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Vos wins women’s Flèche Wallonne

Dutch phenom Marianne Vos outgunned her challengers on the painfully steep slopes of the Mur de Huy to take a repeat win at the Flèche Wallonne women’s World Cup. Vos scaled the brutal kilometer-long pitch the fastest, dropping Marta Bastionelli (Italian National), Judith Arndt (High Road) and three-time winner Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) near the summit to take the fourth World Cup round of 2008. The victory was reminiscent of her 2007 victory, which saw Vos ride a tiring Cooke up the 25 percent pitch, then sprint to victory in the closing meters.

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By Fred Dreier

Dutch phenom Marianne Vos outgunned her challengers on the painfully steep slopes of the Mur de Huy to take a repeat win at the Flèche Wallonne women’s World Cup.

Vos scaled the brutal kilometer-long pitch the fastest, dropping Marta Bastionelli (Italian National), Judith Arndt (High Road) and three-time winner Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) near the summit to take the fourth World Cup round of 2008.

The victory was reminiscent of her 2007 victory, which saw Vos ride a tiring Cooke up the 25 percent pitch, then sprint to victory in the closing meters.

“I was expecting to see this — [Vos] is so strong,” said Arndt, winner of the women’s Tour of Flanders on April 6. “We don’t have a chance against her.”

The win continues a season of success for the young Dutchwoman, who claimed the UCI world title in the points race at the 2008 track world championships on March 29 in Manchester, England. That win earned Vos the distinction of becoming the first elite cyclist to earn world titles in three cycling disciplines. Vos took the road race world title and cyclocross world title in 2006.

The women’s field took to the 103.5km course beneath sunny skies in downtown Huy, Belgium’s gateway to the Ardennes region on the banks of the river Huy. In its 11th edition, the Flèche Wallonne women’s race covers the same climb-heavy final loop as the men’s event.

The front of the women’s field stayed together through the first half of the race. Fabiana Luperini broke free early, forcing the Cervelo-Lifeforce team to the front to reel in the surging Italian. The day’s first major aggression happened on the Cote de Bohissau, a 3.4km climb coming roughly 30km from the finish that averages 4 percent. American Amber Neben (Flexpoint) went away with reigning world champ Bastionelli, Noemi Cantele (Bigla) and Cooke. The presence of such talent in the attack awakened the peloton, which fought to bring the four back.

With more attacks coming on the slopes of the Cote de Ahin, a 2.4km climb just 10km from the finish, the women’s field was whittled down to 30 riders. With Brit Emma Pooley driving the pace to set up her teammate Cooke, and Australian rider Oenone Wood looking to set up Arndt, the group sprinted toward the base of the Mur in downtown Huy.

That’s when the group shattered as riders threw themselves at the steep hill. Vos and Arndt separated themselves from the group with 400 meters remaining, but Vos took over with 200 meters to go. A surging Basionelli slipped by the fading German to finish second. Canadian Alex Wrubleski also made a late surge, crossing the line gasping in fourth place, just ahead of Neben. Pooley crossed the line in sixth place with Cooke fading to a disappointing eighth.

“This is a climb where if you have the legs you win and if you don’t, you lose,” Neben said. “It’s a real sprinter’s climb because of the steepness.”

With her win Vos took the lead in the 2008 women’s World Cup rankings with 152 points, bumping former leader Susanne De Goede (Nurnburger) into second place with 133.

Results

Women’s Flèche Wallonne

1. Marianne Vos (Ned), Team DSB Bank, 103.5km in 2:46:42

2. Marta Bastianelli (I), Italian National Team, at 0:01

3. Judith Arndt (G), Team High Road, at 0:02

4. Alex Wrubleski (Can), Canadian National Team, at 0:09

5. Amber Neben (USA), Team Flexpoint, at 0:13

6. Emma Pooley (GB), Great Britain National Team, at 0:17

7. Nicole Brändli (Swi), Bigla Cycling Team, same time

8. Nicole Cooke (GB), Great Britain National Team, s.t.

9. Sofie Goor (B), Lotto-Belisol, at 0:20

10. Lieselot Decroix (B), Lotto-Belisol, at 0:22

11. Grete Treier (Est), Gauss RDZ Ormu, at 0:25

12. Emma Johansson (Swe), AA-Drink Cycling Team, s.t.

13. Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu), Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, at 0:28

14. Christiane Soeder (A), Cervelo Lifeforce, at 0:33

15. Tatiana Stiajkina (Ukr), USC Chirio Forno d’Asolo, at 0:35

16. Suzanne De Goede (Ned), Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, at 0:37

17. Monika Schachl (A), Austrian National Team, at 0:41

18. Regina Bruins (Ned), Dutch National Team, at 0:45

19. Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu), USC Chirio Forno d’Asolo, s.t.

20. Priska Doppmann (Swi), Cervelo Lifeforce, s.t.

21. Irene Van Den Broek (Ned), AA-Drink Cycling Team, at 0:48

22. Julia Martisova (Rus), Gauss RDZ Ormu, s.t.

23. Grace Verbeke (B), Lotto-Belisol, s.t.

24. Lorian Graham (Aus), Vrienden Van Het Platteland, s.t.

25. Anne Samplonius (Can), Canadian National Team, at 0:54

26. Eva Lutz (G), Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, at 0:57

27. Fabiana Luperini (I), Menikini-Selle Italia, at 0:58

28. Daiva Tuslaite (Ltu), Lithuanian National Team, s.t.

29. An Van Rie (B), Vrienden Van Het Platteland, s.t.

30. Noemi Cantele (I), Bigla Cycling Team, 1:02

31. Sharon Laws (GB), Great Britain National Team, s.t.

32. Oenone Wood (Aus), Team High Road, 1:08

33. Trixi Worrack (G), Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, 1:11

34. Kristin Armstrong (USA), Cervelo Lifeforce, 1:14

35. Anita Valen De Vries (Nor), Team Flexpoint, 1:25

36. Nikki Egyed (Aus), Vrienden Van Het Platteland, s.t.

37. Sara Carrigan (Aus), Lotto-Belisol, 1:26

38. Hanka Kupfernagel (G), German National Team, 1:36

39. Paulina Brzezna (Pol), AA-Drink Cycling Team, 1:40

40. Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Ned), Team Flexpoint, 1:41

41. Christine Thorburn (USA), USA National Team, 1:45

42. Andrea Bosman (Ned), Team DSB Bank, 1:48

43. Andrea Grauss (A), Bigla Cycling Team, s.t.

44. Silvia Parietti (I), Gauss RDZ Ormu, 1:49

45. Diana Ziliute (Ltu), Lithuanian National Team, 1:50

46. Giorgia Bronzini (I), Italian National Team, 1:53

47. Jennifer Hohl (Swi), Bigla Cycling Team, s.t.

48. Kori Kelley Seehafer (USA), Menikini-Selle Italia, s.t.

49. Bianca Knoepfle (G), Team Flexpoint, s.t.

50. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned), Team Flexpoint, 1:56

51. Kirsten Wild (Ned), AA-Drink Cycling Team, s.t.

52. Kimberly Anderson (USA), Team High Road, s.t.

53. Liesbeth De Vocht (B), Vrienden Van Het Platteland, s.t.

54. Loes Sels (B), Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson , at 2:02

55. Chantal Beltman (Ned), Team High Road, at 2:08

56. Luise Keller (G), Team High Road, at 2:27

57. Zulfiya Zabirova (Kaz), Bigla Cycling Team, at 2:38

58. Claudia Häusler (G), Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, at 3:32

59. Katharine Carroll (USA), USA National Team, at 3:33

60. Tina Liebig (G), Team DSB Bank, at 3:34

61. Oxana Kozonchuk (Rus), Menikini-Selle Italia, at 3:36

62. Linda Villumsen Serup (Den), Team High Road, at 3:38

63. Erika Vilunaite (Ltu), Lithuanian National Team, s.t.

64. Leigh Hobson (Can), Canadian National Team, s.t.

65. Erinne Willock (Can), Canadian National Team, at 3:42

66. Marta Vila Josana Andreu (Sp), Spanish National Team, at 3:49

67. Felicia Greer (Can), Canadian National Team, at 3:53

68. Catherine Delfosse (B), Lotto-Belisol, at 3:56

69. Sanne Van Paassen (Ned), Dutch National Team, at 3:58

70. Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu), Lithuanian National Team, at 4:00

71. Sophie Creux (F), French National Team, s.t.

72. Karin Thürig (Swi), Cervelo Lifeforce, s.t.

73. Suzanne Van Veen (Ned), Team Flexpoint, s.t.

74. Laure Werner (B), AA-Drink Cycling Team, at 4:08

75. Maryline Salvetat (F), French National Team, at 4:15

76. Marina Jaunatre (F), Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:21

77. Sharon Van Essen (Ned), Team DSB Bank, at 7:13

78. Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Ltu), Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, at 8:10

DNF Francesca Tognali (I), Italian National Team

DNF Alice Donadoni (I), Italian National Team

DNF Alessandra D’Ettorre (I), Italian National Team

DNF Sjoukje Dufoer (B), Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson

DNF Katrien Van Looy (B), Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson

DNF Karen Steurs (B), Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson

DNF Tine Ghyselinck (B), Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson

DNF Kelly Druyts (B), Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson

DNF Kathryn Watt (Aus), Lotto-Belisol

DNF Ausrine Trebaite (Ltu), Lithuanian National Team

DNF Silvia Tirado Marquez (Sp), Spanish National Team

DNF Rosario Rodriguez Gomez (Sp), Spanish National Team

DNF Patricia Perez Jimenez (Sp), Spanish National Team

DNF Maribel Moreno Allue (Sp), Spanish National Team

DNF Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria Mazaga (Sp), Spanish National Team

DNF Audrey Cordon (F), Vienne Futuroscope

DNF Emmanuelle Merlot (F), Vienne Futuroscope

DNF Nathalie Jeuland (F), Vienne Futuroscope

DNF Corine Hierckens (B), Vienne Futuroscope

DNF Karine Gautard (F), Vienne Futuroscope

DNF Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu), USC Chirio Forno d’Asolo

DNF Uenia Fernandes Da Souza (Bra), USC Chirio Forno d’Asolo

DNF Clemilda Fernandes Silva (Bra), USC Chirio Forno d’Asolo

DNF Alona Andruk (Ukr), USC Chirio Forno d’Asolo

DNF Sissy Van Alebeek (Ned), Dutch National Team

DNF Judith Helmink (Ned), Dutch National Team

DNF Arenda Grimberg (Ned), Dutch National Team

DNF Veronica Andreasson (Swe), Bigla Cycling Team

DNF Béatrice Thomas (F), French National Team

DNF Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (F), French National Team

DNF Mélanie Bravard (F), French National Team

DNF Stéphanie Baud (F), French National Team

DNF Marit Huisman (Ned), Vrienden Van Het Platteland

DNF Martine Bras (Ned), Vrienden Van Het Platteland

DNF Betina Hold (Can), Canadian National Team

DNF Ludivine Henrion (B), AA-Drink Cycling Team

DNF Bernadette Schober (A), Austrian National Team

DNF Daniela Pintarelli (A), Austrian National Team

DNF Karin Pekovits (A), Austrian National Team

DNF Corinna Kreidl (A), Austrian National Team

DNF Manuela Grünzwell (A), Austrian National Team

DNF Marlen Jöhrend (G), German National Team

DNF Corinna Thumm (G), German National Team

DNF Romy Kasper (G), German National Team

DNF Virginia Hennig (G), German National Team

DNF Elke Gebhardt (G), German National Team

DNF Emma Rickards (Aus), Cervelo Lifeforce

DNF Sarah Düster (G), Cervelo Lifeforce

DNF Marina Romoli (I), Menikini-Selle Italia

DNF Miho Oki (Jpn), Menikini-Selle Italia

DNF Nathalie Bates (Aus), Menikini-Selle Italia

DNF Hannah Verhaeghe (B), Belgian National Team

DNF Annick Van Leuven (B), Belgian National Team

DNF Mieke Declercq (B), Belgian National Team

DNF Lien Beyen (B), Belgian National Team

DNF Ine Beyen (B), Belgian National Team

DNF Anne Arnouts (B), Belgian National Team

DNF Elodie Touffet (F), Gauss RDZ Ormu

DNF Verónica Leal Balderas (Mex), Gauss RDZ Ormu

DNF Tatiana Guderzo (I), Gauss RDZ Ormu

DNF Carmen McNellis (USA), USA National Team

DNF Alison Powers (USA), USA National Team

DNF Lauren Franges (USA), USA National Team

DNF Katheryn Curi (USA), USA National Team

DNF Catherine Hare (GB), Great Britain National Team

DNF Jessica Allen (GB), Great Britain National Team

DNF Adrie Visser (Ned), Team DSB Bank

DNF Noortje Tabak (Ned), Team DSB Bank

World Cup standings

1. Marianne Vos (Nl), DSB Bank, 152 points

2. Suzanne De Goede (Nl), Nurnberger, 133

3. Judith Arndt (G), High Road, 117

4. Emma Pooley (GB), Specialized, 99

5. Marta Basianelli (I), Italian National, 86

6. Chantal Beltman (Nl) High Road, 81

7. Katheryn Curi-Mattis (USA), Webcor, 75

8. Ina Teutenberg (G), High Road, 70

9. Kristin Armstrong (USA), Cervelo-Lifeforce, 61

10. Oenone Wood (Aus), High Road, 61