Good afternoon and welcome to live text coverage of the women's Tour of Flanders. While the men's race has been underway for a few hours already, the women are due to start at 14:00 CET.
Today marks the 18th women's Ronde van Vlaanderen. The previous 12 editions have seen 12 different winners. Of those, 9 are at the race today, 8 riders and one DS in the form of Ina-Yoko Teutenberg of Trek-Segafredo. For more on the history of the women's Tour of Flanders check out our run down of all of the previous winners, from 2004-2020.
Today the peloton will cover 152.4km plus 9km of neutral. Hold onto your Easter eggs because over the course of the race there are 13 brutal climbs, and five cobbled sectors.
The climbs are:
Kattenberg - 57km
Edelare - 53km
Boigneberg - 67km
Berendries 85km to go
Berg Ten Houte - 103km
Oude Kwaremont - 136km
And the cobbled sectors:
Paddestraat - 42km
Holleweg - 58km
Karel Martelstraat 68km
European champion Annemiek van Vleuten was back in the peloton on Wednesday following a block of altitude training after Strade Bianche. She came back with a bang, winning Dwars door Vlaanderen from a two-up sprint with Kasia Niewiadoma. Can she repeat her 2011 feat and win today? This is what she had to say after Wednesday's race.
📸It’s interview time for @AvVleuten in Oudenaarde!Can she repeat her victory in 2011?She’d be only the third woman ever to win twice after Miriam Melchers and Judith Arndt.#UCIWWT #rvvwomen pic.twitter.com/mj0VhojqmwApril 4, 2021
Just over 10 minutes to go!
The weather in Oudenaarde is partly cloudy with a very low chance of rain and an 8km/h northwesterly wind. So if anyone did a rain dance last night - it didn't work.
So, who are the favourites? Given the variety of winners over the past 12 years it's tricky to narrow it down. Defending champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak is surely up there, as is her SD Worx team mate Anna van der Breggen who is back for her first race since Strade Bianche. Of course, the aforementioned Annemiek van Vleuten is a favourite and Elisa Longo Borghini has shown herself to be on fine form lately. Plus, you can never rule out Women's World Tour classification leader Marianne Vos. Have a look at our 10 riders to watch to find out more.
If they're fuelled by this then my money's on Jumbo Visma.
🇧🇪 #RVVWomenToday’s race nutrition 🥚🐣 #HappyEaster pic.twitter.com/nbKrJMkxK7April 4, 2021
Defending champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak was targeting the now-postponed inaugural women's Paris Roubaix. Will she be able to channel her disappointment into an unprecedented second consecutive win?
And they're off! The riders will traverse the 9km neutral section first before the official start with 152.4km to go.
Let’s go!#UCIWWT #RVVwomen pic.twitter.com/c63W3ZB22BApril 4, 2021
So, the 8 former winners mentioned earlier who are in the peloton today are:
Annemiek van Vleuten - 2011
Marianne Vos - 2013
Ellen van Dijk - 2014
Elisa Longo Borghini - 2015
Lizzie Deignan - 2016
Anna van der Breggen - 2018
Marta Bastianelli - 2019
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak 2020
The race is officially on
152km to go
#RVVwomen After 9 km of neutralized zone it’s now time for the official start. #RVV21 pic.twitter.com/eQQ8ZZFmbzApril 4, 2021
Also in the peloton today is Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky who is feeling confident about her form after coming second to Marianne Vos at the last Women's World Tour race, Gent-Wevelgem last week.
Today's race is the fifth round of the 2021 Women's World Tour. To recap the previous rounds we had:
Strade Bianche won by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak
Trofeo Alfredo Binda Comune di Cittiglio won by Elisa Longo Borghini
Oxyclean Classic Brugge de Panne won by Grace Brown
Gent Wevelgem in Flanders Fields won by Marianne Vos
Here is today's course, starting and finishing in Oudenaarde, as you'll see, the climbs come thick and fast towards the end of the race!
Fien Van Eynde (Doltcini - Van Eyck Sport) and Mieke Kröger (Team Coop - Hitec Products) have a 15 second gap with Marijke De Smedt of Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team countering.
142km to go
Here are the two leaders and lone chaser
#RVVwomen pic.twitter.com/GiMZc14H7gApril 4, 2021
De Smedt has been caught by the peloton so it is Kröger and Van Eynde at the front with a 30 second lead.
Nice bit of alliteration from Liv Racing, maybe they're hinting at a hidden talent of Kopecky's, will she play us a guitar solo if she wins today...?
Ready to rock ’n roll in Flanders’ fields. 🎸🤘#RvVWomen pic.twitter.com/JT9Ugfrx8SApril 4, 2021
Marianne Vos is feeling confident about her chances today, she still gets nervous ahead of big races, though.
🇧🇪 #RVVwomen @marianne_vos on her chances for today: pic.twitter.com/CtevBatavxApril 4, 2021
The two leaders are caught
121km to go
10 years ago, Annemiek van Vleuten took the win in this race with none other than Marianne Vos in third, check out this footage of the finish.
#RVV21In 2011 @AvVleuten got her first and only RVV.10 years have passed and the 🇳🇱 is one of the big favorites for the win tomorrow.It seems that the years do not go through Annemiek.Her final celebration with @marianne_vos 🥉 is exciting.📽️UCI pic.twitter.com/OJYopVlCzBApril 3, 2021
It's about to get bumpy: the peloton are approaching the first set of cobbles, Lippenhovestraat (1.3km) followed immediately by the Paddestraat (1.5km)
112km to go
It's a fast one so far: the peloton have covered 40km in the first hour of racing! Will the pace stay high or will we see more moves get away?
🇧🇪 #RVVwomen 116 km 🏁The big bunch is back together after a small break away.April 4, 2021
First block of cobbles out of the way and they're all together.
🇧🇪 #RVVwomen 116 km 🏁The big bunch is back together after a small break away.April 4, 2021
With Ruth Winder not starting today Trek-Segafredo have five riders in the race. Here's what French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot had to say before the start:
🎙 They started with only 5 riders, but @TrekSegafredo are ALWAYS strong.We spoke to 🇫🇷 champion @CordonRagot #uciwwt #RVVwomen pic.twitter.com/VgWqgfIK8DApril 4, 2021
Speaking of Cordon-Ragot, it turns out that Thibaut Pinot isn't the only French pro with a penchant for goats
A photo posted by on
Femke Markus of Parkhotel Valkenburg has attacked, she has a 20 second lead
105km to go
In around 10km the riders will reach the first of 13 climbs, the Kattenber: 800m long with a maximum gradient of 11%
Would you believe it...
A photo posted by on
Here are a few images from earlier on in the race
Markus has been joined by Rozanne Slik of Bingoal Casino - Chevalmeire, Emilie Moberg of Drops-Le Col s/b TEMPUR, Inga Čečuliene of Aromitalia Vaiano and Amber Aernouts of Doltcini-Van Eyck. They have a 50 second lead!
100km to go
The peloton haven't given the five leaders much room, their gap is reduced to just 17 seconds as they head towards the second climb of the day, Edelare, 1.5km long with a maximum of 7%
90km to go
The peloton on the Holleweg
#RVVWomen #RondeVanVlaanderen #RVV21 #RVV #UCIWWT #FlandersClassics https://t.co/Khhl6ci2sVApril 4, 2021
The peloton are all together
85km to go
A rider I haven't mentioned yet today is Cecille Uttrup Ludwig, who told CyclingNews earlier this week: 'I'll risk everything because either you take a risk and win big, or lose big'. What will we see from her today?
Still all together as they go over the Karel Martelstraat followed by the Jagerij. It won't be long before they reach the Molenburg and things are sure to start kicking off.
80km to go
🏁83kmThe bunch, or what remains, is still together onto Karel martelstraat.Next is the cobbles of Jagerij then Molenberg. ⛰#uciwwt #rvvwomen pic.twitter.com/QwGTsHgP2KApril 4, 2021
As the Molenburg approaches will we see any moves go?
76km to go
#RVVwomen 🇧🇪Another breakaway came and went as the Molenberg approaches 🏔@moniektenniglo has been doing plenty of work on the front 💪 We're inside 80km to go! pic.twitter.com/NSPxgJ1er1April 4, 2021
All together still over the top of the Molenburg, next up: Marlboroughstraat.
71km to go
Still together, onwards to climb #6 - Berendries
65km to go
Attack from Jelena Eric of Movistar
Eric is brought back. Hannah Barnes of Canyon//SRAM is on the front of the peloton along with Christine Majerus of SD Worx and Marlen Reusser of Ale BTC CIty Ljubjlana.
At long last, live TV coverage is about to start, click here to find out how to watch the race where you are.
All together still as the peloton go up and over the Valkenburg. It looks like riders are keeping their powder dry for the Kanarieburg where attacks are often launched.
62km to go
Meanwhile, alert the authorities 🚨
Someone's lost a bidon and now a kid is forced to pick it up.. so sad #RVVWomenApril 4, 2021
More images coming through with Canyon//SRAM looking active and the figure of Christine Majerus perennially on the front of the bunch
SD Worx are controlling the front with Jumbo Visma close behind.
55km to go
Movistar take over, the pace is high and the bunch is all together as they head towards the 8th climb of the day, Berg Ten Houte.
Elisa Longo Boghini moves up, has she managed to recover from last week's efforts?
52km to go
Alison Jackson of Liv Racing takes up the front as the peloton start the Berg-ten-Houte
Mechanical for Arlenis Sierra of A.R Monex
Reminder that Jackson has the watts AND the moves
A photo posted by on
The bunch are lined out over the top of the Begr-ten-Houte and small splits have formed
49km to go
Sarah Roy of BikeExchange and some from Canyon//SRAM are caught out
Attack from Leah Thomas of Movistar
Thomas is quickly neutralised by Lisa Klein
The peloton have a headwind on the approach to the Kanarieberg
48km to go
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado of Plantur Pura was caught out in the splits over the last climb
Jolien d'Hoore of SD Worx lays it down at the front in the run-in to the Kanarieburg
46km to go
It's Alison Jackson on the front again
A photo posted by on
Attack by Annemiek van Vleuten! It's early doors but this is AVV we're talking about...
Marianne Vos and Kasia Niewiadoma shut her down, Marlen Reusser and Elisa Longo Borghini are close behind
Van Vleuten goes again with Cecille Uttrup Ludwig on her wheel, it looks like she's just trying to make the race hard rather than get away
45km to go
World champion Anna van der Breggen is sitting third wheel looking ominously comfortable
Soraya Paladin puts in an attack with Amy Pieters on her wheel but Annemiek van Vleuten shuts it straight down
43km to go
The race has split into small groups with a group of around 20 riders at the front comprised of most of the favourites.
The Big Gun Domestiques are out in force, Ellen van Dijk, Anna Henderson and Amy Pieters are controlling the front of this reduced bunch. The group containing Sarah Roy have joined the front group.
🚨Attack by Audrey Cordon-Ragot of Trek-Segafredo 🚨
A photo posted by on
Cordon-Ragot has a decent gap already as a third group containing Alice Barnes looks likely to rejoin the front soon.
40km to go
Cordon-Ragot is on climb #10 of the day and the peloton are hot on her wheels
Anna van der Breggen is at the back of the bunch on the Taaienberg
17 seconds for Cordon-Ragot as Sarah Roy starts is distanced
Cordon-Ragot's gap is down to 12 seconds
39km to go
The time gap to the third group (second bunch) on the road is 1'13"
Cecille Uttrup Ludwig and Emma Norsgaard are still in the front group, will we see a Danish double after Kasper Asgreen won the men's race?
37km to go
The chase eases up and Cordon-Ragot's gap goes back out to 22"
35km to go
Flootje Mackaij of DSM attacks
Mackaij is brought back but the peloton almost have Cordon-Ragot in sight
34km to go
37" for Cordon-Ragot
33m to go
Attack from Soraya Paladin of Liv racing with Anna Henderson of Jumbo-Visma straight on her wheel to shut it down closely followed by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.
The group behind contains all of the favourites with many of the top teams well-represented, Cordon-Ragot has teammates in there too in the form of Ellen van Dijk, Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan but the rest will want to start to pull this back soon.
30km to go
44" for Cordon-Ragot and 3.5km to the next climb, the Kruisberg.
Anna van der BReggen moves to the front and Cordon-Ragot's gap drops to 30"
29km to go
Brodie Chapman of FDJ Nouvelle Acquitane Futuroscope and Sarah Roy are distanced as Soraya Paladin puts in another move off the front
19" for Cordon-Ragot as Palladin forges a small gap
No goats for Paladin but she has recently acquired this lil guy
A photo posted by on
🚨attack from Cecille Uttrup Ludwig 🚨
26km to go
Uttrup Ludwig is brought back, the group now have both Paladin and Cordon-Ragot in their sights
Palladin has almost made it up to Cordon-Ragot the gap is 10 seconds
24km to go
The peloton are approaching Kwaremont and with 16.7km to go will hit the Oude Kwaremont. Paladin is caught.
20km to go
20 seconds for Cordon-Ragot as they approach the Oude Kwaremont, which is closely followed by the Patterberg. At the top of which there are 13km to the line.
19km to go
Cordon-Ragot is caught as they hit the Oude Kwaremont
Problem for Lotte Kopecky 🚨 Alison Jackson drops back to help bring her back
Anna van der Breggen takes to the front and the group splits
All aboard the van der Breggen train, who can follow? At the moment it's Grace Brown, Cecille Uttrup Ludwig, Annemiek van Vleuten, Elisa Longo-Borghini, Marta Cavalla and Lisa Brennauer, Demi Vollering. Vos and Niewiadoma distanced.
17km to go
It's only Grace Brown AGAIN chipping off the front, have the peloton learned nothing?
Annemiek van Vleuten rides up and over the top of Grace Brown who sticks to her wheel.
Crash for Yara Kastelijn of Plantur Pura
15km to go
Brown and van Vleuten are brought back
Onto the Paterberg and Van Vleuten takes up the front with Anna van der Breggen and Lisa Brenauer close behind.
Van Vleuten gets a gap over the top of the climb
13km to go
Can Van Vleuten take this with 13km to go? We've seen moves like this from her plenty of times before. 5" is her lead
12" for van Vleuten and the group behind are looking at one another
12km to go
The chasers have van Vleuten in their sight. Demi Vollering is pulling on the front for teammate Anna van der Breggen.
9.7km to go
14" for van Vleuten - can she take this all the way to the line?
8.4km to go
The group behind are looking somewhat more organised but they're going to have to really cooperate if they want to bring the former world time trial champion back.
6.9km to go
11 seconds for van Vleuten and the group behind are still not working together.
3.1km to go
19" Van Vleuten's gap is gong up as they go under the 2km to go banner
Van Vleuten goes under the Flamme Rouge and it looks like she's on the way to her second win at this race, 10 years since her first.
Brennauer takes second with Grace Brown in third.
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)
2. Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit WNT)
3. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange)
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo)
5. Demi Vollering (SD Worx)
6. Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)
7. Cecille Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)
8. Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx)
9. Marlen Reusser (Ale BTC Ljubjlana)
10. Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)
Anneiek van Vleuten winds the 2021 Women's Tour of Flanders. View the race report here.
The moment the race was won
#RVVwomen Exactly 1️⃣0️⃣ years after her first victory in the Tour of Flanders, @annemiekvanvleuten arrives solo in Oudenaarde! 🇳🇱 Congratulations! #RVV21 pic.twitter.com/ATKssPUUZmApril 4, 2021
The run-in to the finish. Notably, Anna van der Breggen does not sprint.
#RVVwomen🇧🇪🚴El triunfo de @AvVleuten en el Tour de Flandes Femenino @RondeVlaanderen 🎥 @sporza_koers pic.twitter.com/nfRzITCF4PApril 4, 2021
Let's hear from the winner, Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I had been hoping for this for ten years after my 2011 victory, and now it all fell into place. I am very proud, especially for my new team Movistar, the girls worked very hard for me, I was the number-one leader and could finish it off like this … I think we are going to celebrate big tonight”, said a happy Van Vleuten after the race.
“I tried to attack on the Kanarieberg, but there was a headwind, so I stopped again. But it prompted a reaction from the others, making it a good race, and that was to my advantage”, she continued. “I knew that there was nothing after the Paterberg, and I wanted to get to the top first. I had some doubts on the Kwaremont if I should counterattack after Anna’s move [van der Breggen, red.], but I thought, wait, wait, it is not on our team to take the initiative. SD Worx was in the group with several riders, and I could profit from that.”
Reliving the final 13 kilometres, Van Vleuten said: “I was so knackered. I really went all out. Eight seconds at the top was not much, I knew I needed more, to get out of sight, because of the long finishing straight.”
Impressive from the Movistar rider to take her second win in five days.
Annemiek van Vleuten can add Ronde van Vlaanderen, 2011 and 2021 to her palmares.
Grace Brown of Team BikeExchange was third today, here's what she had to say about her race:
“We had a good race, our plan today was for me to attack after the Kwaremont and I had a really good lead-in from my team from Sarah Roy and Amanda Spratt into the base and then I followed Anna van der Breggen the whole way up, second wheel. When we got onto the main road after the Kwaremont I did an attack and got a gap but unfortunately the girls closed it down pretty soon. So then I was just racing that bunch and Annemiek got off the front on the Paterberg which was a small gap and it felt like we should be able to bring it back but unfortunately it just wasn’t coordinated enough in the chase to do that.”
On her result she said, “you can’t be disappointed with a podium at Flanders, of course I came here wanting to win it but I’m really happy with third and I can have bigger goals for next year I think.”
Post-race emotions from Lisa Brennauer who took second:
WOOOOOWWWW!! 🤩2nd place @RondeVlaanderen for @LisaBrennauer 🍾🥈Great teamwork from @confa_mg @JulieLeth8 @kathrin_hammes @martusialach @LinTeutenberg!! 👊🏼#RVV21 pic.twitter.com/Hm5SRIUFgOApril 4, 2021
The final podium of the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen 2021
🥇 Annemiek van Vleuten - Movistar
🥈 Lisa Brennauer - Ceratizit-WNT
🥉 Grace Brown - TeamBikeExchange
Three strong riders on the podium of the Tour of Flanders!🏅 Congratulations to all of them! 👏 #RVV21 pic.twitter.com/35pJOIKmAqApril 4, 2021
That's it for our live coverage of the 2021 women's Tour of Flanders. Join us next time for the sixth round of the WWT, the Amstel Gold Race, on the 18th April.
Until then, have a great Sunday!
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