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La Flèche-Wallonne Feminine 2021- Live coverage

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It's another early start for teams and live text coverage writers alike. 8:35am CEST neutral rollout from Huy, where the weather is cloudy with a small chance of rain. 

A small change to the startlist this morning as Pauliena Rooijakkers of Liv Racing has withdrawn from the race with "a slight cold" her team say. Valerie Demey will replace her. 

This is also the first time we will see the Rally Cycling women's team this season. 

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You can view the full startlist via our race preview here.

The race is underway, the first climb, Cote de Thon, comes with 76km to go, after which the climbs come thick and fast!  

La Flèche Wallonne is synonymous with Anna van der Breggen who has won the race six years in a row - she's been ill recently but can she make it a seventh today? Here's what she had to say yesterday.

Interesting music choice from Trek-Segafredo, this is how you get ready for an 8:30am race start! 

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Marianne Vos is wearing the UCI Women's World Tour leader's jersey after her win at Amstel Gold on Sunday. ICYMI here's five conclusions from that race.

After 45 minutes of racing the bunch is still all together.

113km to go

This is the profile of today's race - the peloton have just crossed over into Namur province.

La Fleche Wallonne Feminine 2021

(Image credit: La Fleche Wallonne Feminine 2021 / ASO)

Silvia Magri of Valcar Travel and Service and Barbara Sniezynska of Doltcini Van Eyck have attacked! 

110km to go

We're unlikely to see much of the big favourites until later on in the race. Of course look out for Anna van der Breggen, Marianne Vos, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Elisa Longo Borghini, Demi Vollering, Kasia Niewiadoma, and Annemiek van Vleuten - but who else is it work keeping an eye out for? Read about five riders to watch here

The two leaders have almost one minute on the peloton with two new chasers behind at 30 seconds, Marta Lach of Ceratizit-WNT and Femke Gerritse of Parkhotel Valkenburg.

102km to go

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Just over one hour of racing done and I'm sorry to report that none of the breakaway riders appear to own dogs. 

Current race situation depicted on the official race Twitter through the medium of emoji:

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Two chasers in the form of Carolin Schiff of Andy Schleck CPST Immo Losch and Camilla Alessio of Bepink. No report on the gap just yet. 

98km to go

The key climb of the day is, of course, the famous Mur de Huy which Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig has described as a "death climb". One look at the profile will give you an idea as to why! 

The riders will tackle the climb twice today, first with 98.5km to go and then at the finish.

La Fleche Wallonne Feminine 2021

(Image credit: La Fleche Wallonne Feminine 2021 / ASO)
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Unfortunately there have been some crashes in the peloton, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio of SD Worx has come down twice. No updates on anyone's condition after the crashes as yet.

80km to go

Meanwhile it's 1'30" for the two leaders up the road and it's all lols in the peloton between Audrey Cordon Ragot and Loretta Hanson.

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Speaking of Cordon-Ragot, a reminder: 

We're onto the first climb of the day now and Alessio and Schiff have been caught. Gerritse and Lach still have a gap. 

75km to go

The two leaders now have just 20 seconds on the peloton after the Côte de Thon.

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Confirmation that following her earlier crash Moolman Pasio is back in the peloton.

The next climb is coming up, at 63.3km to go: the Côte de Groynne, 2.1km long at 5% -  will we see any riders make a move?

Just 5km after the Côte de Groynne comes the steeper Côte de Haut-Bois at 1.1 kilometre-long with an average gradient of 7.9%. 

The pastoral calm before the storm of Côtes

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Trigger warning: hayfever sufferers 

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The riders are now approaching the Côte de Haut-Bois, 10km after the climb they enter the province of Liège where the Côte de Gives (1.4 kilometre-long at 7.7%) awaits and soon afterwards the first ascent of the Mur de Huy.

65km to go

The two leaders have been caught after the Côte de Groynne and Trek-Segafredo are upping the pace at the front of the peloton

The Peloton on the Côte de Haut-Bois

60km to go

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Live TV coverage of the race will start in just under 15 minutes! Click here to find out how to watch where you are.

Elisa Chabbey of Canyon//SRAM, Lucinda Brand of Trek-Segafredo and Anna Hendereson of Jumbo-Visma have made a move off the front! 

50km to go

Brand, Chabbey and Henderson have a lead of 40 seconds on Niamh Fisher-Black of SD Worx who is chasing, the peloton are 10 seconds behind her.

45km to go

Henderson, Chabbey, and Brand have 38 seconds

38.3km to go

Like her colleague Cordon-Ragot, Henderson can appreciate a nice farm animal

It's Karol-Ann Canuel of SD Worx on the front of the peloton as the gap is going out and now sits at 48 seconds 

33.5km to go

The breakaway are now approaching the first ascent of the Mur de Huy, will the peloton be able to bring the gap down? 

The gap for the three leaders is now 22 seconds to a much-reduced peloton

The break are going through the feed zone over the top of the Mur de Huy and the gap is 25 seconds to the main group which still contains all of the favourites.

31km to go

It's still Karol-Ann Canuel of SD Worx on the front trying to bring the break back. The gap is hovering at around 25 seconds. 

SD Worx are still working hard to pull back this move as Anna Shackley now takes up the chase.

25.5km to go

5km until the next climb, the Côte d'Ereffe: 2.1 kilometre-long at 5%

The gap is staying between 25 and 30 seconds and SD Worx are still the only team pulling.

22km to go

The peloton are on the Côte d'Ereffe and it's Ashleigh Moolman Pasio on the front. Anna Henderson is distanced from her breakaway companions, the gap is now 12 seconds. 

20km to go

Anna Henderson is caught by the bunch, Chabbey and Brand remain out in front with a 13 seconds gap

Attack from Ashleigh Moolman Pasio of SD Worx! Ruth Winder of Trek-Segafredo follows on her wheel 

Chabbey and Brand are caught. All together. 

19.4km to go

Ruth Winder attacks and gets a gap!

Demi Vollering of SD Worx attacks and Annemiek van Vleuten follows!

Elisa Chabbey of Canyon//SRAM who was in the original break of three is now chasing Ruth Winder

The peloton have Winder in sight now, the next climb - Côte du chemin des Gueuses - is 6km away.

16.5km to go

Winder has a gap of 16 seconds and Chabbey still has a small gap 

Soraya Palladin of Liv Racing closes the gap to Elise Chabbey, 15 seconds is the gap to Winder

We haven't seen much of defending champion Anna van der Breggen in this race so far, she's been sitting comfortably in the bunch - does this mean she's feeling capable of taking a record seventh win? 

Elise Chabbey goes again! 

Winder's gap has now gone out to 26 seconds

13.5km to go

Excellent bovine shot 

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Chabbey has a decent gap now and is hovering in between Winder and the (very small) peloton. 23 seconds is the gap to Winder from the peloton. 

It's Movistar now who take up the chase on the front of the main bunch.

Elise Chabbey slides out on a corner in a costly crash, she is caught by the peloton with Movistar upping the pace.

11km to go

Annemiek van Vleuten makes a move with Elisa Longo Borghini, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Marianne Vos, and Anna van der Breggen straight on her wheel 

A small, select group has gone clear with Elisa Longo Borghini, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Marianne Vos, Anna van der Breggen, Kasia Niewiadoma, Amanda Spratt, Juliet Labous, Demi Vollering and Mavi Garcia. 

Demi Vollering attacks and it's Annemiek van Vleuten immediately following

Ruth Winder is still out front with a 5 second gap but the group are closing in

Mavi Garcia of Ale BTC Ljlubjana attacks but Demi Vollering immediately closes it down with Van Vleuten behind 

Anna van der Breggen attacks and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is the only rider able to follow with Kasia Niewiadoma close behind 

8.4km to go

Van der Breggen and Uttrup Ludwig are brought back and Amanda Spratt attacks the group 

This group are just wearing each other down as they get closer to the the final ascent of the Mur de Huy 

Demi Vollering attacks with Kasia Niewiadoma on her wheel and they get a small gap, Elisa Longo Borghini tries to bridge 

Niewiadoma and Vollering are brought back, Ruth Winder's gap is still 15 seconds 

The pace slows as the riders are looking at each other 

6.2km to go

Winder's gap extends to 30 seconds 

Demi Vollering is pulling the chase group for team SD Worx to bring back Ruth Winder 

Winder reaches the bottom of the descent and turns onto the long, straight drag towards the Mur de Huy 

3.5km to go

24 seconds is the gap for Winder

Reminder that the chasing group contains Elisa Longo Borghini, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Anna van der Breggen, Kasia Niewiadoma, Amanda Spratt, Juliet Labous, Demi Vollering and Mavi Garcia. No Women's World Tour leader Marianne Vos.

Winder's gap comes down to 15 seconds as they approach the bottom of the Mur de Huy - Vollering is still pulling 

This is it! The final time up the wall, who's got the legs? 

Winder looks set to be caught as the group have her in sight. Who will attack first? 

Vollering drops after that huge effort and it's Anna van der Breggen on the front leading the group up the Huy 

Niewiadoma and Van der Breggen are looking strongest with  Longo Borghini and van Vleuten behind

300m to go

It's cat and mouse between van der Breggen and Niewiadoma as the turn the final corner! 

Van der Breggen goes! Niewiadoma is being distanced

It's a seventh victory for the world champion Anna van der Breggen! 

Kasia Niewiadoma second and Elisa Longo Borghini in third. 

Top 10:

1. Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx)

2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM)

3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo)

4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)

5. Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC City Ljubljana)

6.Juliette Labous (Team DSM)

7. Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo)

8. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitane Futuroscope)

9. Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange)

10. Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx)

🗣️winner, Anna van der Breggen of SD Worx:

"Yeah it was, it's mostly about the Mur in the end but the race was hard, the pace was really high" 

"I think we also made some tactical mistakes in the race so we needed to chase but the team did a really good job to fix that and even in the end Demi did a really good job to close the gap."

"Of course I am really happy that I could do it still and take this win for the team." 

"There was a bit more pressure for me because the girls worked so hard already. It was a good battle with Kasia, I must say." 

"It's a strange thought that I'm sitting here for the last time in this race. I'm really happy to finish it off like this with seven straight wins, it's incredible."

View the race report here. More to follow!

🗣️🥈 Second place Kasia Niewiadoma: 

"I am happy, I am happy to be on the podium and yet, I wouldn't call it disappointed but of course I wanted to win so you always have those mixed feelings. But I know that Anna is the master of this climb she knows it so well and she won it for the seventh time so I guess that says it all. Personally, I'm happy with the way my team raced today because I felt so comfortable from the beginning of the race and that gave me the space in my head just to focus on the final."

"With every passing year the women's level is increasing." 

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It was a huge effort from Ruth Winder from Trek-Segafredo towards the end of the race 

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Anna van der Breggen win's her seventh and final La Flèche Wallonne in a row. Read the full report here.

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Anna van der Breggen took centre stage at the Fleche Wallonne Feminine

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Anna van der Breggen wins the 2021 Fleche Wallonne Feminine

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) surged clear of Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Elisa longo Borghini won the sprint for third at Fleche Wallonne Feminine

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) was off the pace at Fleche Wallonne Feminine

(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Fleche

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

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