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Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes: Lizzie Deignan holds off late chase to take solo victory

British rider holds off searing late chase from Grace Brown to take her first victory at the Ardennes race.

Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo) attacked out of a strong lead group with 30 kilometers to go before time trialing her way to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes on Sunday.

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

Stage
RankNameTeamTime
1DEIGNAN ElizabethTrek-Segafredo Women 3:29:48
2BROWN GraceMitchelton-Scott0:09
3VAN DIJK EllenTrek-Segafredo Women 2:19
4VOS MarianneCCC - Liv2:19
5PIETERS AmyBoels - Dolmans Cycling Team2:19
6BARNES HannahCanyon SRAM Racing2:21
7REUSSER MarlenÉquipe Paule Ka2:21
8LABOUS JulietteTeam Sunweb2:21
9AALERUD KatrineMovistar Team2:26
10LIPPERT LianeTeam Sunweb3:27
11VOLLERING DemiParkhotel Valkenburg3:27
12MACKAIJ FloortjeTeam Sunweb3:27
13CHABBEY EliseÉquipe Paule Ka3:27
14WINDER RuthTrek-Segafredo Women 3:27
15PALADIN SorayaCCC - Liv3:27
16MOOLMAN AshleighCCC - Liv3:27
17LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope3:27
18CAVALLI MartaValcar - Travel & Service3:27
19NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon SRAM Racing3:27
20FAULKNER KristenTeam TIBCO - SVB3:27
21HARVEY MikaylaÉquipe Paule Ka3:27
22GUDERZO TatianaAlé BTC Ljubljana3:27
23GARCÍA MaviAlé BTC Ljubljana3:27
24VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK ChantalBoels - Dolmans Cycling Team3:27
25LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek-Segafredo Women 3:33
26VAN DER BREGGEN AnnaBoels - Dolmans Cycling Team3:35
27FISHER-BLACK NiamhÉquipe Paule Ka3:38
28VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMitchelton-Scott3:40
29SIERRA ArlenisAstana Womens Team4:12
30BUJAK EugeniaAlé BTC Ljubljana4:12
31STEPHENS LaurenTeam TIBCO - SVB4:12
32ERIĆ JelenaMovistar Team4:12
33RAGUSA KatiaAstana Womens Team4:12
34LEVENEZ SandraTeam Arkéa4:12
35PINTAR UršaAlé BTC Ljubljana4:12
36KENNEDY LucyMitchelton-Scott4:12
37MAJERUS ChristineBoels - Dolmans Cycling Team4:28
38BALSAMO ElisaValcar - Travel & Service4:38
39JACKSON AlisonTeam Sunweb5:52
40BEEKHUIS TeuntjeLotto Soudal Ladies6:53
41KIRCHMANN LeahTeam Sunweb8:39
42MUZIC ÉvitaFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope8:39
43CHURSINA AnastasiiaAlé BTC Ljubljana8:59
44NOVOLODSKAIA MariiaCogeas - Mettler Pro Cycling Team8:59
45KLIMOVA DianaCogeas - Mettler Pro Cycling Team9:30
46VAN DER BURG NancyParkhotel Valkenburg9:30
47RATTO RossellaChevalmeire Cycling Team9:30
48LUDWIG HannahCanyon SRAM Racing9:30
49HAMMES KathrinCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling9:30
50PATIÑO Paula AndreaMovistar Team9:30
51VIECELI LaraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling9:30
52HEINE VitaHitec Products10:51
53VAN DE VEL SaraCiclotel10:51
54RODRÍGUEZ GloriaMovistar Team11:03
55KESSLER NinaTeam TIBCO - SVB11:03
56CHAPMAN BrodieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope11:03

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.