The cream of international women’s professional cycling lined up for the sixth round of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour at Flèche Wallonne in Belgium on Wednesday (April 20).

Current WorldTour leader and road race world champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) was one of those taking part, but played a team support role after suffering from illness the week before the race.

“I really just want the team to have a good performance. It’s been a long, hard spring for me and a successful one, but I’m happy to make it a good team performance today.”

>>> Boels-Dolmans’ grip on women’s WorldTour finally broken in Fleche Wallonne

The race also saw the return of former world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) to top-level competition in an event she has previously won on five occasions.

“After such a long period out, this is my first WorldTour race back and of course it’s exciting.”

Vos was part of the Rabo-Liv team of defending champion Anna van der Breggen.

The race took in a 137km route including 11 major climbs and finishing with the steep, punishing ascent of the Mur de Huy.