Van der Breggen wins Flèche Wallonne Féminine

Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) won her third successive Flèche Wallonne Féminine after soloing clear on the approach to the Mur de Huy. In a repeat of Amstel Gold Race, the Dutchwoman claimed victory ahead of her teammate Lizzie Deignan, with Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) placing third.

"I'm really tired but really happy," said Van der Breggen in her first post-race interview. "After Sunday last week and my birthday yesterday, it's a whole party week."

Niewiadoma opened the race with an attack on the Côte de Cherave. Deignan marked the move and Van der Breggen bridged across before the summit.

"On the flat section between Côte de Cherave and the Mur, I put in attack," Deignan explained to Cyclingnews. "Kasia followed and Anna countered. I saw Kasia's face and I thought: 'Right. I think we've won this one.' "

Van der Breggen hit the base of the Mur de Huy with a five-second advantage. Deignan marked Niewiadoma up the summit finish before jumping away 150 metres from the top.

"We had a plan and we did it like the plan was – wait for the last two hard climbs because they are really tough in this race," said Van der Breggen. "We waited for it. Kasia was really strong today. She attacked and only we two could follow. It was a perfect situation to be away with three and to have two teammates."

"I have to say thanks to Lizzie," Van der Breggen added. "She is riding great at the moment. I have two great victories now, and Lizzie is in great shape also. A big thanks to Lizzie and the rest of the team. I can do this because the whole team is strong."

How It Happened

A 139-rider peloton lined up for the 20th edition of Flèche Wallonne Femme. Blue skies and sun belied the cold. Temperatures were in the low single digits throughout the race.

Several early attackers were neutralised in the opening 20 kilometers, and a largely intact peloton crested the top of the Côte d'Ereffe, the first of seven climbs on the 2017 Flèche Wallonne menu.

Katia Ragusa (BePink) and Sofie de Vuyst (Lares Waowdeals) were the first two riders to gain a sizeable gap. Sensing an opportunity, Allie Dragoo (Cérvelo Bigla) and Anisha Vekemans (Alé Cipollini) bridged across. The quartet cooperated well to grow their advantage to three minutes at the mid-point of the 120-kilometre day.

"It was a strange race," said Van der Breggen. "The beginning was really quiet and a little hectic but nothing happened that much. You know it's going to explode, and you're waiting for it."

The first signs of the fireworks came when Boels-Dolmans and Sunweb sent riders to the front of the peloton. Their combined efforts saw the gap tumble from more than three minutes to less than one minute in only 13 kilometres. By the time the race reached the Côte d'Amay, the second climb, the leaders had only 17-seconds

Ragusa and Vekemans lost contact with Dragoo and de Vuyst up the Amay. The remaining duo stretched out their advantage again on the run-in to the Cote de Villers-le-Bouillet. Up the third ascent, Ashleigh Moolman-Paiso (Cérvelo Bigla) attacked from the peloton, giving Cérvelo Bigla two riders up the road.

The trio had a 20-second advantage at the foot of the Mur de Huy. Dragoo put in one final effort for Moolman on the lower slopes before falling off the pace. Moolman's acceleration's dispatched de Vuyst, and the South African reached the summit of the Mur alone.

Just beyond the first passage of the finish line, a 35-rider leading group caught Moolman. Thirty kilometres and three climbs remained.

Marie Vilmamn (Cèrvelo-Bigla) countered her teammate's catch. The young Dane was joined by Tatiana Riabchenko (Lensworld-Kuota). The pair reached the top of the Côte d'Ereffe, the third from last climb, with a 32-second advantage over an attacking group of favourites.

"[Karol-Ann Canuel and Megan Guarnier] would make it really hard but when someone else would attack, they'd get dropped," said Deignan. "They'd claw their way back, put on the pressure and get dropped. It was brutal. They led us into the second to last climb and roughly 25 riders were left."

Riabchenko and Villman started the Côte de Cherave with a slim advantage. Van der Breggen was the first to attack on the penultimate climb. Niewiadoma countered her former teammate's move. Deignan immediately jumped on Niewiadoma's wheel.

The pair had only gained a hundred metres before Van der Breggen bridged across.

Van der Breggen and Deignan bided their time on the descent of Cherave and played off each other on the flat run-in to the Mur. The one-two punch from first Deignan and then Van der Breggen proved too much for Niewiadoma, who has repeatedly been left without teammates in the decisive moments this spring.

"It was the perfect situation to be away with three and to have two teammates," said Van der Breggen. "It might have looked easy, but it was not. It was a really hard race."

With a win at Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallone, Van der Breggen and her Boels-Dolmans teammates now look toward Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Dutch-registered squad has made no secret of its ambitions for the three Ardennes races.

"it's an important week for the team," Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team sport director Danny Stam told Cyclingnews. "This is a race sponsored by Boels and that makes it pretty clear that it's a target for the team. We've been looking forward to this week all season. Until now we can't complain.

"We have to celebrate this one now and have an easy day tomorrow," Stam added. "Then it's back with the foot to the floor for Liège."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam3:21:06
2Elizabeth Deignan (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:00:16
3Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Pro Cycling0:00:25
4Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica Scott Women0:00:43
5Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:00:49
6Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:00:54
7Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb Women0:00:56
8Janneke Ensing (Ned) Alé Cipollini0:00:58
9Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica Scott Women0:01:00
10Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Lares-Waowdeals0:01:02
11Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Wiggle High50:01:09
12Marie Vilmann (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Tetiana Riabchenko (Ukr) Lensworld-Kuota0:01:21
14Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Wiggle High50:01:27
15Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:01:32
17Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:01:34
18Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City LjubljanaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City LjubljanaRow 18 - Cell 2
20Danielle King (GBr) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 19 - Cell 2
21Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 20 - Cell 2
22Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota0:01:37
23Sheyla Gutierrez (Spa) Cylance Pro Cycling0:01:42
24Sofia Beggin (Ita) Astana Women's Team0:01:44
25Lara Vieceli (Ita) Astana Women's Team0:01:51
26Roxane Knetemann (Ned) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:01:55
27Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:01:59
28Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra) Canyon SRAM Racing0:02:02
29Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon SRAM Racing0:02:06
30Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:02:21
31Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Sunweb Women0:04:06
32Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Astana Women's TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Lorena Llamas (Spa) Bizkaia-DurangoRow 32 - Cell 2
34Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) WM3 Pro Cycling0:04:11
35Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx0:04:13
36Amelie Rivat (Fra) Lares-WaowdealsRow 35 - Cell 2
37Marion Sicot (Fra) FranceRow 36 - Cell 2
38Juliette Labous (Fra) Team Sunweb WomenRow 37 - Cell 2
39Anna Christian (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lares-WaowdealsRow 39 - Cell 2
41Agnieszka Skalniak (Pol) Astana Women's Team0:04:17
42Camilla Pedersen (Den) Team Veloconcept Women0:04:18
43Riejanne Markus (Ned) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 42 - Cell 2
44Valentina Scandolara (Ita) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 43 - Cell 2
45Lena Gerault (Fra) FranceRow 44 - Cell 2
46Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling0:04:23
47Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Drops Cycling Team0:04:24
48Elise Delzenne (Fra) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 47 - Cell 2
49Pauline Clouard (Fra) FranceRow 48 - Cell 2
50Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica Scott Women0:04:27
51Eri Yonamine (Jpn) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 50 - Cell 2
52Laura Camila Lozano (Col) Servetto GiustaRow 51 - Cell 2
53Georgia Williams (NZl) Orica Scott WomenRow 52 - Cell 2
54Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Anna Potokina (Rus) Servetto GiustaRow 54 - Cell 2
56Jip Van Den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans CyclingteamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Martina Ritter (Aut) Drops Cycling TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Urša Pintar (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Elizabeth Holden (GBr) Drops Cycling Team0:04:35
61Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:04:37
62Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica Scott Women0:04:41
63Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam0:04:43
64Anabelle Dreville (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:04:45
65Valerie Demey (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx0:04:56
66Alison Jackson (Can) BePink Cogeas0:04:58
67Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Cylance Pro Cycling0:05:03
68Rozanne Slik (Ned) Team Sunweb Women0:05:13
69Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon SRAM Racing0:05:16
70Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 69 - Cell 2
71Lauren Kitchen (Aus) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 70 - Cell 2
72Kseniia Dobrynina (Rus) Servetto Giusta0:05:21
73Charlotte Bravard (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:05:26
74Olga Zabelinskaya (Rus) BePink Cogeas0:05:29
75Aude Biannic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:05:33
76Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Kuota0:07:22
77Annette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle High50:09:01
78Allie Dragoo (USA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:09:20
79Daniela Reis (Por) Lares-Waowdeals0:09:23
80Lourdes Oyarbide (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango0:09:42
81Margarita Victoria Garcia (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango0:10:28
82Olena Pavlukhina (Aze) Astana Women's Team0:11:14
83Iraida Garcia (Cub) S.C. Michela Fanini0:11:29
84Jessy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx0:11:33
85Sara Penton (Swe) Team Veloconcept Women0:11:41
86Wubbigje Regina Knol (Ned) Cylance Pro Cycling0:11:46
87Thalita De Jong (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals0:11:51
88Anisha Vekemans (Bel) Alé Cipollini0:11:53
89Susanne Andersen (Nor) Hitec Products0:11:56
90Amber Leone Neben (USA) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 89 - Cell 2
91Nathalie Verschelden (Bel) Lensworld-Kuota0:11:57
92Lucie Lahaye (Fra) France0:11:59
93Katia Ragusa (Ita) BePink Cogeas0:12:03
94Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 93 - Cell 2
95Sara Mustonen Lichan (Swe) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 94 - Cell 2
96Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 95 - Cell 2
97Roos Hoogeboom (Ned) Bizkaia-DurangoRow 96 - Cell 2
98Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana0:12:12
99Abigail Van Twisk (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Mayuko Hagiwara (Jpn) Wiggle High50:12:19
101Annelies Dom (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 100 - Cell 2
102Sarah Rijkes (Aut) Lares-WaowdealsRow 101 - Cell 2
103Ilona Hoeksma (Ned) Hitec ProductsRow 102 - Cell 2
104Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica Scott WomenRow 103 - Cell 2
105Anna Trevisi (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:12:41
DNFNatalie Kerwin (NZl) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFMarjolaine Bazin (Fra) SAS - MACOGEPRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFJelena Eric (Srb) BTC City LjubljanaRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFDaiva Tuslaite (Ltu) Alé CipolliniRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFIngvild Gåskjenn (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFKseniya Tuhai (Blr) BePink CogeasRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFAnnalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Lensworld-KuotaRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFDemmy Druyts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-EtixxRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFLierni Lekuona Etxebeste (Spa) Bizkaia-DurangoRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFCarlee Taylor (Aus) Alé CipolliniRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFDoris Schweizer (Swi) Team Veloconcept WomenRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Ceoloni (Ita) S.C. Michela FaniniRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFMónika Kiraly (Hun) S.C. Michela FaniniRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFFrancesca Balducci (Ita) S.C. Michela FaniniRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFValeriya Kononenko (Ukr) S.C. Michela FaniniRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFJutatip Maneephan (Tha) S.C. Michela FaniniRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFMiho Yoshikawa (Jpn) Bizkaia-DurangoRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFIlaria Sanguineti (Ita) BePink CogeasRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFGiorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle High5Row 123 - Cell 2
DNFEmilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle High5Row 124 - Cell 2
DNFTrixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFTiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon SRAM RacingRow 126 - Cell 2
DNFTing Ying Huang (Tpe) Servetto GiustaRow 127 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Plichta (Pol) WM3 Pro CyclingRow 128 - Cell 2
DNFChantal Hoffmann (Lux) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFPuck Moonen (Ned) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 130 - Cell 2
DNFMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) BePink CogeasRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFMarie Gielen (Fra) FranceRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFMarta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFFien Delbaere (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-EtixxRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFAbby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFAlice Gasparini (Ita) Servetto GiustaRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Kiesenhofer (Aut) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 137 - Cell 2
DNFIsabelle Beckers (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 138 - Cell 2



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