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La Fleche Wallonne Feminine - Live Coverage


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of La Flèche Wallonne Féminine.

It's an early start for the riders today with the race rolling out for the neutral start at 08:35

This is a long-running race by women's cycling's standards - having been established in 1998. Past winners include Nicole Cooke, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and Pauline Ferrand Prevot. 

The previous seven editions of the race were won back-to-back by Anna van der Breggen. With the Dutchwoman retiring at the end of 2021, however, the race is guaranteed to have a new champion by the end of today.

There are plenty of favourites waiting in the wings to take over van der Breggen's legacy. Not least her former teammate, Demi Vollering, who will have the added benefit of the seven-time winner directing the race for SD Worx. 

Other riders to look out for include Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), who has never won this race, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM), who has podiumed twice at La Flèche Wallonne but never won, and Marta Cavalli of FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope who showed off her climbing form at the Amstel Gold race a few weeks ago.  

The peloton will race over 133.4km including laps of the Mur de Huy climb - which they will tackle three times. 

The route takes the riders from Huy around a long loop of 65km before they enter the finishing circuit, which they will complete three times. There are three climbs on the citcuit, the Côte de Cherave, the Mur de Huy (at the top of which is the finish line), and the Côte d'Ereffe.

Here is the full startlist. With Marianne Vos and Riejanne Markus testing positive for Covid-19 over the weekend Jumbo-Visma have just three riders taking to the start today. 

The riders are ready to start!

And they're off! The neutral start has been given.

🏁 The race has officially started 🏁

Amstel Gold winner Marta Cavalli ahead of today's race:

Annemiek van Vleuten:

A breakaway of five got away but has now been caught while another rider is up the road.

Riders are still trying to form a break but as yet nobody has gotten away 

Demi Vollering before the start:

"I'm a bit nervous. I'm really excited for these races and I really want to do good races now so that makes me a bit nervous but I think that's also good because also you are more focused so I'm really looking forward to it." 

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio is racing her last Fleche Wallonne today, she's barely been outside the top-10 at this race but has never won, can she change that today? Here's what she had to say at the start:

Attacks have been flying but the bunch are still all together.

A breakaway has formed! Katia Ragusa (Liv Racing Xstra), Anastasia Carbonari (Valcar - Travel & Service), and Kylie Waterreus (Lotto Soudal Ladies) have a gap of 30 seconds

The break now have 40 seconds on the peloton and there are three as yet unidentified riders chasing in between. 

14km to go until the first ascent of the new climb, the Côte de Cherave (1.5km at 7.6%)

The chase group consists of: Silvia Zanardi (Bepink), Pauline Allin (Arkea Pro Cycling Team), and Federica Damiana Piergiovanni of Valcar-Travel and Service.

The chasers have joined the break and the gap is now 53 seconds with 80km to go.

The riders are approaching the first ascent of the Mur de Huy, the gap for the break is now up to 1'50" 

There has been a crash of around 20 riders in the peloton 

Kylie Waterreus (Lotto Soudal Ladies) has been dropped from the front group. 

After the Mur the break's gap is now down to 44 seconds 

2km to the first of two ascents of the Côte d'Ereffe (2.4km at 4.6%) and the gap for the breakaway is back out to 1'30"

The gap is now 1'19"

A group of chasers is trying to bridge 

11 riders have bridged to the front five and the gap is 1'54"

The additional riders are:

Federica Damiana Piergiovanni (Valcar-Travel & Service), Pauline Allin (Arkéa Pro Cycling Team), Anastasia Carbonari (Valcar - Travel & Service), and Silvia Zanardi (Bepink) have been distanced from the front group. 

The gap between the front eight riders and the peloton is 2'30"

The break are approaching the Mur de Huy for the second time.

Anna Shackley (SD Worx) and Yara Kastelijn (Plantur Pura) are leading the break up the Huy 

The gap is now at 3'15" at the top of the Mur.

Brodie Chapman, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Kasia Niewiadoma, and Elisa Longo Borghini are leading the peloton up the Mur 

The gap is now down to 1'39"

It's still Brodie Chapman of FDJ pulling the peloton with her teammate Evita Music on her wheel. The gap is now 1'47".

Chapman is making a dent on the break's advantage. The gap is down to 1'26" 

Problem for Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SD Worx) 

Bike change for Moolman Pasio 

The break are on the final ascent of the Côte d'Ereffe but the gap is only at 1'05" now.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio has been brought back to the main peloton by Chantal van den Broek Blaak

It's Brodie Chapman for FDJ on the front once again as the gap to the break is now right down to 50 seconds 

37 seconds now as Chapman continues to work. FDJ clearly have confidence in their leader Marta Cavalli after her Amstel Gold win. 

UAE Team ADQ now take over the chase 

The peloton have the breakaway in their sights 

Evita Muzic (FDJ) leads with Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) on her wheel 

Jelena Eric of Movistar has dropped back from the break to the peloton and is now chasing her former breakaway companions down. The gap is now just under 27 seconds.

Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM) is riding on the front of the breakaway 

The Côte de Cherave is 5km away and the gap is 20 seconds - will we see someone jump from the peloton and/or the break?

Chapman is back on the front of the peloton and the gap is just 14 seconds now 

The riders are coming into the bottom of the final time up the Côte de Cherave and the gap is just 11 seconds 

Ellen van Dijk of Trek-Segafredo comes to the front now - surely the final death knell for the breakaway? 

Attack from Yara Kastelijn (Plantur Pura) from the breakaway at the foot of the Côte de Cherave 

Anouska Koster counters as the reduced peloton catch up to the remainder of the breakaway 

The favourites are all there including Annemiek van Vleuten, Kasia Niewiadoma, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, and Elisa Longo Borghini.

Anouska Koster still has a small hap but Demi Vollering (SD Worx) is bringing the group up to her 

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio attacks 

Annemiek van Vleuten follows with Marta Cavalli 

There are 12 riders in the front group with five chasers behind. Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon//SRAM has been caught out and is in the second group. The gap is 20 seconds. 

Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) attacks 

Arlenis Sierra attacks from the peloton 

The Kasia Niewiadoma group has regained contact with the front of the race 

All together. Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) leads the group into the final ascent of the Mur 

Annemiek van Vleuten leads up the Huy 

All together, no moves just yet 

Elisa Longo Borghini, Mavi Garcia, and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio are distanced 

The front grouo are: Marta Cavalli, Annemiek van Vleuten, Liane Lippert, Demi Vollering 

Van Vleuten attacks and gets a gap 

Cavalli is on van Vleuten's wheel with 250m to go 

Van Vleuten accelerates but Cavalli is looking strong 

Marta Cavalli of FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope wins! 

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) takes second and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) takes third.


Marta Cavalli:

Thanks for joining our live text coverage of La Flèche Wallonne, in case you missed it you can read the full race report here

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