Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) retained her lead at the top of the Women’s World Cup standings, despite finishing the Tour of Flanders in second place behind team mate Ellen Van Dijk earlier today who won the race by over a minute.
World Time Trial Champion Van Dijk, attacked on the Kruisberg, 27 kilometres from the finish and quickly pulled out a lead of 40 seconds, despite a valiant effort by Tiffany Cromwell (Orica AIS) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo-LIV) who attempted to bridge the gap to the Dutch woman.
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Behind, the peloton had splintered and the two chasers were caught then dropped by the winner of last week’s World Cup race, Emma Lohansson (Orica-AIS) and Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hi-Tec Products) and Armitstead. With her team mate up the road, the Olympic silver medalist didn’t put her nose in the wind until the final sprint, which she won by a good margin.
The race started off very fast, a number of breaks failing to establish a meaningful lead, and was still largely all together at the final feed zone with 40 of the 140 kilometres to ride. It was the series of climbs towards the end of the race which enlivened, leading to the final selection.
“The way it went today was exactly the plan exactly how we had though about it it was just out of the book this race, I just can’t believe it.” Van Dijk said after the race, “I know that I can ride quite good on my own and I know that I had a little gap and that I just had to go for it and try to keep it.”
The next round of the Women’s World Cup will be at la Fleche Wallonne on April 23rd.