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Round 5

La Fleche Wallone, Belgium

Race Writeup

Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) made the most of a strong finish on the Mur de Huy to take round 5 of the World Cup at Fleche Wallone. The Dutch, multiple-discipline, World Champion and reigning World Cup Champion timed her effort to perfection and was able to take time to take a victory salute at the finish. 

The warm, dry day which the riders enjoyed for the race complemented a parcours which heated up in the latter stages. The climbs were mainly in the second half of the course. As expected, the race stayed together until the efforts of the brutal ascents. With narrow roads and steep hills, to remain competitive, riders needed to maintain their position near to the front of the peloton.  

Although attempts by Team USA and Cervélo-Lifeforce riders were jumped on as soon as they began to look dangerous, the most promising move of the race came from three-times former winner, Fabiana Luperini (Menikini Selle Italia). She attacked on the Cote de Boisseau and accelerated away to a comfortable lead. Her maximum gap on the bunch was just over one minute, but the bunch were aware of the potential danger and had pulled her back to within site by the time they climbed the penultimate cote just after Ben-Ahin.  

The penultimate climb of the day proved to be the launching pad for the finale. As they climbed the lower slopes, Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) attacked and caused the race to split. With Cooke were Marta Bastianelli (Italy) and Judith Arndt (High Road), as well as Marianne Vos, Amber Neben Team Flexpoint) and other contenders.

By the time they reached to foot of the Mur de Huy and the final kilometre, the front group had formed. The severity of the Mur showed for another year, though, as riders were lost from the back of the group. At the point with 250 metres to go, where the road impossibly kicks-up again, Arndt and Cooke were battling at the front, with Vos and Neben trailing. There was daylight between these four and the chasers. However, the Mur ‘bites’ quickly and when a rider runs out of energy, there are no second chances, no respite. In the closing 200 metres of the race, Vos overtook Arndt  and Cooke with a late surge. She continued to the finish line, checking over her shoulders as she approached to make sure there were no others with the legs to overtake.  

Victory assured, Vos punched the air with both hands in a victory salute, crossed the line and then coasted to the side of the road. She finished one second ahead of Marta Bastianelli (Italy), the reigning World Champion and then another second later, Judith Arndt.

Alex Wrubleski (Canada) has been showing good form recently and rode past several riders during the closing metres to finish fourth. Amber Neben (Team Flexpoint) was fifth and Trofeo Binda (World Cup, round 2) winner, Emma Pooley (GRB) finished sixth. The rider wearing the Leader’s jersey, Suzanne De Goede (Equipe Nurnberger) conceded her hold on the series, finishing sixteenth (37 seconds) and gaining only a handful of points. It was not enough to hold off Vos, who took over the World Cup series lead, rising from fourth after the previous round in Drenthe, with a 19 point lead over her compatriot.  

Vos has 152 points, compared to De Goede’s 133. Third place is held by Judith Arndt, who slipped to third and now has 117 points.  The largest jump in the rankings goes to Marta Bastianelli, who now lies fifth, moving up from sixteenth at the beginning of the day.

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Post Race Comments

Marianne Vos cherished this victory over her win in this event last year, commenting that swhe thought it “sweeter” this year.  She found it  "a little bit stressy before the finish because it was hard and there are a lot of climbs," she explained, "and then a whole bunch came back and I was too far back at the beginning of the climb. I could manage it to the wheel of Nicole [Cooke] and Judith Arndt; then I knew I had a chance and I felt good. But everybody is in pain on the last climb. It was hard!"

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Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result

Position Name Team Time Gap
1 VOS Marianne TEAM DSB BANK 2h 46' 42"
2 BASTIANELLI Marta ITALIE 2h 46' 43" + 00' 01"
3 ARNDT Judith TEAM HIGH ROAD WOMEN 2h 46' 44" + 00' 02"
4 WRUBLESKI Alexandra CANADA 2h 46' 51" + 00' 09"
5 NEBEN Amber TEAM FLEXPOINT 2h 46' 55" + 00' 13"
6 POOLEY Emma GRANDE BRETAGNE 2h 46' 59" + 00' 17"
7 BRÄNDLI Nicole BIGLA CYCLING TEAM 2h 46' 59" + 00' 17"
8 COOKE Nicole GRANDE BRETAGNE 2h 46' 59" + 00' 17"
9 GOOR Sofie LOTTO-BELISOL LADIESTEAM 2h 47' 02" + 00' 20"
10 DECROIX Lieselot LOTTO-BELISOL LADIESTEAM 2h 47' 04" + 00' 22"

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Standings Top 10 - click here to see full standings

Rank Previous Name Team Points
1 4 VOS Marianne DSB 152
2 1 DE GOEDE Suzanne NUR 133
3 2 ARNDT Judith TMP 117
4 5 POOLEY Emma TSW 99
6 3 BELTMAN Chantal TMP 81
7 6 CURI MATTIS Katheryn WEB 75
9 8 ARMSTRONG Kristin RLT 61
10 9 WOOD Oenone TMP 61

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>

WC1_8103 WC1_8112 WC1_8121 WC1_8136 WC1_8155
WC1_8162 WC1_8164 WC1_8191 WC1_8207 WC1_8211
WC2_7179 WC2_7187 WC2_7205 WC2_7215 WC2_7229
WC2_7239 WC2_7275 WC2_7300 WC2_7321 WC2_7340
WC3_0648   WC3_0764    


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