Grace Brown claims thrilling victory at Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes

In a nail-biting finale to the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, Grace Brown secured a dramatic victory, edging out Elisa Longo Borghini and Demi Vollering in a fiercely contested sprint. The Australian rider’s triumph marked a significant achievement in the career of Brown after previously finishing second twice in recent years.

The women’s peloton faced a gruelling 152.9km route featuring 10 challenging climbs, including the pivotal Côte de la Redoute, Côte des Forges, and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. The race unfolded under the same cold conditions as the men’s event, adding an extra layer of difficulty to the day.

Early in the race, Sarah Gigante broke away on the Côte de Saint-Roch with over 133km to go, building a significant lead. However, her efforts were reeled in after a strong chase by Elise Chabbey and a select group including Brown, Kim Cadzow, and several others. This powerful breakaway caught Gigante just past the midway point, setting the stage for the critical climbs to come.

As the race hit the Côte de la Redoute, the lead group fractured, with Chabbey, Brown, and Cadzow pushing ahead. Behind them, the peloton lagged, initially struggling to close a widening gap. However, as the race approached its climax, the chasers organised, dramatically reducing the lead on the final climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.

It was on this last ascent that Longo Borghini launched a decisive attack, quickly followed by Vollering and Flèche Wallonne winner Kasia Niewiadoma. The trio worked feverishly to bridge to the front-runners, finally making contact with less than 10km to go. In the ensuing tactical battle, Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini made several attempts to break clear, but it was Brown who had the final say.

After overcoming a minor mishap in a late corner, Brown reeled in her competitors again in the last kilometre. Despite the chaos, she launched a powerful sprint to overtake Longo Borghini and claim the victory, leaving Vollering to settle for third place.

Reflecting on her win, Brown shared her elation and relief, “It was an incredible day. Starting from the Côte de Stockeu, I knew I wanted to be in that break. We worked really well together. The climbs were pushing me to my limit, but after surviving the Roche aux Faucons, I knew it was on.”

The race, famous for its strategic depth and the physical demands it places on riders, lived up to its reputation, delivering a day full of suspense and tactical racing. Brown’s long-awaited victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, after two previous second places, was a testament to her resilience in one of cycling’s most challenging races.

2024 Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes result

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