Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Annemiek van Vleuten takes solo win
Final climb attack secures victory, Grace Brown and Demi Vollering complete podium.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) won Liège-Bastogne-Liège after almost 14km solo, with an attack on the final Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons climb delivering the Dutch rider her first WorldTour win of the season.
The five-rider chasing group finished 43 seconds down on the winner, with Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) sprinting to second ahead of defending champion Demi Vollering (SD Worx) in third.
This is Van Vleuten’s second victory in Liège, and her first since Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after three second places in the last two months.
“I couldn’t believe it until the finish line,” Van Vleuten said at the finish. “Because it was a block headwind after Roche-aux-Faucons, so I knew already at the start it would be hard for a solo breakaway, because if they start to chase, they have an advantage with the wind. So, if they started to work together, I knew that they would catch me, so it was just one option: aero, full time trial mode, and give everything.
“Winning has become harder in women’s cycling, I think. There are more contenders. I know that I’m better than ever, in the spring, but it’s not that it always gives you the win. To have the confidence today to go two times, over La Redoute and Roche-aux-Faucons, and then it worked out – that’s the best.”
More to come…
🏁 🇳🇱@AvVleuten s’impose en solitaire ! 🏆
🏁 🇳🇱@AvVleuten wins in Liège! 🏆#LBLwomen pic.twitter.com/QJE4Ydm8Ai
— Liège-Bastogne-Liège (@LiegeBastogneL) April 24, 2022
How it happened
It was another early start for the peloton on Sunday morning as the 128-rider bunch rolled out of Bastogne, ready to tackle seven categorized climbs over 142.5km of racing.
Owing to the downhill start on the undulating course, the racing was fast and hard from the flag, making it a fight to get into the breakaway. A move from Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss) and early Flèche Wallonne attacker Katia Ragusa (Liv Xstra) marked the first attempt of the day, but the pair were never given any room and were brought back after 10km.
A flurry of attacks followed but it would take 33km and almost an hour of racing until a group was allowed to go up the road. Eventually, Magdeleine Vallieres Mill (EF Education-Tibco-SVB), Jeanne Korevaar, Quinty Ton (Liv Racing Xstra), and Flora Perkins (Le Col-Wahoo) would be the day’s early break.
At the 100km to go mark, the quartet had a lead of 1 minute 40 seconds heading into the first climbs of the day, with the bunch seemingly happy to let them go but keeping their leash short.
Back in the peloton, two teams lost key riders: Movistar’s Jelena Erić abandoned, a blow to Van Vleuten’s efforts, whilst Trek-Segafredo also saw Taylor Wiles pull out and Audrey Cordon-Ragot struggle on the climbs. There was no lack of pace in the bunch, though, and the leaders’ advantage fell to under a minute again over the second climb of the day, the Côte de Wanne.
A push by SD Worx in the peloton proved effective, slashing the break’s advantage to 15 seconds by the bottom of the third climb. The team caught the breakaway by the top Côte de La Haute-Levée. With still half the race to go, everything was back together.
THIS WAS AN EMOTIONAL ONE! 🙌🤗@AvVleuten | #LBLwomen
📸 @PhotoGomezSport pic.twitter.com/Q9nX6TSQcv
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) April 24, 2022
The calm didn’t last for long, as several riders took advantage of the regrouping to launch a move ahead of the Col du Rosier, the biggest climb of the day. It was the big WorldTour teams that got involved this time with the strong group of Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), Sara Martin (Movistar), Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo), Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM), Evita Muzic (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange), Leah Kirchmann (Team DSM), and Clara Honsinger (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) opening up a gap of a minute on the climb.
As one of the major teams not represented up the road, UAE Team ADQ set the pace in the bunch but the advantage remained steady for eight leaders.
Though the break was working together, it seemed some teams were less committed than others, with Van Vleuten’s teammate Martin sitting on the back and SD Worx chasing from behind despite having Reusser in the group. On the Côte de la Redoute, the peloton had brought the leaders’ advantage down to under 30 seconds, and it was Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio who set a high tempo to string out the group.
Her efforts made the climb hard, but it was Van Vleuten who took advantage of the situation to launch an attack toward the summit, overtaking the previous break with only Reusser able to hold onto her wheel.
Behind the leading duo, a group formed of a mixture of the former leaders and the chasers, comprising Spratt, Muzic, Thomas, Paladin, Marta Cavalli, Elisa Longo Borghini, Vollering and Moolman-Pasio. Though pushing on in pursuit of Van Vleuten and Reusser, this group swelled as it was rejoined by the likes of Grace Brown and Pauliena Rooijakkers.
Despite Van Vleuten’s commitment, the Dutchwoman struggled to get any cooperation from Reusser, and the pair were caught by the chasers heading into the final 20km.
As soon as the catch was made, Brown launched a powerful counter-attack and stretched a gap of over 20 seconds. But when the race hit the final climb on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, another attack from Van Vleuten saw Brown’s advantage tumble.
Van Vleuten initially took Cavalli, Longo Borghini, Moolman-Pasio, and Vollering with her, but the Movistar rider dug in and went solo over the top of the climb and she held an advantage of 16 seconds going into the final 10km.
Van Vleuten’s lead was never fully secure, but a slightly disjointed chase behind and a strong solo ride from her meant she went under the flamme rouge with over 30 seconds of advantage. She crossed the finish line alone to comfortably take the second Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory of her career, and her first WorldTour victory of the season, finally turning around a run of second places.
In the sprint for second, Cavalli led out Brown and Moolman-Pasio sprinted alongside Vollering. It was 2019 runner-up Brown who sealed second again, whilst defending champion Vollering had to settle for third.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes Results
|1||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Movistar Team||3:52:32|
|2||BROWN Grace||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:43|
|3||VOLLERING Demi||Team SD Worx||0:43|
|4||MOOLMAN Ashleigh||Team SD Worx||0:43|
|5||LONGO BORGHINI Elisa||Trek - Segafredo||0:43|
|6||CAVALLI Marta||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:47|
|7||SIERRA Arlenis||Movistar Team||1:58|
|8||LIPPERT Liane||Team DSM||1:58|
|9||NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna||Canyon//SRAM Racing||1:58|
|10||SPRATT Amanda||Team BikeExchange - Jayco||1:58|
|11||ROOIJAKKERS Pauliena||Canyon//SRAM Racing||1:58|
|12||LABOUS Juliette||Team DSM||2:05|
|13||GARCÍA Mavi||UAE Team ADQ||2:55|
|14||KOSTER Anouska||Team Jumbo-Visma||2:55|
|15||PALADIN Soraya||Canyon//SRAM Racing||2:55|
|16||VAN ANROOIJ Shirin||Trek - Segafredo||2:55|
|17||SANTESTEBAN Ane||Team BikeExchange - Jayco||2:55|
|18||FISHER-BLACK Niamh||Team SD Worx||2:55|
|20||MUZIC Évita||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||2:55|
|21||REUSSER Marlen||Team SD Worx||2:55|
|22||HENDERSON Anna||Team Jumbo-Visma||2:55|
|23||THOMAS Leah||Trek - Segafredo||2:55|
|24||PINTAR Urška||UAE Team ADQ||2:55|
|25||LÉVÉNEZ Sandra||Cofidis Women Team||2:55|
|26||VAN DE VELDE Julie||Plantur-Pura||3:01|
|27||MARTÍN Sara||Movistar Team||4:28|
|28||HONSINGER Clara||EF Education-TIBCO-SVB||4:28|
|29||CHABBEY Elise||Canyon//SRAM Racing||4:49|
|30||VAS Blanka||Team SD Worx||4:49|
|31||KIRCHMANN Leah||Team DSM||4:49|
|32||COSTON Morgane||Arkéa Pro Cycling Team||4:49|
|33||MANLY Alexandra||Team BikeExchange - Jayco||4:49|
|34||MORICHON Anais||Arkéa Pro Cycling Team||4:49|
|35||PATIÑO Paula Andrea||Movistar Team||4:49|
|36||BARIL Olivia||Valcar - Travel & Service||4:49|
|37||MAGNALDI Erica||UAE Team ADQ||4:49|
|38||KRAAK Amber||Team Jumbo-Visma||4:49|
|39||HAMMES Kathrin||EF Education-TIBCO-SVB||4:49|
|40||BRAND Lucinda||Trek - Segafredo||4:49|
|41||BIRIUKOVA Yuliia||Arkéa Pro Cycling Team||4:49|
|42||DRONOVA-BALABOLINA Tamara||Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad||6:09|
|43||HOLDEN Elizabeth||Le Col - Wahoo||6:09|
|44||LOWDEN Joscelin||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||6:09|
|45||LUDWIG Hannah||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||6:09|
|46||SCHOENS Quinty||Parkhotel Valkenburg||6:09|
|47||NEYLAN Rachel||Cofidis Women Team||6:09|
|48||AMIALIUSIK Alena||Canyon//SRAM Racing||6:09|
|49||WILLIAMS Georgia||Team BikeExchange - Jayco||6:09|
|50||HARVEY Mikayla||Canyon//SRAM Racing||6:09|
|51||AALERUD Katrine||Movistar Team||8:20|
|52||MACKAIJ Floortje||Team DSM||8:20|
|53||OTTESTAD Mie Bjørndal||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||8:39|
|54||KERBAOL Cédrine||Cofidis Women Team||8:39|
|55||TON Quinty||Liv Racing Xstra||11:34|
|56||CLAES Lotte||Bingoal Casino - Chevalmeire - Van Eyck Sport||11:34|
|57||BERTIZZOLO Sofia||UAE Team ADQ||11:34|
|58||CHAPMAN Brodie||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||11:34|
|59||BREDEWOLD Mischa||Parkhotel Valkenburg||11:34|
|60||BUJAK Eugenia||UAE Team ADQ||12:57|
|61||JACKSON Alison||Liv Racing Xstra||12:57|
|62||STEPHENS Lauren||EF Education-TIBCO-SVB||12:57|
|63||VALLIERES Magdeleine||EF Education-TIBCO-SVB||12:57|
|64||BARALE Francesca||Team DSM||12:57|
|65||SOET Aafke||Team Jumbo-Visma||12:57|
|66||GEURTS Mijntje||Lotto Soudal Ladies||12:57|
|67||DOCX Mieke||Lotto Soudal Ladies||12:57|
|68||BUIJSMAN Nina||Human Powered Health||12:57|
|69||GERRITSE Femke||Parkhotel Valkenburg||12:57|
|70||CARBONARI Anastasia||Valcar - Travel & Service||12:57|
|71||TOWERS Alice||Le Col - Wahoo||12:57|
|72||BERTON Nina||Andy Schleck - CP NVST - Immo Losch||12:57|
|73||JASKULSKA Marta||Liv Racing Xstra||12:57|
|74||WIEL Jade||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||12:57|
|75||STANNARD Elizabeth||Valcar - Travel & Service||12:57|
|76||YONAMINE Eri||Human Powered Health||12:57|
|77||KOREVAAR Jeanne||Liv Racing Xstra||12:57|
|78||BARNES Hannah||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||12:57|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.