Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes 2024 Race Preview

Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes History

The women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, now also known as Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, is relatively new to the women’s cycling calendar, with its inaugural race only dating back to 2017. Anna van der Breggen made a spectacular start to the event, clinching victories in both the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the same week during the first two editions – a rare feat that echoes the achievements of only seven men in the history of these Ardennes Classics. The Dutch cyclists have largely led the field, with van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, and Demi Vollering each securing victories, the only exception being Lizzie Deignan’s triumph in 2020.

Recent editions have seen changes aligning the race more closely with its male counterpart, including moving the finish line from Ans to Liège and eliminating the Côte de Saint-Nicolas from the closing segments. These adjustments have elevated the importance of the Roche-aux-Faucons climb as a crucial point for creating late race splits, with the subsequent downhill run to the finish making it exceptionally challenging for any distanced riders to regain the lead. In 2020, Lizzie Deignan notably defied this pattern by launching a bold attack on the Côte de la Redoute and successfully holding off the chasing pack to the finish.

In 2023, Demi Vollering added another significant victory to her impressive resume by winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes. Vollering attacked the Roche aux Faucons climb and got a gap with rival Elisa Longo Borghini that lasted to the finish. In the final metres, Vollering outsprinted the Italian to complete her Ardennes Triple and therefore the first rider to win both Fleche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the same season since 2017.

Previous Winners

2023
Demi Vollering
2022
Annemiek van Vleuten
2021
Demi Vollering

Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Sunday 21st April 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery across Europe
Peacock in USA 
FloBikes in Canada

15:55-17:15
All times in BST

Twitter:#LBLwomen

Startlist: FirstCycling

Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes 2024 Contenders

The first win of the season is still eluding Demi Vollering as it was another 2nd place mid-week at Fleche Wallonne. She’s still riding strong but the gap from Vollering to her rivals has definitely closed at this point of the year at least. Gone are hopes for a repeat of the Ardennes Triple but there’s a chance for her to rescue her Spring in a similar fashion to 2021 where she took Liège Bastogne Liège as her first win of the season. The flat finish here should suit her more than other major race favourites. Teammate Lotte Kopecky seems to be starting to get over her big form peak and after winning Paris Roubaix Femmes is in domestique mode too. It’s her first edition of Liège Bastogne Liège as she looks to see if she can be an Ardennes favourite as well as everywhere else in the season. If she’s there at the end, she might fancy a sneaky win over Vollering.

Lidl-Trek certainly has plenty of strong previous results from its riders here this weekend, but zero previous wins on the other hand. Elisa Longo Borghini nearly always goes well at this one and has finishes of 2nd and 3rd in the last 3 editions. Her form at the moment continues to be strong with a podium at Fleche Wallonne continuing a run of 5 straight top-6 results. She is going to be a podium contender once more this year. Her support comes from the likes of Gaia Realini who was 7th here last year but suffered big time mid-week, effectively getting frozen out of contention. There were high hopes for Shirin van Anrooij coming into Ardennes week but it hasn’t worked for her so far after 12th at Amstel and 39th at Fleche Wallonne. She’s surprisingly the only Lidl-Trek rider here without a previous Liège Bastogne Liège top-10 result. Ellen van Dijk has previously been 3rd, 4th and 5th here but hasn’t raced it since 2020. Lucinda Brand has a best of 5th in 2019 and Amanda Spratt was 2nd in 2018. That trio are going to prove to be a very elite set of domestiques here.

Kasia Niewiadoma finally finally got herself a road win for the first time in early 5 years at Fleche Wallonne. Getting that monkey off her back will do the Pole a world of good and good see her double-up this weekend as well. The issue may be her sprint on the flat against other riders, which whilst not too bad is unlikely to see her beat say Demi Vollering and probably not Longo Borghini. She’s a perennial top-10 finisher at Liège Bastogne Liège but without a win. Elise Chabbey was 5th here last season and a strong climb should put her into some strong contention again. She’s in solid form so far in 2024, just quietly racking up results like 8th at Strade Bianche and 11th at Paris Roubaix Femmes. Soraya Paladin often does well here too, where her fast finish after a hilly race comes in handy. She’s usually one of the best finishers from the chasing group, which saw her finish 9th last year and her best is 4th in 2019.

Marianne Vos
Marianne Vos

Both of the main riders for Visma | Lease a Bike have the best finishes at Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes of 4th place. Marianne Vos got hers back in 2020 but looks to be in the form to be a threat at the finish line again this year. Riejanne Markus got hers last season in what was a good sprint in the chasing group behind the lead pair. She’s been ok so far in 2024 with 7th at Strade Bianche and 5th in GC at Tour de Normandie Feminin too. She is going for this one though in her message from the team. For Vos, it represents another chance to add a missing race to her palmares in a season where her worst result is 11th. She has the potential to win this if she climbs well enough.

For AG Insurance-Soudal, this is very much an Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio race. The South African has finished in the top-10 in 4 editions over the years and will have free rein to go for it again this year. She was a bit off in 19th last year but before then took 4th in what was an unhappy finish with Demi Vollering when both were SD Worx riders. She can certainly ensure she climbs well enough to be in the front group and whilst we’ve seen her win sprints in recent years it still feels like a weaker area than her rivals.

Neither Olivia Baril nor Claire Steels has a particularly good result at Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes, which probably doesn’t bode too well for Movistar’s chances. Baril did get a decent enough result at Fleche Wallonne this in mid-week, finishing 14th on the cold Mur de Huy. Claire Steels is still working her way back from the broken vertebrae suffered in the UAE Tour Women but in good form, she should be a contender on these climbs.

Ane Santesteban has been steadily improving year on year at this one, with a best result of 12th achieved last season. The Spanish rider will be looking ahead to next month’s glut of races at home but has gone well in the last week with 6th at GP Féminin de Chambéry and 10th at Fleche Wallonne. The latter was her first top-10 result in Huy and she could break that barrier here too.

Juliette Labous
Juliette Labous

Juliette Labous is a consistent finisher here, usually just a tiny bit outside of the top-10 but does have a best of 8th in 2020. The French rider is a strong climber but does better on longer climbs rather than the slightly more punchier efforts required here. Her form is good though after 7th at Fleche Wallonne and she is building up to Spain month nicely.

Another rider to get frozen out of contention mid-week, Mavi Garcia fell behind relatively early and was DNF in the end in Huy. The Spanish rider didn’t take to the cold well and that’s a consideration for this weekend as well. She’s never finished higher than 13th and a limited sprint will always make it tough to finish truly high up. Like Labous though, Garcia will also be looking ahead to May.

Silvia Persico should be UAE Team ADQ’s best chance of a result here but was only 42nd in her first edition of Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes last season. She’s blown hot and cold so far this Spring with good results of 7th and 8th at the Tour of Flanders and Trofeo Alfredo Binda mixed in with days where she’s gone missing like 70th at Amstel last weekend. Teammate Erica Magnaldi has done well here in the past and could be a top-15 finisher once more this year.

It’s tough to unpick who the leader might be for FDJ-Suez this year. Marta Cavalli feels like a good shout after finishing 9th in Fleche Wallonne this week for her best result of 2024 so far and was 6th here in her golden 2022 Ardennes Classics campaign. Evita Muzic has been improving each year at Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes and comes into this one with 4th in Huy, 2nd at GP Féminin de Chambéry, 9th at Binda and 10th Strade Bianche. She has a chance to build on those results here and finish the Spring in style. Grace Brown is the rider with the best history at this race though, the Aussie has a pair of 2nd places from 2020 and 2022. She might’ve caught Deignan in 2020 if the race was a few kilometres longer and in 2022 she was the best of the rest as Van Vleuten won solo. You also can’t discount Amber Kraak whose best result here is only 22nd but she’s on a run of 5th at Roubaix, 6th at Brabantse Pijl and 8th at Amstel Gold.

Yara Kastelijn
Yara Kastelijn

Neither Yara Kastelijn nor Pauliena Rooijakkers have cracked the top-10 here for Fenix-Deceuninck but have come close. Kastelijn’s best is 18th from last season and Rooijakkers was 11th in 2022. Kastelijn has been very solid throughout the Spring, maybe missing a big standout result always in and around the bottom of the top-10. That’s especially impressive with other mouths to feed like Puck Pieterse and Christina Schweinberger in some of those races. Pauliena Rooijakkers had a big day out at Fleche Wallonne. She secured 6th on the Mur de Huy despite riding in a bit of a chasse patate break move with Grace Brown for an hour before eventually reaching the front of the race only to be caught by the bunch as it sped up. Sprints and descents will be an issue but there’s no faulting her climbing at the moment.

Veronica Ewers didn’t get a result of note at Fleche Wallonne in the end thanks to a late crash. It looked like she’d just got squeezed on the grass verge and unfortunately went down. With that result not reflective of where she’s at, this is a last chance to impress before the Spanish races she excels in start to come around.

Ceratizit WNT’s Cédrine Kerbaol is just starting to come good again after 5th place at GP Féminin de Chambéry last weekend. The French rider started the season well with victory at Vuelta CV Feminas before just tailing off slightly after that. She’s strong enough to challenge in the same fashion as Grace Brown in previous seasons.

Uno-X probably doesn’t have a major contender at this one but the trio of Katrine Aalerud, Solbjørk Minke Anderson and Simone Boilard can all still do very nicely. Aalerud was 9th here in 2020 and had a good Fleche Wallonne where the Norwegian finished 14th. Anderson might just be tailing off at the end of Spring compared to where she was a month or so ago but the climbing here should suit her if she has the legs. Finally, Boilard generally goes well everywhere and has results of 14th and 21st in the Ardennes Week so far.

Liège Bastogne Liège 2024 Outsiders

Eline Jansen
Eline Jansen

Eline Jansen has been quietly notching up some solid results at the WWT level this week. 28th in both Fleche Wallonne and Amstel Gold, there is the potential for a similar or even better finish for the Dutch rider. She’s got a good kick for the line too so whichever group she ends up in at the end she’s likely to finish near the front of it. Teammate Margot Vanpachtenbeke has shown flashes again this season with 10th at Brabantse Pijl and 11th at Gent Wevelgem. She tends to do less well in the hilly WWT races as a rule but there’s potential for more.

Julie Bego should be leading the charge for Cofidis but has been a little bit quieter in the Ardennes races but previously had the likes of 11th at Brabantse Pijl and 4th in Trofeo Oro in Euro to her name. The first-year elite is still finding her feet but it’s impressive she’s already considered one to watch out for.

Arkea B&B Hotels’ Lotte Claes is a very solid non-WWT race climber with some good results this year in the top-20 at lower-level races. The Belgian can certainly put in a stint on the climbs at Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes but maybe not get a really high result. 

Marion Bunel is another who struggled in the conditions at Fleche Wallonne. The French rider for St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 ended up being a DNF in a race that she could do very well in with the Mur de Huy finish. She should be ok on the climbs here provided the conditions are a tiny bit better.

Top 3 Prediction