (Bel) Kleo Ladies Team  
8Christine Majerus (Lux) Team GSD Gestion  
9Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team  
10Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Be Pink  
11Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team  
12Emma Johansson (Swe) Hitec Products-Mistral Home Cycling Team  
13Carmen Mcnellis Small (USA) USA National Team  
14Maaike Polspoel (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Ridley 2012  
15Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Greenedge-Ais  
16Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Rusvelo  
17Audrey Cordon (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
18Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team  
19Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Tepso  
20Amélie Rivat (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
21Megan Guarnier (USA) Tibco-To The Top  
22Trixi Worrack (Ger) Team Specialized-Lululemon  
23Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products-Mistral Home Cycling Team  
24Lieselot Decroix (Bel) Dolmans-Boels Cyclingteam  
25Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Mcipollini Giambenini  
26Denise Ramsden (Can) Canada National Team  
27Chantal Blaak (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team  
28Andrea Dvorak (USA) USA National Team  
29Olga Zabelinskaya (Rus) Rusvelo  
30Tayler Wiles (USA) USA National Team  
31Noemi Cantele (Ita) Be Pink  
32Evelyn Stevens (USA) Team Specialized-Lululemon  
33Amanda Spratt (Aus) Greenedge-Ais  
34Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team  
35Emma Pooley (GBr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team0:00:54 
36Liesbet De Vocht (Bel) Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team0:01:52 
37Martina Corazza (Ita) Kleo Ladies Team  
38Samantha Schneider (USA) Tibco-To The Top  
39Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Rusvelo  
40Monia Baccaille (Ita) Mcipollini Giambenini  
41Leah Kirchmann (Can) Canada National Team  
42Ina Teutenberg (Ger) Team Specialized-Lululemon  
43Kristin Mcgrath (USA) USA National Team  
44Irina Molicheva (Rus) Rusvelo  
45Clara Hughes (Can) Team Specialized-Lululemon  
46Alexis Rhodes (Aus) Greenedge-Ais  
47Sarah Düster (Ger) Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team  
48Lauren Hall (USA) Tibco-To The Top  
49Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Lotto Belisol Ladies0:01:57 
50Annelies Van Doorslaer (Bel) Kleo Ladies Team0:04:46 
51Julia Martisova (Rus) Be Pink  
52Ine Beyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Ridley 2012  
53Inga Cilvinaite (Ltu) Diadora-Pasta Zara  
54Valentina Carretta (Ita) Mcipollini Giambenini  
55Josien Van Wingerden (Ned) Netherlands National Team  
56Lucinda Brand (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team  
57Amanda Miller (USA) Tibco-To The Top  
58Kaat Hannes (Bel) Lotto Belisol Ladies  
59Lise Nöstvold (Nor) Hitec Products-Mistral Home Cycling Team0:07:44 
60Romy Kasper (Ger) Rusvelo  
61Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Hitec Products-Mistral Home Cycling Team  
62Mascha Pijnenborg (Ned) Dolmans-Boels Cyclingteam0:08:56 
63Lucy Martin (GBr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team  
64Oxana Kozonchuk (Rus) Be Pink  
65Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Mcipollini Giambenini  
66Anne Arnouts (Bel) Kleo Ladies Team  
67Polona Batagelj (Slo) Diadora-Pasta Zara  
68Valentina Scandolara (Ita) S.C. Michela Fanini Rox  
69Regina Bruins (Ned) Skil 1T4I  
70Alona Andruk (Ukr) Diadora-Pasta Zara  

 

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