In a hard-fought contest where the rolling Italian terrain became an ally to the most daring, Germany’s Liane Lippert of Movistar Team emerged triumphant in the De Tre Valli Varesine for women. The 112.3-kilometre race, snaking its way from Busto Arsizio to Varese, crowned Lippert as the successor to Elisa Longo Borghini, last year’s champion.
The course featured a circuitous finale, a loop to be repeated six times, with climbs Montello (2km at an average gradient of 5.2%) and Casbeno (2.5km at 4.9%) designed to inject unpredictability. Heading into the race, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig was hailed as the top favourite, fresh from her victory in the Giro dell’Emilia.
Dutch Riders Stir the Pot Early
The early phase of the race saw a three-woman breakaway form, including 19-year-old Scarlett Souren of Parkhotel Valkenburg. Once the riders hit the hilly circuit, the breakaway disintegrated, leaving Souren to soldier on alone. Her courageous effort ended around 50 kilometres before the finish, setting the stage for what turned out to be an engaging finale.
Fellow Parkhotel Valkenburg rider Anne Knijnenburg launched the first attack, momentarily breaking away from the peloton. However, it was Esmée Peperkamp of Team dsm-firmenich who took over the reins next. She managed a solo effort until 26 kilometres from the finish line when a group of 12 riders, including Loes Adegeest and Morgane Coston, joined her.
The Decisive Moments
What seemed like a decisive move, the leading group at one point had over a minute’s advantage over the peloton. However, the impetus fizzled out, allowing the chasing pack, which included Uttrup Ludwig, to reel them in with 17 kilometres to go.
As the kilometres ticked down, Anouska Koster of Uno-X made her move but was swiftly caught before the final lap. Subsequent breakaway attempts seemed futile until Lippert decided to unleash her full arsenal.
Lippert Seals the Deal
With less than three kilometres to go, Lippert exploded away from the group. Uttrup Ludwig attempted to counter, but the German national champion proved too strong, gradually breaking the will of her Danish rival. Lippert crossed the finish line with a comfortable margin. Uttrup Ludwig took second place, while Elisa Balsamo sprinted to third, fending off Francesca Barale in a head-to-head sprint.
2023 Tre Valli Varesine result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: Getty Sport / Movistar Team