Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) has taken the biggest win of her career so far, winning the Deakin Women's Race – the women's edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, and the first round of the 2020 UCI Women's WorldTour – with a solo attack on the finishing circuit in Geelong, Australia, on Saturday.
Lippert was part of a group of favourites that dropped everyone else on the steep climb of Challambra Crescent, nine kilometres from the line of what was a rain-sodden race.
The former German champion then made another attack on the short climb of Melville Avenue with just under six kilometres to go and held off a chase trio to the line. Last year's winner Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women's Team) won the sprint for second place against Australian road race champion Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) and Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo), crossing the line 15 seconds behind 22-year-old Lippert.
"I still can't believe it – I've won my first WorldTour race ever," said an overjoyed Lippert in the TV interview after the finish. "Without my team, I couldn't have won. They did a great job, protecting me the whole day and playing an important role in the final. I felt really good, so I attacked on the final uphill and never looked back."
Asked about the race conditions, with the riders having faced heavy rain and wind for most of the 121km race, Lippert said: "We are all used to it, and it was a good factor for us. We made the race hard in the wind, and it was an amazing race by the whole team."
How it unfolded
The first break formed after seven kilometres when Madeline Wright (Roxsolt Attaquer) and Marieke van Witzenburg (Doltcini-Van Eyck) got away. They were caught before the first bonus sprint after 24km, at which point Wright and Silvia Valsecchi (BePink) made another move that was soon joined by Maaike Boogaard (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Minke Bakker (Doltcini-Van Eyck) and French champion Jade Wiel (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope).
Those five riders built an advantage of more than four minutes with 43km to go, when Rally Cycling and Team Sunweb started to chase in earnest in the peloton. As the weather conditions worsened, to the point that the broadcast helicopter was grounded, the two teams worked together to gradually reduce the gap to the break, and brought it down to 1:45 minutes at the 25km-to-go mark.
A big crash with around 20km to go brought down dozens of riders and split the peloton, leaving only some 30 riders to chase. After catching the break, sprinter Chloe Hosking (Rally Cycling) led a brief counter-attack, but at the start of the climb of Challambra Crescent, things were back together. Lippert, Wiles and Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) led the group up the climb, with Chapman taking the 'QOM' points at the top, having reduced the front group to around a dozen riders, which included all the pre-race favourites.
On the final climb of Melville Avenue, Lippert made a strong move, opening a big gap and defending it to the finish. By winning the first Women's WorldTour race of the year, Lippert also takes the season-long competition's purple leader's jersey.
The next round will be the Italian gravel Classic Strade Bianche on March 7.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Liane Lippert (Ger) Team Sunweb Women||3:17:46|
|2||Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women's Team||0:00:15|
|3||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women|
|4||Tayler Wiles (USA) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|5||Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women||0:00:21|
|6||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling|
|7||Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-SVB|
|8||Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|9||Ella Harris (NZl) Canyon-Sram|
|10||Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|11||Juliette Labous (Fra) Team Sunweb Women||0:00:24|
|12||Ruby Roseman Gannon (Aus) Australian National Team||0:01:00|
|13||Anna Louise Henderson (GBr) Team Sunweb Women|
|14||Lotta Henttala (Fin) Trek-Segafredo Women||0:01:24|
|15||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|16||Katia Ragusa (Ita) Astana Women's Team|
|17||Pfeiffer Georgi (GBr) Team Sunweb Women|
|18||Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|19||Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women||0:01:30|
|20||Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer||0:02:12|
|21||Julia Soek (Ned) Team Sunweb Women|
|22||Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-Sram|
|23||Emily Herfoss (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|24||Sarah Gigante (Aus) Tibco-SVB|
|25||Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Ale BTC Ljubljana||0:02:47|
|26||Nicole Hanselmann SWZ Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport||0:02:50|
|27||Justine Barrow (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|28||Maëlle Grossetete (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|29||Simona Frapporti (Ita) Bepink||0:02:51|
|30||Sophie Edwards (Aus) Australian National Team||0:03:21|
|31||Mieke Docx (Bel) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport||0:03:35|
|32||Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-Sram||0:03:38|
|33||Nina Kessler (Ned) Tibco-SVB|
|34||Trixi Worrack (Ger) Trek-Segafredo Women||0:03:40|
|35||Marieke van Witzenburg (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport||0:04:00|
|36||Rachel Neylan (Aus) Australian National Team|
|37||Tanja Erath (Ger) Canyon-Sram||0:04:21|
|38||Madeline Wright (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer||0:04:46|
|39||Jade Wiel (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|40||Silvia Valsecchi (Ita) Bepink|
|41||Melissa van Neck (Cze) Bepink||0:05:40|
|42||Minke Bakker (Ned) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport||0:06:01|
|43||Anet Barrera (Mex) Agolico||0:06:14|
|44||Justine Vromanne (Bel) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport||0:07:34|
|45||Maryna Ivaniuk (Ukr) Astana Women's Team|
|46||Jeniffer Morales (CRc) Agolico||0:08:32|
|47||Ariadna Gutierrez (Mex) Agolico|
|48||Denisse Ahumada (Chi) Agolico|
|49||Marcela Prieto (Mex) Agolico|
|50||Jutatip Maneephan (Tha) Ale BTC Ljubljana||0:08:34|
|51||Anna Plichta (Pol) Trek-Segafredo Women||0:09:34|
|52||Francesca Pattaro (Ita) Astana Women's Team||0:10:01|
|53||Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink|
|54||Erica Clevenger (USA) Tibco-SVB|
|55||Jessica Pratt (Aus) Canyon-Sram||0:13:04|
|56||Anya Louw (Aus) Australian National Team|
|57||Alexandra Martin Wallace (Aus) Australian National Team|
|58||Anastasiia Chursina (Rus) Ale BTC Ljubljana||0:22:07|
|DNF||Yeima Torres Beltran (Cub) Astana Women's Team|
|DNF||Georgia Williams (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott Women|
|DNF||Jessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women|
|DNF||Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women|
|DNF||Jessica Roberts (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott Women|
|DNF||Abi van Twisk (GBr) Trek-Segafredo Women|
|DNF||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-Sram|
|DNF||Urska Bravec (Slo) Ale BTC Ljubljana|
|DNF||Urska Pintar (Slo) Ale BTC Ljubljana|
|DNF||Anna Trevisi (Ita) Ale BTC Ljubljana|
|DNF||Jenelle Crooks (NZl) Tibco-SVB|
|DNF||Sharlotte Lucas (NZl) Tibco-SVB|
|DNF||Andrea Ramirez (Mex) Agolico|
|DNF||Victorie Guilman (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|DNF||Krista Doebel-hickok (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Heidi Franz (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Liegh ann Ganzar (USA) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Sara Poidevan (Can) Rally Cycling|
|DNF||Jenna Merrick (NZl) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport|
|DNF||Marketa Hajkova (Cze) Bepink|
|DNF||Grace Anderson (NZl) Bepink|
|DNF||Bree Wilson (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|DNF||Veronica Lebedev (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|DNF||Nicole Frain (Aus) Australian National Team|
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