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Demi Vollering struggles in La Flèche Wallonne finale: ‘I didn’t feel so good’

The Dutch rider takes third on Mur de Huy after a rare off-day.

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Demi Vollering (SD Worx) has said she did not “feel so good” during La Flèche Wallonne.

The Dutchwoman finished third after failing to follow the duo of Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and eventual winner Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) on the final part of the Mur de Huy.

SD Worx put in a typically strong performance Wednesday, covering moves and always having riders in the front, but ultimately, Vollering could not quite match the pace of Van Vleuten and Cavalli when they made the key attack in the final meters.

“I didn’t feel so good,” Vollering told CyclingPro.Net. “I felt a bit sleepy the whole race, I didn’t feel good. Also, my stomach was a bit upside down, I think. I think my breakfast was still on the way.”

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As well as not being able to hold onto the wheels of Van Vleuten and Cavalli, Vollering was visibly struggling as she finished the race, having to stop against the barrier just meters past the line. The Dutch rider also complained of dizziness when speaking to the media.

Despite Vollering suffering in the final, her SD Worx team had been working well all day in support of their leader, though possibly couldn’t make the race hard enough to drop its main competitors.

“In the beginning of the race it was a bit of a boring race I think,” Vollering said. “We had a group in front and Anna Shackley was in there, so it was perfect for us. She was also really strong, so it was perfect for us that she stayed away.”

Going into the final, a late attack from Niamh Fisher-Black helped string out the favorites and Vollering looked well-placed with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio in the group, but SD Worx had to settle for third in the end.

“When the group got brought back, we tried to make it a really hard final. That was, I think, all we could do.”

Vollering finished just ahead of teammate Moolman-Pasio in fourth, who was disadvantaged by a late mechanical.

Moolman-Pasio was efficiently paced back on by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, but that chase perhaps cost her the extra energy needed to help Vollering in the finale or go for the win herself.

After narrowly missing out on wins at Amstel Gold Race, Paris-Roubaix, and now Flèche Wallonne, SD Worx will be looking for redemption as it heads into Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège with Vollering as the defending champion.

“I’m really looking forward to Sunday, but now I feel I need some sleep.”