Liege Bastogne Liege Femmes is another relatively new race on the women’s calendar. First held in 2017, it gives riders the chance to cover roads raced by the men’s peloton in one of their monuments. Although the race is called Liege Bastogne Liege still, the women’s race starts in Bastogne and before heading to Liege.
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It was a long time coming but the first women’s Paris Roubaix finally took place in 2021. We’d been teased that Paris Roubaix Femmes was taking place after the COVID lockdown in 2020 but further measures derailed the race. It was the same story in the spring of 2021 but finally, in October 2021, we saw a women’s peloton on the cobbles.
The women’s Amstel Gold Race returned last season. It was heavily altered, turned into a large circuit based around the Cauberg, the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg. The constant climbing was hoped to be attritional but ultimately we saw a reasonably large sprint after the Cauberg. Despite the attack of Niewiadoma, no-one would work with her and it proved fruitless. Vos took the sprint ahead of Demi Vollering and Annemiek van Vleuten.
The first Women’s Tour of Flanders took place in 2004. The route followed the last 55km of the men’s race with a bit before it to take the distance up to 94km. The finish parcours from that time is now used for Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Riders climb Kapelmuur before riding the tree-lined Bosberg. Zulfiya Zabirova won the first race with an attack on Kapelmuur itself.
The Women’s Gent Wevelgem has been running since 2012. Taking place on the same day as the men’s race, the women’s version starts from Ypres and finishes in Wevelgem. The route takes in the infamous Kemmelberg, although the women haven’t tackled the steepest Ossuary side until this year’s race.
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The Women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is one of the longer running major Spring classics races. Held each year since 2006 some of the biggest names have won the race. Anna van der Breggen and Emma Johansson are the only multiple winners in all of its history.
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The Setmana Ciclista Valenciana has been a UCI race since 2017 and for most of its history has been a 2.2 race. It was elevated to 2.1 status in 2021. Usually held in February, 2021 was an exception because of Covid as the race was held in May.
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