Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021 was a turning point in Demi Vollering’s career. It was the first major victory for the Dutchwoman, after she had already finished third in the same classic in 2019. “Especially because I had already been so close, the victory meant a lot to me. I also picked up a lot of confidence with that win. That I won there gave me peace for the rest of the season,” Vollering reflected.
Last year, two-time winner Anna van der Breggen (2017 and 2018) took the lead in the final and nobody could escape. In the streets of Liege, Demi Vollering then proved supremely the best in a sprint with Kasia Niewiadoma, Elisa Longo Borghini and Annemiek Van Vleuten. “That victory remains special for me. First of all because it is my favourite race, with which I have had a special relationship for years. I often think back to it, because it means a lot to me. That is why I am looking forward to this race. The past few weeks I have shown that I am in good shape by winning the Brabantse Pijl and finishing 2nd in the Amstel Gold Race and 3rd in the Flèche Wallonne. But with the team, there are more people who can win on Sunday. I hope that the number one will stay in the team.”
On Friday, Team SD Worx left nothing to chance and explored the last 70 kilometres of the route. “Such a recon refreshes your memory of the race,” says Niamh Fisher-Black. “It sort of refreshes your mind of how it was playing out in the race last year. You can feel your legs on the climbs that await us on Sunday. I really like the Ardennes classics. This is my third Liège-Bastogne-Liège and it remains one of my favourite races. I love the way the final goes, one after the other hill. In the Flèche Wallonne I got a confirmation that my form is good. But Demi Vollering and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio are the spearheads of our team.”
Recon of the parcours
Two-time winner Anna van der Breggen and Danny Stam are the sport directors in the Ardennes classic. “Team SD Worx has several contenders in its ranks,” says Van der Breggen. “Demi Vollering is obviously capable of winning again, but in terms of width we have a strong team again so we can play more assets.”