Demi Vollering has won the fifth edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The anniversary edition had a longer and tougher course this year than in previous years. Lizzie Deignan, last year’s winner, was unable to defend her title. She signed up for the spring classic due to illness. In 2019 Annemiek van Vleuten triumphed, in 2017 and 2018 Anna van der Breggen was the strongest.
With a temperature of just above freezing, the women left Bastogne early this morning. Over a 141 kilometers route, the peloton women rode the same final for the first time as the men later this Sunday.
In the end, the decision only came in the final phase, when there was a sprint for the victory.
Halfway through the race, the pace was increased considerably. On the second climb of the day, leaders Claire Faber and Silvia Zanardi were caught. The New Zealand Niamh Fisher-Black, teammate of Anna van der Breggen and Demi Vollering, responded by going on the attack.
However, she did not manage to build up a lead, another SD-Workx teammate did a little later.
Cup of three
On the most famous climb of the race, the Côte de la Redoute, about 35 kilometers before the finish, the Danish Cecili Ludwig Uttrup (FDJ) attacked and formed a group with the escaped Ashleigh Moolman (SD-Worx). Trek rider Lucinda Brand was able to connect at the top of the climb.
Behind the group of three leaders, a group with all the big favorites emerged. Marianne Vos, Van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten and Vollering cycled quietly behind the three.
With twenty kilometers to go to the finish, the leading group was caught again when the pace dropped. The decision finally came just after the last climb.
On the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, Van der Breggen set the pace and Vos had a hard time in the last wheel. With a few hundred meters before the top, she even had to release for a while, but she managed to rejoin the group of top favorites.
In the end, Van der Breggen, Vollering and Van Vleuten, together with Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini, were left and Vollering won the final sprint.