The Midweek race La Flèche Wallonne is one of the final chances to see the cyclocross superstars of this year’s Spring Classics in action. With Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert absent, all eyes were on Tom Pidcock and 2019 winner Julian Alaphilippe.
With 28km to go, Tom Pidcock (Ineos-Grenadiers) was involved in a crash, however, with the help of teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart he was able to rejoin the chase and finished a respectable sixth.
World champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quickstep) went on to win the Flèche Wallonne for the third time, while Wout van Aert’s team leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) came in second in his debut. Veteran Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) rounded out the podium for the third spot.
Cyclocrosser Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) had a strong finish in 14th place!
Fleche Wallonne Last KM Video:
Cyclocrossers and Americans who participated:
- Tom Pidcock
- Alex Howes
- Philipp Walsleben
- Quinten Hermans
- Lawson Craddock
- Alex Howes
Fleche Wallone Women: Van der Breggen Makes it Seven
In the women’s race, Brabantse Pijl winner American Ruth Winder, who animated the race early, tried her best to soften up the peloton.
In the end, it was the “soon-to-retire” Anna Van der Breggen (Team SD Worx) making her bid for a historic seventh consecutive victory.
Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) was able to follow Van der Breggen on the Mur. The two rode together until Van der Breggen started her sprint with 100 meters to go.
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) finished in third place, ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar).
Cyclocrossers and American women:
- Marianne Vos
- Lucinda Brand
- Thalita De jong
- Alice Maria Arzuffi
- Sabrina Stultiens
- Katie Clouse
- Ruth Winder
- Tayler Wiles
Liège–Bastogne–Liège Men: Pogacar Packs a Punch
Liège–Bastogne–Liège is the oldest and last of Ardennes spring classics and again is usually one for the climbers and puncheurs. This year marks the 107th Edition of La Doyenne, “The Old Lady,” but most of the top cyclocrossers stayed on the sidelines after a long spring campaign.
In the absence of Tom Pidcock who was still recovering from his unfortunate crash at Flèche Wallonne, as well as Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert who are preparing for the later part of the season and Grand Tours, all eyes were on world champion Julian Alaphilippe.
However, it was not to be and 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) would steal the win from Alaphilippe with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) in third and veteran and Alejandro Valverde in fourth. Pogacar is the youngest rider in 44 years to win Liege Bastone Liege.
Former Cyclocross Worlds podium finisher Alaphilippe played his usual role as an animator.
— Liège-Bastogne-Liège (@LiegeBastogneL) April 25, 2021
Liege Bastogne Liege Men Final KM Video Highlights:
LBL Women: Vollering Finally Victorious
In the women’s edition, it was rising star Demi Vollering (SD Worx) who surged to her biggest victory so far, ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) in second, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo), in third. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon- SRAM) in fourth, to win the final spring classic of 2021.
Vollering in tears at the finish said: “Anna did such a good job, and the whole team, that I could finish it … that’s awesome. I am really grateful that they did it for me, and it is such an amazing team, thanks to the whole team,”
Race report of #lblwomen
"It's a dream come true!" Vollering said with tears in her eyes. “The whole team did such a good job. That I can finish like this, that's awesome! I'm very grateful.”
— Team SD Worx (@teamsdworx) April 25, 2021
The victory comes after several near misses, including second places to Marianne Vos at Amstel Gold and losing a photo finish by millimeters to Ruth Winder at Brabantse Pijl.
Amstel winner Marianne Vos finished sixth 1:27 down, and current cyclocross world champion Lucinda Brand (Trek Segafredo) had another strong finish in ninth at 1:59 down with cyclocross teammate Shirin van Anrooij also having a strong showing.