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Vollering rounds out the Classics with another podium at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Demi Vollering
Demi Vollering (Image credit: Getty)

After rounding off her spring campaign at Liège-Bastogne-Liège with another podium finish, Demi Vollering said that there was nothing to be done in the chase behind Annemiek van Vleuten in the final of the Ardennes Classics closer.

Vollering sprinted to third place in Liège in the chase group 43 seconds behind the Movistar leader, who reclaimed her La Doyenne crown after finishing runner-up to Vollering last year

SD Worx had been active throughout the 142km race, with Marlen Reusser going on the attack midway through, and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio later making a move on the Côte de La Redoute.

In the end, Van Vleuten made her decisive attack on the final climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, reeling in attacker Grace Brown (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) with nobody behind able to answer her move.

"I really tried to [catch] on the climb because after the climb you have the drag and that's perfect for Annemiek as a TT rider with a big engine," Vollering said in the post-race press conference.

"That's always the part where I struggle a bit. Then I was like 'oh, it will be really hard to get her back' but we kept on trying and trying and then the downhill starts, so then it's really hard to get her back. She was just too strong today."

Vollering explained that she might have been able to stick with Van Vleuten's attack on another day, saying that she if she had had her period at the expected time, then she might've enjoyed the boost in strength that she gets from it.

"I think my form was really great, but I'm a woman and I expected my period here," she said. "It should have come like two weeks ago and before it I have always bad legs. When your period starts and also afterwards, you feel really strong and then it's also this extra percent.

"Sometimes your period comes in the right moment, sometimes it doesn't. If it was like that then maybe I could hang on today but not this time, so I think this was my struggle now. I'm still happy that I did a great spring."

Vollering's team had earlier seen Swiss champion Reusser out on the attack, getting away as part of an eight-woman group with 60km left to run. She was the strongest woman in the move, lasting out front deep into the final.

On La Redoute, Reusser was joined by Van Vleuten, the pair briefly out front before Brown countered on the run to the Roche-aux-Faucons. After the race, Reusser explained that everything had gone to plan for the team, barring Brown's move and the winning attack of Van Vleuten.

"It was the plan," she said. "We had a very strong team at the start once more so it was clear that we can try all our cards and one was to have a breakaway in front. This plan worked out perfectly well.

"We just missed the attack from Grace Brown - that was our mistake of the day, but I think it was a good teamwork.

"Today not, another day yes," Reusser said, referring to her team's ability to match Van Vleuten. "We've seen that before. With the attack of Grace Brown, everybody looked at us to chase, so I think they also we lost some of our team strength."

After Van Vleuten had jumped away, her advantage held at around 15 seconds for much of the run-in, only jumping out inside the final 5km. Vollering was joined in the chase by Brown and her FDJ teammate Marta Cavalli, as well as her own teammate Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, and Trek-Segafredo's Elisa Longo Borghini.

"The last 10km is all a bit downhill so it's really hard to get somebody back there," Vollering said. "You need to ride full gas and you need everybody in the group to give their 100 per cent.

"Sometimes this group was working really well and sometimes not so much – that was sometimes a bit frustrating. But I was happy that I had Ashleigh there. She did a really great job, but I think we missed a big engine there like Marlen, for example, a big TT rider.

Vollering, and her team, can still be happy with a great spring campaign, though, with Vollering's Brabantse Pijl victory standing alongside Lotte Kopecky's triumphs at Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders as the top results of the Classics.

"I would say an awesome spring," Reusser said. "I mean we won some of the very biggest races and did we ever not finish on the podium? I'm not even sure. A very, very great spring for us, I would say."

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Daniel Ostanek
Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.