10. Mavi García, Strade Bianche
You may be wondering why Mavi García (Alé-BTC-Ljubljana) has made it into the top-10 rides of the season when she didn’t win Strade Bianche.
Well, the 36-year-old put in an incredible ride, staying out front on her own for around 40km in 40 degree celcius temperatures, with a maximum gap of just over three minutes as she entered the final three gravel sectors.
Unfortunately for her, she was caught by the then world champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) in the last couple of kilometres and she finished second, just 22 seconds behind the Dutch star.
9. Lizzy Banks and Eugenia Bujak, Giro Rosa stage four
Another year, another successful breakaway at the Giro Rosa for Britain’s Lizzy Banks (Équipe Paule Ka), but this was a particularly impressive ride by both her and Slovenian rider, Eugenia Bujak (Alé-BTC-Ljubljana) as they managed to hold off the fast-approaching peloton on a steep finale.
Banks came out as the eventual winner after a supremely strong attack in the final kilometre of the stage that finished in the old town of Tivoli up a very steep, tight, cobbled climb.
But it was Bujak’s work on the early slopes that held off the likes of Van Vleuten, who was attacking behind.
8. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Tour of Flanders
The Classics tactical masters, Boels-Dolmans, came out best once again at the Tour of Flanders as they took the win with a late attack from Chantal van den Broek-Blaak after a peppering of attacks by her and Amy Pieters, her team-mate, who eventually came second.
Van den Broek-Blaak attacked in the final 10km to solo to victory in Oudenaarde and win by just over a minute ahead of the bunch.
It’s potentially the joint biggest win of her career alongside the world title in Bergen, Norway back in 2017.
7. Lizzie Deignan and Lizzy Banks, GP de Plouay
It was Banks who started the race-winning move of the 2020 GP de Plouay as she attacked on one of the climbs on the short finishing circuit before being joined by Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) and Jip van der Bos (Boels-Dolmans). Van der Bos crashed and left the two Brits upfront.
They quickly started working smoothly together as the peloton struggled to get organised on the tight undulating roads of Brittany.
The gap held, even with some fierce accelerations for Van Vleuten coming out of the peloton. The two British riders held on with Deignan out-sprinting Banks at the end to take the win with a gap of over a minute to the peloton.
6. Grace Brown, De Brabantse Pijl
Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) was one of the biggest revelations of the 2020 season. After Van Vleuten crashed out of the Giro Rosa, opportunities were given to other riders, Brown being one of them.
The Australian took it with both hands as she showed her strength by going away solo at Brabantse Pijl with 15km to go.
Even with Team Sunweb chasing with two riders, she still managed to hold on as she powered up the climbs, catching and passing the lone break of Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) as if she was standing still.
Brown took the win by 47 seconds over Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb), with only one other rider, Lippert’s team-mate Floortje Makaaij, finishing inside a minute.
5. Annemiek van Vleuten, Giro Rosa stage two
It was always going to be one of the hardest stages of the Giro Rosa and Van Vleuten made sure that it was her that was at the front.
Riding on the Tuscan hills, they took to an incredibly difficult gravel climb that has never been used in a bike race before, peppered with rocks and potholes, this was a road bike nightmare.
It was so hard that at one point, Van Vleuten herself actually fell due to the gradient combined with the resistance of the gravel, but she quickly remounted and managed to win by an incredible 1-16 over Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram), and a further 13 seconds to Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope). The rest of the race finished over three minutes behind the Dutchwoman.
4. Lizzie Deignan, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Deignan was part of a very strong nine rider group that managed to get away with 50km to go at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with riders like Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv), Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten all missing out.
Deignan decided to go on feel and attacked with 30km to go on the Côte de la Redoute, one of the hardest and most iconic climbs of the race.
She was holding onto a good advantage as the chasers weren’t working well until Grace Brown attacked and began to chase after the Yorkshire woman solo.
Deignan was on her absolute limit but managed to hold on all the way to the line with Brown only nine seconds behind, closing a minute gap on the final climb and descent to the line.
3. Annemiek van Vleuten, Strade Bianche
Only Wout van Aert and Brent Bookwalter rode the final 25km of Strade Bianche faster than Annemiek van Vleuten this season as she powered her way to an incredible win in Siena.
It looked for all the world that Mavi García was going to take the win, but the then world champion put in an amazing ride after a puncture to come back and pass the Spaniard in the final few kilometres to take the win by 22 seconds.
2. Anna van der Breggen, World Championships road race
In another amazing solo effort, Anna van der Breggen took the world title in fine style attacking over the top of her main rivals with 40km to go on the penultimate lap of the race.
Nobody could get close to the now double world champion as she just road away from everyone on the hellishly steep gradients on the circuit in Emilia-Romagna.
She took the rainbow jersey by 1-20 over defending champion Van Vleuten in second with Elisa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) in third.
1. Annemiek van Vleuten, European Championships road race
What made this ride particularly special from Van Vleuten was that she wasn’t in top shape, but her racing craft and brilliant tactics with Dutch team-mate Van den Broek-Blaak helped pull off a truly incredible win.
The race was full-on from the start as it was only a 109km route. Van Vleuten, Van den Broek-Blaak, Longo-Borghini and Kasia Niewiadoma all got away with about 40km to go.
The final lap saw both Niewiadoma and Longo-Borghini try and distance both Dutch riders, with the latter managing to get a gap over Van Vleuten.
They were all brought back before Longo-Borghini tried again on the final climb, but by then Van Vleuten had found her legs and followed well. The sprint was then simple for the Van Vleuten as Longo-Borghini went far too early, handing her the European title.