Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) continues to dominate the women’s Flèche Wallonne, taking her fourth consecutive victory in the race. With her third UCI Women’s WorldTour (WWT) victory of the 2018 season, van der Breggen also moves into the overall lead of the WWT classification that she won last year.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo Bigla) finished second and Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) rounded out the podium.
Starting and finishing in Huy, the race covered 118.5km in the Belgian provinces of Liège and Luxembourg. The difficulties were stacked in the second half of the race, with the steep climbs of Côte d’Ereffe, Côte de Cherave and Mur de Huy each climbed twice in the last 50km.
There were several breakaway attempts in the first hour, but only after 32km did the first rider get away from the peloton. Doris Schweizer (Team Virtu Cycling) built a one-minute lead and was caught by a chase group of four riders with 55km to go.
These five riders entered the Côte d’Ereffe together and still held an advantage of 1:10 minutes at the top. Canyon-SRAM took over the chase work in the peloton and reduced the gap to 20 seconds coming into the Côte de Cherave, where a peloton of some 40 riders caught the break. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Canyon-SRAM) accelerated on the climb, but had van der Breggen on her wheel immediately.
In the last 35 kilometres, the race was definitely on – but unfortunately for the fans of women’s cycling, there was no live TV coverage of the race, making the Flèche Wallonne the first UCI Women’s WorldTour race of the year not to be broadcast live at all.
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