Ashleigh Moolman Pasio is racing her last Fleche Wallonne today, she’s barely been outside the top-10 at this race but has never won, can she change that today? Here’s what she had to say at the start:
“Flèche Wallonne has always been my favourite race of the spring classics. It’s a race I’ve always performed well in. I’ve always been mostly in the top 10 or top 5 with the exception of two races I think.
Today I‘d really love to win. It’s the final time I’m racing Flèche Wallonne so I’m really motivated. We have a strong team. We obviously have Anna van der Breggen in the car, she’s our inspiration, she’s won the race seven times. So for sure we’re super motivated and we’ll do everything for an SD Worx win.
Of course we have the best leader in the car in Anna but there’s no formula to riding the Mur de Huy, even Anna will say that herself. Every year it’s a little bit different, it’s about feeling the pace, feeling the body and giving enough but holding just that little bit back to be able to accelerate over the line.
I’m feeling really good, I’ve had good shape throughout the spring, I used Zwift racing as part of my pre-season preparation and I really believe that it’s given me the that extra edge. A lot of strength, racing on Zwift is super hard, so coming on to the road I feel really well prepared so looking forward to today.”
Demi Vollering before the start:
“I’m a bit nervous. I’m really excited for these races and I really want to do good races now so that makes me a bit nervous but I think that’s also good because also you are more focused so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Riders are still trying to form a break but as yet nobody has gotten away
115km to go
A breakaway of five got away but has now been caught while another rider is up the road.
123km to go
Annemiek van Vleuten:
“It’s hard. It’s quite an explosive climb and I’,m not a super explosive climber. But if the race is raced hard I will be able to make a good effort on the Mur, but if it’s raced conservatively and everyone is waiting for the Mur it will be harder for me.”
Amstel Gold winner Marta Cavalli ahead of today’s race:
“It’s quite different race today compared to the last two. I think I have good shape and I’m confident because I have two big results in the last two races that I am going to be in the race and fight on the Mur de Huy today.”
“I think a lot of riders want to make the difference here in this hard race and I hope to be able to be in the game.”
“I think at the bottom of the last Mur de Huy will be a small bunch because it could be already a big fight in the last loop.”
🏁 The race has officially started 🏁
134km to go
And they’re off! The neutral start has been given.
The riders are ready to start!
#FWwomen #LaFlecheWallonneFeminine #UCIWWT pic.twitter.com/wJ55HFBbrlApril 20, 2022
Here is the full startlist. With Marianne Vos and Riejanne Markus testing positive for Covid-19 over the weekend Jumbo-Visma have just three riders taking to the start today.
Paris-Roubaix champion Elisa Longo Borghini is also here.
Just a few minutes to go and here’s the start list for today’s La Flèche Wallonne!#uciwwt #FWwomen pic.twitter.com/kaWYQ3M82kApril 20, 2022
The route takes the riders from Huy around a long loop of 65km before they enter the finishing circuit, which they will complete three times. There are three climbs on the citcuit, the Côte de Cherave, the Mur de Huy (at the top of which is the finish line), and the Côte d’Ereffe.
The peloton will race over 133.4km including laps of the Mur de Huy climb – which they will tackle three times.
Other riders to look out for include Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), who has never won this race, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM), who has podiumed twice at La Flèche Wallonne but never won, and Marta Cavalli of FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope who showed off her climbing form at the Amstel Gold race a few weeks ago.
There are plenty of favourites waiting in the wings to take over van der Breggen’s legacy. Not least her former teammate, Demi Vollering, who will have the added benefit of the seven-time winner directing the race for SD Worx.
The previous seven editions of the race were won back-to-back by Anna van der Breggen. With the Dutchwoman retiring at the end of 2021, however, the race is guaranteed to have a new champion by the end of today.
This is a long-running race by women’s cycling’s standards – having been established in 1998. Past winners include Nicole Cooke, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
It’s an early start for the riders today with the race rolling out for the neutral start at 08:35
Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews’ live coverage of La Flèche Wallonne Féminine.