Kasia Niewiadoma Conquers Flèche Wallonne Femmes For First Win in 5 Years

In a display of sheer determination, Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon Sram clinched a long-awaited victory at La Flèche Wallonne, marking her first win since 2019. The race, notorious for its gruelling finish on the Mur de Huy, was a fitting battleground for Niewiadoma’s triumph, making her the first Polish rider to win this prestigious event.

The women’s race followed the men’s event under slightly improved weather conditions, though the early part of the race was marred by challenging weather with hail and heavy rain marking the start from Huy. A three-rider breakaway featuring Julie Van de Velde, Elena Hartmann, and Sara Martin initially escaped, building a significant lead over the peloton of 4 minutes at one point. They were gradually reeled in by the peloton which saw a counter move by Grace Brown and Pauliena Rooijakkers dangle off the front by a handful of seconds for an hour of racing.

Hartmann Van de Velde Martin 2024 Fleche Wallonne
Elena Hartmann, Julie Van de Velde & Sara Martin in the day’s main breakaway

Elena Hartmann dropped back after the first ascent of the Mur de Huy but the other riders still needed catching. The peloton ramped up the speed and unlucky crashes for Niamh Fisher-Black and Veronica Ewers took them out of contention. Both breakaways were caught with time to spare into Huy from where the battle commenced on the steep climb.

The harsh conditions began to relent slightly, setting the stage for a climactic showdown on the Mur de Huy. Niewiadoma, having bided her time through the peloton’s manoeuvres, positioned herself perfectly for the final climb. With the gradient reaching a punishing 18%, she launched a meticulously timed attack in the final 150 metres, outpacing her rivals to claim a victory she had dreamed of for over a decade and finally breaking her long streak without a road victory.

Kasia Niewiadoma celebrates her win
(Photo credit:Tino Pohlmann)

Rider reactions

Kasia Niewiadoma

I hope this race will inspire many people to keep believing and pursuing their dreams. I’ve had so many second, third, and fifth places. I never stopped believing that, as a team, we could win. The victory was here waiting for us.”

“Deep inside, I knew this was my day. I just felt it. The race was intense from the start, with the wet and cold weather. It was brutal initially when it rained so hard, and the temperature went so low. I knew the conditions were on my side because I always benefit from hard and challenging races like this. As a team, we kept positive despite all shaking from the cold. My teammates were amazing, taking care of me, ensuring I was warm and bringing jackets when needed so I could change. It meant I could focus only on the final.”

“When I started my sprint, I didn’t want to waste energy by looking around. I just gave my best and sprinted to the line for the victory. It’s my tenth time racing here at Flèche, and ever since the first time I raced in 2014, it’s been a dream of mine to win.”

Elisa Longo Borghini

“It was a really hard finish, I was trying to do my job to help Gaia to the end but she told me she was not good and gave me a go, so I tried my best. It was again a good team effort today because I had all the girls around me and Gaia and they were really taking care of us, bringing us warm clothing. Thank you to them.”

“It’s a good satisfaction to be third in Flèche Wallonne. It was a very cold and kind of strange race. It started raining at the very beginning of the race. I’m sorry for my teammate Gaia who isn’t coping really well with the cold weather, because I think normally on this final she could win. In the end it was just a pity she couldn’t be there.”

“I think Niewiadoma went in a perfect spot. She was the strongest today, and to be fair and honest I’m delighted she won. She’s always a fair rider and somebody I have a lot of respect for, and she deserved the win.”

Demi Vollering

“I tried to find my own rhythm on the final climb. This year it was for Kasia Niewiadoma. It was a somewhat easier edition of the Flèche Wallonne than previous years. We missed five tough climbs in the finale compared to last year.”

“It’s nice for Kasia to win now. She is always strong and always attacks in races. Kasia had the punch to get away. I was hoping her legs would explode in the last hundred metres so I could come back. But she was very strong.”

2024 Fleche Wallonne Femmes result

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