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European Championships: Elite Women's Road Race – Live report


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the UEC European Road Championships in Plouay, France. 

Today sees the elite women fight for the distinctive jersey and we'll have all the action from the race.

It's a rainy day in Brittany but the racing has been intense so far.  

The riders have covered three laps of the 12km Plouay circuit and face another five laps.

The race will cover a total of 109km. 

There are a total of 95 riders in the race. However an early crash saw around 20 riders go down hard.  

This was the roll out from the start in the rain.

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This tweet shows the tough weather conditions the riders face today.

Fortunately the weather is improving and we have a peloton of 30 riders chasing the attackers.  

There are 63km left to race and so it's a delicate moment in the race. There are some strong riders up front, including two from the Netherlands and two from Italy. 

Up front are Cordon-Ragot, Blaak, Brennauer, Chabey, Demey, Vollering, Lach, H Barnes, Majerus, Paladin and Cecchini. 

So who will lead the chase behind?  

The gap between the break and the peloton is now 45 seconds.

Earlier the U23 men also raced in the rain, with Jonas Iversby Hvideberg of Norway dominating the finish. 

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The biggest names in women's racing are on the front of the peloton but the gap to the break is rising.

Behind the Dutch riders are attacking and have split the peloton. Van der Breggen has dragged a group clear. 

Van Vleuten joins them, making four Ditch riders in the chase. There are also two in the break.  

As the race hits the finish area, the chasers are 15 seconds down on the 11 attackers. The peloton is 20 seconds further back.

The 13km circuit includes three short climbs and other rolling roads that inspire attacks and chases. 

Indeed the 11 have been joined by the chasers as each attack and each climbs makes a further selection.

The Netherlands are sending riders on the attack one after another. 

These are just some of thew names now in the front group: 

Chabbey, Paladin, Barnes, Brennauer, Lach, Blaak, Cecchini, Vollering, Cordon-Ragot, Majerus, Kopecki, Van der Breggen, Reusser, Pieters, Van Vleuten, Deignan, Niewadoma, Longo Borghini, Fahlin, Van Dijk, Ludwig, Vos and Cavalli.

50km to go

There are 23 riders up front. 

The Netherlands have a huge numerical advantage. They have 7 riders in the 23-rider move. Italy has 4 and Great Britain 2. 

The pace has slowed as the riders wait for the hardest parts of the 13km circuit.

Behind Denmark is leading the chase behind but it will be difficult for them.

Now van Vleuten ups the pace but others are on her wheel. 

The group dives down to the finish area. They face three more laps, so 40km of racing.

The chasers are now 50 seconds back. The race will be fought out by the 23 riders up front.  

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Italy have 4 riders up front but their sprinter and arguably team leader Marta Bastianelli is stick behind in the chase group.

Van Vleuten lines out the front group again but puts here own teammates into the red.


 There was a touch of wheels and several riders went down at speed on the wet roads. 

35km to go

The Netherlands are back in control of the front group and attacking again. 

There are only 12 or so riders left up front now.

Van Vleuten attacks again! 

Longo Borghini chases and joins Van Vleuten. 

Niewadoma is also there for Poland. The others are further behind. 

The Netherlands cannot now chase Van Vleuten surely? 

The chase group has split behind. This is aggressive racing.

Up front Niewadoma, Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini are working together. 

These are the riders up front: 

Attack: Van Vleuten, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma.

Chasers:  Vos, Van Dijk, Van der Breggen, Barnes, Pieters, Blaak, Vollering, Cavalli/Cecchini, Lach, Majerus & Cordon-Ragot. 

Lizzie Deignan has abandoned after her crash. 

Barnes and Majerus are leading the chase of  the  trio. 

But now the chase group has eased up.  

The trio lead by just 24 seconds. They're working together with two laps to race.   

There are some chasers between the lead trio and the chase group.  

Ludwig is the most aggressive behind as she tries to jump across or at least close the gap to the trio. 

Ludwig's surges is inspiring the chase and other riders are helping with the work. 

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak has attacked from the chase group to try to go across to the Van Vleuten, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma attack. 

The chase group has eased up now as they reach the 20km to go point. 

Blaak is just 10 seconds behind the trio of Van Vleuten, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma now.  

16km to go and the gap to the chasers is up to 1:00. This is now a four-rider race.

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The bell rings out for the final lap. 13km to go. 

The sun comes out as the chases pass the finish but they are now 50 seconds behind.

These were the terrible conditions at the start.

These were the terrible conditions at the start. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Up front we have the Dutch duo of Van Vleuten and Blaak and then Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma.   

Longo Borghini attacks! 

The Italian got a gap on the longest climb but Van Vleuten is there, as is Niewiadoma.  

Blaak has been dropped. That was a clever attack from the Italian after Blaak made a big effort to get across to them. 

Attack van Vleuten!

Niewiadoma has cracked but Longo Borghini is trying to close the gap.  

There is just 9km to go. 

This was Van Vleuten's attack. 

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7km to go.  

Niewiadoma has been joined by Blaak but Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini are 15 seconds ahead.  

5km to go.

Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini have eased, allowing Niewiadoma and Blaak to get back on. 

The last climb of Pont Neuf will be decisive and surely see attacks. 

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Longo Borghini attacks! 

Blaak is dropped. 

Even Van Vleuten is struggling to hold the way.

But she digs deep and makes her own attack. Longo Borghini is on her wheel.

Niewiadoma is distanced but is chasing. 

2km to go! 

Niewiadoma is suffering. This will be a Van Vleuten -v- Longo Borghini sprint for the European title. 

1km to go. 

Van Vleuten begins to play games.

Longo Borghini does a turn to keep the speed high. 

It's sprint time!

Van Vleuten jumps first. 

Van Vleuten holds on as the road rises and wins the European title!

The world champion went deep and Longo Borghini couldn't stay in her slipstream and fight back.  

Niewiadoma distanced Blaak behind to take the bronze medal. 

Cordon-Ragot has attacked and so takes fifth place.

The other riders sprint for sixth place.

Van Vleuten can hardly believe she's won after such an intense battle with Longo Borghini. 

Van Vleuten confirmed she will race for another two years but did not say with which team. 

She could stay with Mitchelton-Scott but can pick her future, with Jumbo-Visma to also create a women's team for 2021.

The Netherlands tactics seemed complex and possibly in conflict but Van Vleuten praised her team after his victory. 

“Thanks to the Dutch squad because we lined up with a dream team,” Van Vleuten, who has not raced a European Championships during her career prior to her victory in Plouay, said. 

“We had eight super-strong girls and we decided that it was in our advantage to make the race really hard. 

"Between myself and Anna van der Breggen, it was both our jobs to make the ace super hard to set something up for the other girls. I was so proud to race together with my team and I am so proud to do this together.”

On the podium, Van Vleuten pulls on the European jersey herself due to the COVID-19 protocol but she's happy and sings the Netherlands national anthem. 

Of course, as world champion, Van Vleuten will not wear the European champion's jersey, as the rainbow jersey has priority in races. 

Van Vleuten will race next at La Course in Nice on Saturday.  

6 wins in 8 races. That's an incredible strike rate from Van Vleuten. 

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Here's the moment Van Vleuten hits the finish line in Plouay, with Longo Borghini just behind her. 

PLOUAY FRANCE AUGUST 27 Arrival Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands Celebration Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy during the 26th UEC Road European Championships 2020 Womens Elite Road Race a 1092km race from Plouay to Plouay GrandPrixPlouay GPPlouay on August 27 2020 in Plouay France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

And this is the video of the sprint finish.

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Th rain made for a hard and ultimately selective race in Plouay. 

PLOUAY FRANCE AUGUST 27 Vita Heine of Norway Chantal Van Den Broek Blaak of The Netherlands during the 26th UEC Road European Championships 2020 Womens Elite Road Race a 1092km race from Plouay to Plouay GrandPrixPlouay GPPlouay on August 27 2020 in Plouay France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

To see our growing photo gallery, race report and results, click this link:

European Championships: Van Vleuten wins elite women's road race title (opens in new tab)

We're also live from the Tour de France Grand Depart in Nice, with all the latest news, interviews, photos and social posts. 

Click this link to stay up to date with the latest news as riders gather for the team presentation.

Tour de France countdown: 2 days to go – Live (opens in new tab)

Nice is ready for the start of the 2020 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Security and COVID-19 measures are tight in Nice to keep everyone safe.

The Tour de France will start in Nice

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 Despite finishing second, Italy and Elisa Longo Borghini rightly celebrated their place on the podium. 

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To read Kirsten Frattini's full  race report and to see our photo gallery and full results, click on this link:

European Championships: Van Vleuten wins elite women's road race title (opens in new tab)

PLOUAY FRANCE AUGUST 27 Podium Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy Silver medal Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands European Champion Jersey Gold medal Katarzyna Niewiadoma of Poland Bronze medal Celebration Flowers during the 26th UEC Road European Championships 2020 Womens Elite Road Race a 1092km race from Plouay to Plouay GrandPrixPlouay GPPlouay on August 27 2020 in Plouay France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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