UCI World Cup 2007
World Cup Round 4
La Fleche Wallone
Vos (DSB Bank) raced to victory in the Fleche Wallone Femmes with a
last-corner acceleration on the famous Mur de Huy, in translation, the
‘Wall of Huy’. “The Mur”, as it is known, is 1.3 kilometres in
length and provides the finale to the 104 kilometre race. The average
gradient is 9.3%, which is deceptive, since the narrow climb gets steeper
and steeper throughout the ascent. Sections exceed 19%.
Vos made up for two consecutive third places in World Cups by taking this, her first career World Cup victory. “Very good, first in Fleche Wallone, it’s a very good feeling! I was close in Vlaanderen and in Drenthe. Two times third and now my first win in the World Cup, its great,” she commented after the finish. “I thought it would be a good course for me with the finish here on (Mur de) Huy and it looks like its true!”
Despite some brave attempts by the T-Mobile and the USA National teams to create breaks with their riders throughout the race, it came down to a test of strength on the Mur. Suzanne De Goede (T-Mobile) broke away briefly early in the race, then the Americans attacked on the late-race climbs; first Katherine Curi and then, in a counterattack when Curi’s thirty seconds lead was swallowed by the bunch, Alison Powers tried her luck to no avail. Finally, Chantal Beltman (T-Mobile) and Sara Carrigan (Belisol Lotto) managed a small advantage of 10 seconds as the race headed back in to Huy before they too were swept back up by the bunch.
Marianne Vos was with Nicole Cooke (Raleigh Lifeforce Creation), Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) and Trixi Worrack (Équipe Nürnberger) as they began the climb of the Mur de Huy towards the finish. Cooke attacked early, but Vos bided her time, accelerating only at the final corner. She managed to create a gap of a few metres which she maintained in the final couple of hundred metres to the finish. She was delighted as she celebrated on her way to the finishing line, with enough of a gap over Cooke and Arndt, who finished with several lengths between them.
Nicole Cooke (Raleigh Lifeforce Creation) started the fourth round of the 2007 World Cup knowing that she would still be in the leader’s jersey at the end. Her nearest rival, Adrie Visser (DSB Bank), could not catch the Welshwoman in the overall standings. The Fleche Wallone is a race which Nicole Cooke likes. She has won three times previously to 2007 – in 2003, 2005 and 2006. She revealed that her team’s tactics in the race had been geared towards a fourth victory. “We rode today for the win, its nice to keep the Leader’s jersey,” but Cooke seemed disappointed with second place. “It was a great team effort again today. Every single one of them did their job, it was incredible. They did a perfect lead-out going into the climb, Priska did the last bit and launched me perfectly.”
Cooke remains in the World Cup lead overall with 221 points, as the series heads to the fifth round of the World Cup in Berne on May 13th. Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) moves into second place (145 points), ahead of her team-mate, Adrie Visser who slipped to third.
Results - Top 10
Standings - Top 10
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