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Deignan held off a desperate chase by Grace Brown (Mitchelton Scott), who launched in pursuit with 15km to go. Though the Australian managed to demolish the initial gap of around one minute to Deignan, she was left to settle for second place, nine seconds back.
Ellen van Dijk launched a long sprint from the chase group to give Trek-Segafredo a one-three on the podium.
“It’s really special, we’ve been waiting to win a classic like this, we’ve been almost there so many times,” Deignan said after the race. “I had a perfect team all day, this is for the team – this is a Trek Segafredo win.”
The Brit’s long-range move defied her typical victory from a sprint. However, with her teammate van Dijk in the group behind, Deignan had the freedom to roll the dice with her speculative move.
“The nicest thing on this team is that we’re given freedom to ride on instinct and not fear failure,” Deignan explained. “I thought I need to be over La Redoute before Anna [van der Breggen], Annemiek [van Vleuten] and Elisa [Longo-Borghini], so I just raced on instinct.”
Deignan’s victory in the hills of the Ardennes makes a notable addition to her prolific palmarès, which includes the world championships, Tour of Flanders, Strade Bianche, and the Women’s Tour. The Brit has been on top form since racing resumed in summer, taking victory at GP Plouay and La Corse and grabbing top-six finishes at the world championships and La Flèche Wallonne.
The 135km race, which rolled out under heavy rain early in the morning, played out on a condensed course of the men’s parcours and featured many of the same climbs.
The pace was red-hot from the start, but it was only on midway that the pivotal move went, when a group of nine went clear of the peloton.
Deignan, Brown, Juliette Labous (Sunweb), Amy Pieters (Boels Domlmans), Katerine Aalerud (Movistar), Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv), Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Marlon Reusser (Equipe Paule Ka) and Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) formed the stellar group that soon put a significant gap over the peloton, which still included many pre-race favorites.
Deignan made her move on the iconic La Redoute climb with 30km to go, attacking at the base of the hill and soon powering away to over one minute of a gap.
While the escape group was slow to respond to the Brit’s move, the peloton behind splintered with Leanne Lippert (Sunweb), Ashleigh Moolman (CCC Liv), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ) attempting to bridge across to the chasers.
It wasn’t until around 20km to go and with Deignan having forged a sizable gap that Vos began to up the pace in the chasers, and shortly after that, Brown attacked out of the group to begin her desperate pursuit.
The gap to Deignan soon halved as the Australian powered over the final climb of the Roche-Aux-Faucons. Going into the flat final five kilometers, Brown had Deignan in her eye line at around 10 seconds ahead. However, the experienced Brit kept her cool and powered on to the finish straight solo, affording herself a final look over her shoulder and sigh of relief before rolling over the line to take victory.
“It was horrible,” Deignan said of knowing Brown was so close in the final minutes. “In the end, I decided to try to chase the motorbikes in front of me rather than worry about her behind me, because mentally it cracks you if you think like that… I was just praying the line would come faster.”
Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes Results
|1||DEIGNAN Elizabeth||Trek-Segafredo Women||3:29:48|
|3||VAN DIJK Ellen||Trek-Segafredo Women||2:19|
|4||VOS Marianne||CCC - Liv||2:19|
|5||PIETERS Amy||Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team||2:19|
|6||BARNES Hannah||Canyon//SRAM Racing||2:21|
|7||REUSSER Marlen||Équipe Paule Ka||2:21|
|8||LABOUS Juliette||Team Sunweb||2:21|
|9||AALERUD Katrine||Movistar Team||2:26|
|10||LIPPERT Liane||Team Sunweb||3:27|
|11||VOLLERING Demi||Parkhotel Valkenburg||3:27|
|12||MACKAIJ Floortje||Team Sunweb||3:27|
|13||CHABBEY Elise||Équipe Paule Ka||3:27|
|14||WINDER Ruth||Trek-Segafredo Women||3:27|
|15||PALADIN Soraya||CCC - Liv||3:27|
|16||MOOLMAN Ashleigh||CCC - Liv||3:27|
|17||LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||3:27|
|18||CAVALLI Marta||Valcar - Travel & Service||3:27|
|19||NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna||Canyon//SRAM Racing||3:27|
|20||FAULKNER Kristen||Team TIBCO - SVB||3:27|
|21||HARVEY Mikayla||Équipe Paule Ka||3:27|
|22||GUDERZO Tatiana||Alé BTC Ljubljana||3:27|
|23||GARCÍA Mavi||Alé BTC Ljubljana||3:27|
|24||VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK Chantal||Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team||3:27|
|25||LONGO BORGHINI Elisa||Trek-Segafredo Women||3:33|
|26||VAN DER BREGGEN Anna||Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team||3:35|
|27||FISHER-BLACK Niamh||Équipe Paule Ka||3:38|
|28||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Mitchelton-Scott||3:40|
|29||SIERRA Arlenis||Astana Womens Team||4:12|
|30||BUJAK Eugenia||Alé BTC Ljubljana||4:12|
|31||STEPHENS Lauren||Team TIBCO - SVB||4:12|
|32||ERIĆ Jelena||Movistar Team||4:12|
|33||RAGUSA Katia||Astana Womens Team||4:12|
|34||LÉVÉNEZ Sandra||Team Arkéa||4:12|
|35||PINTAR Urša||Alé BTC Ljubljana||4:12|
|37||MAJERUS Christine||Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team||4:28|
|38||BALSAMO Elisa||Valcar - Travel & Service||4:38|
|39||JACKSON Alison||Team Sunweb||5:52|
|40||BEEKHUIS Teuntje||Lotto Soudal Ladies||6:53|
|41||KIRCHMANN Leah||Team Sunweb||8:39|
|42||MUZIC Évita||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||8:39|
|43||CHURSINA Anastasiia||Alé BTC Ljubljana||8:59|
|44||NOVOLODSKAIA Maria||Cogeas - Mettler Pro Cycling Team||8:59|
|45||KLIMOVA Diana||Cogeas - Mettler Pro Cycling Team||9:30|
|46||VAN DER BURG Nancy||Parkhotel Valkenburg||9:30|
|47||RATTO Rossella||Chevalmeire Cycling Team||9:30|
|48||LUDWIG Hannah||Canyon//SRAM Racing||9:30|
|49||HAMMES Kathrin||Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling||9:30|
|50||PATIÑO Paula Andrea||Movistar Team||9:30|
|51||VIECELI Lara||Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling||9:30|
|52||HEINE Vita||Hitec Products||10:51|
|53||VAN DE VEL Sara||Ciclotel||10:51|
|54||RODRÍGUEZ Gloria||Movistar Team||11:03|
|55||KESSLER Nina||Team TIBCO - SVB||11:03|
|56||CHAPMAN Brodie||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||11:03|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.