MOVISTAR TEAM SET THE PACE AGAIN IN THE ARDENNES
THE EUROPEAN CHAMPION, BEATEN IN THE FINAL METRES BY LONGO BORGHINI (TFS, 3RD), PUT THE SAUCE TO A TEST THAT VAN DER BREGGEN (SDW) WON FOR THE SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE TIME AHEAD OF NIEWIADOMA (CSR).
After getting on the podium (3rd) in the reduced sprint of the Amstel Gold Race, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) came close to doing the same – it was 4th – this Wednesday in Fleche Wallonne, first of the diptych of the Ardennes, about 130 km of demanding route with two final steps through the Mur of Huy.
The Dutch was overcome in the final metres by Elisa Longo Borghini (TFS), when she was already assured of her podium and since Anna van der Breggen (SDW, 1a) and Kasia Niewiadoma (CSR, 2nd) were out of reach of the European champion. Annemiek was, in any case, the protagonist of the race with her harsh attack – preceded by a good ‘launch’ of her companions, especially Katrine Aalerud – at the Chemin des Gueuses, the penultimate ascent of the race.
Van Vleuten’s movement served to select the group, with only a dozen members then playing the triumph in Huy, and place her in a hunting position in pursuit of Winder (TFS) who’d escaped before that level and who ‘perished’ on the <ur. Annemiek will seek to make up for today’s result in a Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Sunday 25th) more suitable for her characteristics.
STATEMENTS / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I feel a little stupid about that ending. At 75 or 50 metres to the finish I looked back, saw that the distance with Elisa was great and it didn’t look like I could go back. I’m going to need some time to digest it. I should have pushed a little bit more. Good thing it wasn’t for the win, but still, I feel bad about it.
I do think we’ve had a good role in the end, adjusting to what we’d marked beforehand, which was to leave out the dispute people like Marianne Vos, who if you don’t harden the race, in an end like that will kill you. We’ve reduced the group on the penultimate climb and helped more people work to hunt Winder down.
Liege is the race, of the two that we have this week, that best suits me. Happy to have had somewhat better legs than in Amstel Gold Race, I’m still in good shape and the truth is that my teammates have taken me great all day, especially with that approach to the penultimate level. We have to continue to develop and improve as a team and on Sunday we will have another great test.”
Cover image (c): Photo Gomez Sport