World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabo) won Flèche Wallonne today for a fourth time in Belgium. The Dutch rider broke ahead of a six-rider group at the top of the famed Mur de Huy.
Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) and Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto-Belisol) placed second and third.
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Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) was the top Brit, placing 12th.
“I wasn’t the leader, so I was riding aggressively, so many attacks just trying to force some selection. But then you’re just left with what you have left in the final,” Armitstead told Cycling Weekly.
“Maybe I raced stupidly, I should’ve saved. I like aggressive racing, but no one else did.
“If we want to beat Vos, you have to her on the back foot. I think people are scared of the Mur and also scared of Vos.”
Armitstead also was the top-placed Brit in the Tour of Flanders, placing ninth.
I the final of two circuits around the sunny and warm Walloon countryside, Katie Colclough (Specialized) broke away solo. Like Armitstead’s team, Specialized wanted to try to break Vos for team-mate Van Dijk.
“My job was to attack,” Colclough told Cycling Weekly.
“We didn’t know how good Ellen [Van Dijk] would be on the final climb and we knew Marianne [Vos] is really good. We were aggressive; I held in there for the second lap and went. I was solo for about five kilometres and then I kinda blew.
“I did all I could for the team, I saw Vos having to cover moves. … She’s so strong and dynamic. She shown she’s beatable. Evelyn [Stevens] did it last year.”
Vos arrived to the top of the Mur with five others:
Eleonora Van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon), Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), Longo Borghini, Moolman and Anna Van Der Breggen (Sengers). Armitstead was 40 seconds back.
Last year’s winner Evelyn Stevens was unable to start today due to a crash at home in the US.