UCI Road World Cup 2013
UCI World Cup, round 4 - La Fleche Wallone - Vos takes historic 5th win
Huy, 131 km
Despite talking down her chances pre-race, the World Cup series leader, Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) took victory at the top of the Mur de Huy with time to sit up and enjoy a victory salute. She left Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) and Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol Ladies) fighting in her wake for second place.
The 128 starters faced two laps of a punishing parcours in warm sunshine, although there were some sections of strong wind. The 65.5 kilometre lap was harder than anything the women have faced in previous years. It was not, however, until the return to Huy and the first ascent of the Mur de Huy that the race really began. The peloton exploded into pieces on the savage 1.3 kilometre, 9.3% climb.
There were three significant groups after the feed zone at the outskirts of Huy. The main contenders had made the 'selection' and were in the leading group. At this point, though, the race turned back into the cross and headwinds and the pace slowed again. Riders also took the opportunity to eat and drink. The more relaxed speed allowed the chasing groups to pull back to those in front and before the second ascent of Cote d'Ereffe, the peloton had regrouped.
A few attacks were attempted in the following sections. Notably, Katie Colclough (Specialized-lululemon) gained a small advantage on the way to the Cote de Peu d'Eau. Then, a small group escaped on the Cote de Bohisseau, but were chased down just after the summit of the Cote de Bousalle a few kilometres later. Tatiana Guderzo (MCipolinni) was the leader after the descent of the Cote de Bousalle, but the chasers did not let her out of sight. On the wide roads back to Huy, she was swallowed up by the bunch.
The final selection inevitably took place on the final kilometre of the race; on the Mur de Huy. As the leaders came into sight of the finish line, Marianne Vos was already clearly ahead. Longo Borghini and Moolman went toe-to-toe behind Vos for second and it was the Italian who took it, after 'throwing' her bike to the finish line like a sprinter.
Despite entering another chapter into the history of the race, after the finish line, Vos was unable to pedal any further and spent several minutes crouched over her handlebars. She was gasping for breath at the top of the Mur de Huy before heading into the throng of reporters and for television interviews.
Asked afterwards how she feels about her record fifth win, she responded "Every win is special, but for a fifth time to win here on the Mur, its really great", then she reflected that "its not getting any easier every year because as a big favourite, everybody looks at me and the team has to do a big job to stay in control of the race. They did perfectly and I ended up in Huy, of course tired, but still fresh enough to make a sprint effort on the Mur." She concluded with a broad smile.
Marianne Vos extended her in the lead of the World Cup series. The next round takes place on the 12th May, in China, at the World Cup - Tour of Chongming Island.
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