Glory day for Ferrand Prévot

news24.04.2014After the race

Pauline Ferrand Prévot, the world road race junior champion in 2010, has gone some way to fulfilling her potential by winning the 17th edition of the Women's Flèche Wallonne at the age of 22 years. The young French rider's impressive performance on the Mur de Huy (the Wall of Huy) helped her beat current UCI World Cup classification leader Lizzie Armistead (Boels) at the finishing line, as well as Longo Borghini (Hitec Products), who finished second last year. Marianne Vos, the five times winner of the event and team-mate of Ferrand Prévot, finished in 6th place.

A sunny start in Huy
The 139 competitors in the 17th Women's Flèche Wallonne set off at 11 AM this morning under sunny skies in Huy. On the programme were 127 km (made up of two 63.5-km loops) and 12 slopes to climb, including the formidable Mur de Huy (1.3-km long at a gradient of 9.3 %), the top of which played host to the finishing line. The first offensive was triggered after 17 km by Russia's Ilinykh (Bizkaia) who managed to gain a lead of 55'' over the pack but was soon caught, shortly after the summit of the Côte de Bellaire slope (after 31 km).

Dropping off the pace
The Côte de Bohisseau (after 38.5 km) and Côte de Boussalle slopes (after 41.5 km) were climbed at lightning pace, with in particular Longo Borghini, second last year on the Flèche, very active in the ascents and first to reach both of the summits. The pack shrunk bit by bit and only totalled around forty riders at Huy and then only 24 women at the top of ‘the wall' on the first passage over the location of the finishing line. At this point, the leading group was made up of Moolman (1st to the summit of the Mur de Huy), Pooley, Armistead, Ferrand-Prévot, Longo Borghini, Stevens and Vos. The pace dropped after the refreshment point in Huy (after 64 km) enabling 13 riders to catch up. 40 km from the finish, the leading group totalled 35 riders with a lead of 3'40” over the rest of the pack.

Cordon, De Vocht then Villumsen attack in the final stages
Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products), a team-mate of Longo Borghini and Moolman, went on the attack in the second climb up the Côte de Bellaire (after 95 km), 32 kilometres from the finish, and reached the summit with a lead of 15'' over the rest of the group. However, the Frenchwoman did not manage to open up a gap and was caught just before the Côte de Boussalle (after 105.5 km) which Marianne Vos (Rabo) was first to complete. Liesbeth De Vocht chose this moment to make a break, but it was in vain as the Belgian champion was eventually caught on the climb up the Côte d'Ahin (after 116 km), 11 km from the finish. With the end of the race 10 km away, Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda) burst away from the group and the time-trial specialist managed to build up a lead of up to 35''on entering the outskirts of Huy.

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