Report – Women’s Fleche Wallone


Anna van der Breggen wins the 18th edition of the Women’s La Flèche Wallonne atop the Mur de Huy.

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Report – Women’s Fleche Wallone

Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) capitalised on the absence of teammate and five-time winner Marianne Vos to claim the 18th edition of the Women’s La Flèche Wallonne atop the Mur de Huy.

The 25-year-old Dutch rider crossed the line solo, beating Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) by 12″ and Megan Guarnier (Boels) by 20″ to take a win that also catapulted her to first place in the UCI World Cup rankings. Last year’s winner, World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, finished in eighth place, trailing her teammate by 57″. It was Rabo-Liv’s seventh La Flèche Wallonne win in nine years.

A sunny start
The 143 riders on the start list of the eighteenth edition of the Women’s La Flèche Wallonne set off at 11:42 am under the sunny skies covering Wallonia, in Huy. The course featured two loops for a total of 121 km and nine climbs: the Côte d’Éreffe (km 12 and 70), the Côte de Bellaire (km 31 and 89.5), the Côte de Bohissau (km 39.5 and 97.5) and the fearsome Mur de Huy (km 57.5 and 121), as well as the Côte de Cherave, a new addition to the race that came a mere 5.5 km before the finish atop the second climb up the Mur de Huy.

The bunch cruised at a high pace from the start of the race, foiling all breakaway attempts during the first hour (38 km). Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) had her teammates set the tempo, providing a launch pad for Luxembourger Christine Majerus to claim the sprints on the Éreffe (km 12) and Bohissau (km 39.5) climbs. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot was forced to chase after a tangle left her with mechanical problems (km 49), but the World champion was back in the peloton 5 kilometres before the first climb up the Mur de Huy.

A relatively large (over 80 riders) peloton crossed the finish line atop the Chemin des Chapelles for the first time in single file, with Australia’s Carlee Taylor (Lotto Soudal) leading the way ahead of 2012 champion Evelyn Stevens (Boels). The big favourites, including “PFP”, stayed near the front ready to pounce.


The first major offensive came after 81 km of racing, when American Lauren Komanski (Team USA) launched an attack and was quickly joined by Australian Lizzie Williams (Orica). The duo’s lead never went beyond 20″ and they were finally caught in Andenne (km 92.5). The frenetic pace up the Côte de Bohissau (km 97.5) split the peloton in half, leaving a 25-strong lead group with the big favourites (Ferrand-Prévot flanked by four teammates, Armitstead, Stevens, Longo Borghini, Moolman, Johansson…) but without Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle), riding in the UCI World Cup leader’s white jersey.

Roxanne Knetemann (Rabo) and Annemiek van Vleuten rocketed off the front of the group with 20 km to go and soon opened up a decent gap. The two riders held a 1′10″ margin over their chasers with 17 km to go, which had dwindled to one minute 10 km before the line and a mere 40″ by the time they reached the bottom of the Côte de Cherave (1.3 km at 9.6%), as the Wiggle and Boels squads drove the chasing group.

Five riders (Van der Breggen, Ferrand-Prévot, Moolman, Stevens and Guarnier) used the steepest sections of the climb to inch within striking distance of the two breakaways, but only Anna van der Breggen managed to catch them before the summit. The 25-year-old Dutch rider took advantage of her teammate’s presence to launch her own attack on the Mur with 450 m to go and solo to the win. Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) and Megan Guarnier (Boels) took the remaining steps on the podium, while Ferrand-Prévot finished eighth, 57″ back.

21. Lizzie Armitstead, Boels Dolman
(Working for teammate Guarnier who was third)
35. Molly Weaver, Matrix Fitness
48. Laura Trott, Matrix Fitness
70. Elinor Barker, Matrix Fitness
89. Sharon Laws, Bilga

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