Lizzie Armitstead wins Women's Tour of Flanders

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) climbed to the top step of the podium on Sunday following a nail-biting finale to the women’s Tour of Flanders. The world champion edged out Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5) by a bike throw to the line in Oudennarde. Two seconds later, Armitstead’s teammate Chantal Blaak won the chase group sprint for third.

“It was a really strange race with just two in the front,” said Armitstead. “We had to commit. I didn’t leave anything for the sprint. Emma’s fast, and I didn’t underestimate her.

“It was a poker game in the end,” she added. “I didn’t have any radio, so I didn’t know what was happening.”

While Armitstead has had an incredible run in the rainbow jersey this spring, her early season wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda were part of her build to Sunday’s iconic show. Each time she’s fielded questions about her 2016 season objectives, she’s given an unwavering response. Her season has been planned around two key objectives: the Tour of Flanders and the 2016 Rio Olympics. With her Flanders victory, Armitstead has proven yet again that she can deliver on the biggest days of the season.

“It’s really special to win, and to win in the rainbow jersey is even more special,” said Armitstead. “It was the perfect day.”

The 2016 edition of the women’s Tour of Flanders, run on the same day and the same roads as the men’s race, covered 141 kilometres, including 10 classified climbs and five categorised cobble sectors. Two riders slipped away from the peloton in the opening 10 kilometres, but their moment of glory was short-lived. The bunch swallowed them up and chased down every early escape attempt that followed.

Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) proved the first rider capable of opening a gap. The cyclocross world champion attacked just beyond the Paddestraat, the fourth of the five cobbled sectors. De Jong’s compatriot Iris Slappendel (UnitedHealthcare) gave chase but was never able to make contact. The bunch was content to allow de Jong to dangle out front until the Kaperij climb, at which point Boels-Dolmans had enough and upped the pace to overtake the lone leader.

“Everyone had their role and everyone did it really well,” Armitstead told Cyclingnews. “Up until the Kanarieberg, I never touched the wind. Christine [Majerus] was taking care of me from the start. She did that really well. I was never out of position, and it made a big difference today.”

Over the Kanarieberg, the peloton split into three main groups. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) led the front group onto the Kruisberg where she accelerated, furthering the selection. Twenty kilometres from the finish, a 20-strong group reached the foot of the Oude Kwaremont.

“It came over the radio that Ellen [van Dijk] should make the race harder over Oude Kwarement,” noted Armitstead. “The race was still too much together. My plan was to go on the Paterberg, and we needed it to be more aggressive so that I could get away.

“Ellen set a really fierce pace over the Oude Kwarement that sort of brought everyone on their knees,” Armitstead added.

As attrition whittled down the group, defending champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) fired a shot. The Italian’s attack was quickly marked by Armitstead, Johansson and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo-Liv). Johansson accelerated over the Oude Kwaremont and put in another dig on the uphill run-in towards the Paterberg.

The Swedish champion’s second attack proved the race-maker. Armitstead jumped on Johansson’s wheel, and the duo immediately opened up a sizeable gap on a chase group of around 15 riders. While both riders committed to the move, Armitstead was clearly pulling more than her fair share.

“She didn’t give me a single turn into Paterberg, and I thought: ‘I’ll still make this work. I’ll attack her on Paterberg’ and I tried, but I couldn’t get her off my wheel,” explained Armitstead.

The duo crested the Paterberg with an 18-second advantage over a chase group of eight.

“A couple kilometres after the Paterberg, Emma decided to work, and we worked together until the final kilometre,” Armitstead explained.

The leading duo had only 10 seconds when they powered under the flamme rouge. Armitstead had three teammates in her wake; Johansson had one.

Stuck on the front in the run-in to the finish, Armitstead played the waiting game and forced Johansson to open the sprint. Armitstead followed suit, and the duo sprinted for the line side-by-side. Calling on her track background for the bike throw, Armitstead outsprinted Johansson for the win to take out round five of the UCI Women’s WorldTour.

“I needed her to open the sprint before me, and she did,” said Armitstead. “At that point, it’s not about who is fastest, it’s who is freshest. I was tired, and you could see that in my sprint. It was a race all the way to the line.

“I knew in my gut that I had won because I knew my momentum took me over the top of her,” she continued. “Generally you know in that situation, but I didn’t dare risk it. I knew for certain when she congratulated me.

“I’m delighted but it’s also a big relief,” Armitstead added. “I’ve got that win, that career goal done, and now it’s all about shifting focus. It’s a good way to start putting the spring behind me and thinking about Rio.”

With the win at Flanders, Boels-Dolmans remains unbeatable in the UCI Women’s WorldTour series. Armitstead has won rounds one (Strade Bianche), three (Trofeo Binda) and five (Tour of Flanders) and currently leads the series overall ahead of team mat Blaak, who won rounds two (Ronde van Drenthe) and four (Gent Wevelgem).

The secret to their success?

“We train really, really hard, and we have no social life,” said Armitstead.

Evie Stevens, who rode in support of Armitstead today, piped up to add: “We trust each other, and we commit, and we eat a lot of fucking oatmeal.”

The inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour series continues on 20 April with La Flèche Wallone.

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Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team3:43:27
2Emma Johansson (Swe) Wiggle High5Row 1 - Cell 2
3Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:00:02
4Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5Row 4 - Cell 2
6Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-AISRow 6 - Cell 2
8Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 8 - Cell 2
10Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team0:00:08
11Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS0:00:59
12Jessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 11 - Cell 2
13Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Olga Zabelinskaya (Rus) BepinkRow 13 - Cell 2
15Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS0:02:00
16Coryn Rivera (USA) UnitedHealthcare Women0:02:03
17Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Canyon-SRAMRow 16 - Cell 2
18Joelle Numainville (Can) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAMRow 18 - Cell 2
20Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Lensworld-ZannataRow 19 - Cell 2
21Amy Pieters (Ned) Wiggle High5Row 20 - Cell 2
22Malgorzta Jasinska (Pol) AlÈ CipolliniRow 21 - Cell 2
23Brianna Walle (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 22 - Cell 2
24Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-AISRow 24 - Cell 2
26Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products0:03:23
27Jolien D'hoore (Bel) Wiggle High50:03:26
28Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 28 - Cell 2
30Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City LjubljanaRow 29 - Cell 2
31Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 31 - Cell 2
33Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 32 - Cell 2
34Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAMRow 33 - Cell 2
35Elizabeth Williams (Aus) Orica-AISRow 34 - Cell 2
36Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) INPA - BianchiRow 35 - Cell 2
37Eileen Roe (GBr) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Aromitalia VaianoRow 37 - Cell 2
39Emilia Fahlin (Swe) AlÈ CipolliniRow 38 - Cell 2
40Julie Leth (Den) Hitec ProductsRow 39 - Cell 2
41Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 40 - Cell 2
42Alison Jackson (Can) Twenty16 - RidebikerRow 41 - Cell 2
43Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 42 - Cell 2
44Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 43 - Cell 2
45Linda Melanie Villumsen (NZl) UnitedHealthcare WomenRow 44 - Cell 2
46Saartje Vandenbroucke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'orRow 45 - Cell 2
47Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Liv-PlanturRow 46 - Cell 2
48Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Valerie Demey (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'orRow 50 - Cell 2
52Kaat Hannes (Bel) Lensworld-ZannataRow 51 - Cell 2
53Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 52 - Cell 2
54Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'orRow 53 - Cell 2
55Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Liv-PlanturRow 54 - Cell 2
56Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 55 - Cell 2
57Audrey Cordon (Fra) Wiggle High5Row 56 - Cell 2
58Amélie Rivat (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86Row 57 - Cell 2
59Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Lensworld-ZannataRow 58 - Cell 2
60Marie Vilmann (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 59 - Cell 2
61Nicole Brändli (Swi) Servetto FootonRow 60 - Cell 2
62Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare WomenRow 61 - Cell 2
63Evelyn Stevens (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAMRow 63 - Cell 2
65Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Twenty16 - RidebikerRow 64 - Cell 2
66Alison Tetrick (USA) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Anna Plichta (Pol) BTC City LjubljanaRow 66 - Cell 2
68Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team0:04:12
69Lenore Pipes (Gum) Bepink0:04:14
70Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Chanella Stougje (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Janneke Ensing (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Carlee Taylor (Aus) Team Liv-PlanturRow 72 - Cell 2
74Marta Bastianelli (Ita) AlÈ CipolliniRow 73 - Cell 2
75Laura Massey (GBr) Drops Cycling Team0:04:41
76Jennifer George (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Jessica Cerra (USA) Twenty16 - RidebikerRow 76 - Cell 2
78Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-ZannataRow 77 - Cell 2
79Sharon Laws (GBr) Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La SantaRow 78 - Cell 2
80Tetiana Riabchenko (Ukr) INPA - Bianchi0:05:43
81Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Hitec Products0:06:10
82Soraya Paladin (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 81 - Cell 2
83Nina Kessler (Ned) Lensworld-Zannata0:07:03
84Leah Thomas (USA) Twenty16 - RidebikerRow 83 - Cell 2
85Jip Van Den Bos (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Esra Tromp (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-SRAMRow 86 - Cell 2
88Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Špela Kern (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 88 - Cell 2
90Rozanne Slik (Ned) Team Liv-PlanturRow 89 - Cell 2
91Sofia Arreola (Mex) Twenty16 - Ridebiker0:08:17
92Ilona Hoeksma (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Diana Peñuela (Col) UnitedHealthcare WomenRow 92 - Cell 2
94Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) LointekRow 93 - Cell 2
95Iris Slappendel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare WomenRow 94 - Cell 2
96Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle High5Row 95 - Cell 2
97Oxana Kozonchuk (Rus) Lensworld-ZannataRow 96 - Cell 2
98Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Lex Albrecht (Can) Bepink0:11:15
100Loren Rowney (Aus) Orica-AISRow 99 - Cell 2
101Jesse Vandenbulcke (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Anna Potokina (Rus) Servetto Footon0:12:02
103Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Bepink0:12:35
104Silvia Valsecchi (Ita) Bepink0:14:00
105Alba Teruel Ribes (Spa) LointekRow 104 - Cell 2
106Katia Ragusa (Ita) Servetto Footon0:15:53
107Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling0:15:56
108Sara Penton (Swe) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
109Lauren Komanski (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 108 - Cell 2
110Elena Franchi (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFNatalie Van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFLouise Norman Hansen (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFMargriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFJermaine Post (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFPauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFBarbara Guarischi (Ita) Canyon-SRAMRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFStephanie Pohl (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFCharlotte Becker (Ger) Hitec ProductsRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFJanicke Gunvaldsen (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFValentina Scandolara (Ita) Cylance Pro CyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFLauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFEmily Collins (NZl) Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFLauren Hall (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFSara Mustonen (Swe) Team Liv-PlanturRow 123 - Cell 2
DNFJulia Soek (Ned) Team Liv-PlanturRow 124 - Cell 2
DNFAnnie Ewart (Can) UnitedHealthcare WomenRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFRoxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86Row 126 - Cell 2
DNFGreta Richioud (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86Row 127 - Cell 2
DNFAude Biannic (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86Row 128 - Cell 2
DNFCoralie Demay (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86Row 129 - Cell 2
DNFEugénie Duval (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86Row 130 - Cell 2
DNFJelena Eric (Srb) BTC City LjubljanaRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFUrsa Pintar (Slo) BTC City LjubljanaRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFTereza Medvedova (Svk) BepinkRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFTatiana Antoshina (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFKseniia Dobrynina (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFNatalya Sokovnina (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFAne Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) AlÈ CipolliniRow 137 - Cell 2
DNFAnna Trevisi (Ita) AlÈ CipolliniRow 138 - Cell 2
DNFDalia Muccioli (Ita) AlÈ CipolliniRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFLieselot Decroix (Bel) Lotto Soudal LadiesRow 140 - Cell 2
DNFEva Buurman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
DNFKelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'orRow 142 - Cell 2
DNFGilke Croket (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'orRow 143 - Cell 2
DNFJessy Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'orRow 144 - Cell 2
DNFAbby-Mae Parkinson (GBr) Servetto FootonRow 145 - Cell 2
DNFMaria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) Servetto FootonRow 146 - Cell 2
DNFMolly Meyvisch (Bel) Servetto FootonRow 147 - Cell 2
DNFLara Vieceli (Ita) INPA - BianchiRow 148 - Cell 2
DNFAna Maria Covrig (Rom) INPA - BianchiRow 149 - Cell 2
DNFSara Olsson (Swe) INPA - BianchiRow 150 - Cell 2
DNFClaudia Cretti (Ita) INPA - BianchiRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFMonia Baccaille (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 152 - Cell 2
DNFBeatrice Bartelloni (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 153 - Cell 2
DNFAlessia Bulleri (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 154 - Cell 2
DNFAlessia Martini (Ita) Aromitalia VaianoRow 155 - Cell 2
DNFShana Van Glabeke (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling TeamRow 156 - Cell 2
DNFSarah Rijkes (Aut) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling TeamRow 157 - Cell 2
DNFGloria Rodriguez Sanchez (Spa) LointekRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFRocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spa) LointekRow 159 - Cell 2
DNFAurore Verhoeven (Fra) LointekRow 160 - Cell 2
DNFMaria Del Mar Bonnin Palou (Spa) LointekRow 161 - Cell 2
DNFSara Headley (USA) Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La SantaRow 162 - Cell 2
DNFGabriella Shaw (GBr) Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La SantaRow 163 - Cell 2
DNFGrace Garner (GBr) Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La SantaRow 164 - Cell 2
DNFElizabeth-Jane Harris (GBr) Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La SantaRow 165 - Cell 2
DNFClaire Rose (GBr) Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La SantaRow 166 - Cell 2
DNFCamilla Møllebro (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 167 - Cell 2
DNFPernille Mathiesen (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 168 - Cell 2
DNFChristina Siggaard (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 169 - Cell 2
DNFTine Rasch Hansen (Den) Team BMS BirnRow 170 - Cell 2
DNFIrene Bitto (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 171 - Cell 2
DNFNicole Dal Santo (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFNadia Quagliotto (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 173 - Cell 2
DNFElena Leonardi (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 174 - Cell 2
DNFAsja Paladin (Ita) Top Girls Fassa BortoloRow 175 - Cell 2
DNFRebecca Durrell (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 176 - Cell 2
DNFLucy Shaw (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 177 - Cell 2
DNFTamiko Butler (Ant) Drops Cycling TeamRow 178 - Cell 2
DNFSophie Coleman (GBr) Drops Cycling TeamRow 179 - Cell 2


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