18 Abr La Flèche Wallonne Féminine Preview (1.WWT)
Six weeks after the inaugural race of the UCI WWT at the historic city of Siena, it is now turn for Huy. The nineteenth edition of Fleche Wallone (previously part of the defunct UCI Women’s World Cup) will witness the sixth round of the UCI Women’s World Tour. On Wednesday, April 20th Huy, Liege will be again the center of women’s cycling holding the UCI WWT race.
It’s epic, you know it’s one of the classics, it’s exciting, it’s hilly, I mean and it obviously finishes up the iconic Mur de Huy.
The definition of the American rider reflects narrowly this hard and spectacular classic, the Flèche Wallone, that always generates an outstanding media excitement. The media excitement is even wider this year due to the following reasons:
- It is the first UCI WWT round organised by ASO, and yet the level of coverage that will be provided remains unknown, mainly if live TV streaming will be provided. We have to remember that the ASO-UCI war hit women’s cycling at the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
- After a disappointing start of de season for Wiggle High5 where the team lack of empathy, they head to Fleche Wallone motivated after their great performance at both Emakumeen Saria and Emakumeen Bira. It seems they have solved the empathy problems they had and they are ready from contesting Boels Dolmans outstanding winning streak.
- Boels Dolmans momentum. The Dutch team heads to Fleche Wallone to extend their outstanding winning streak (they have won all five UCI WWT rounds). Would someone be able to contest their UCI WWT supremacy?
- “The Cannibal” will make her debut at the UCI WWT. We have been waiting a long time for the final comeback of the Dutch rider. It is now a reality, Marianne Vos will again be part of the race and her team, Rabobank Liv, will head to the Belgian race with their “big-four”, meaning they will have many ways of tactically facing the race as well as many chances of winning it.
UCI WWT Race Schedule:
- Strade Bianche, ITA – 05/03/16
The current British, Commonwealth and World champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) won last Saturday the second edition of Strade Bianche Women Elite, the first race ever of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, covering 121km from Siena to Siena. On the final climb to the finish line Lizzie overtook her breakaway partners, European champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank Liv) and Swedish rider Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5).
- Women’s WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe, NED – 12/03/16
Dutch rider Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) won last Saturday the second event of the UCI WWT, the Ronde van Drenthe, covering 138.3km from Hoogeveen to Hoogeveen. On the final sprint she overtook her breakaway partners, Australian rider Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS), German rider Trixi Worrack (Canyon SRAM) and Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen (Rabobank Liv).
- Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio, ITA – 20/03/2016
Current world champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) won in Cittiglio, repeating the feat that she achieved at the 2015 edition. After being dropped from the six-rider chasing group at the fourth Orino climb, the defending champion came back to the group and hastily launched an attack that was intended to set up her teammate Megan Guarnier for victory. However, nobody reacted to Armitstead’s powerful move and resulted to be the race winning move. Her teammate Megan Guarnier sprinted for the second place, while Jolanda Neff (Servetto Footon), who had aggressively attack and led the race over the final kilometres of the course, finished in third place.
- Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields, BEL – 27/03/16
Dutch rider Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) soloed to her second UCI WWT victory at Gent-Wevelgem. The Dutch rider slipped away from the seventeen-rider breakaway with around 10km to the finish line. Despite her compatriot van Vleuten efforts, Blaak immediately gained a gap that was never closed. She reached the finish line with over a minute advantage ahead of a seven-rider chasing group.
- Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres, BEL – 03/04/16
Current world champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) won in Oudenaarde, East Flanders continuing Boels Dolmans outstanding winning streak. It was her first victory in her third participation at Ronde van Vlaanderen. The reigning road world, Commonwealth and national champion got away with Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5) just after the Oude Kwaremont and the duo managed to stay away from the eight-rider chasing group. Despite the chasing efforts of four riders at the chasing group, Emma and Lizzie had respectively one and three teammates at the group that obviously did not collaborate on the chase, the two riders were able to maintain their gap until the finish line. In a very close sprint the British rider defeated the Swedish.
- La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, BEL – 20/04/15
- Tour of Chongming Island, CHN – from 06/05/16 to 08/05/16
- Amgen Tour of California, USA – from 19/05/16 to 22/05/16
- Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, USA – 05/06/16
- Aviva Womens Tour, GBR – from 15/06/16 to 19/06/16
- Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, ITA – from 01/07/16 to 10/07/16
- La Course by Le Tour de France, FRA – 24/07/16
- Prudential Ride London, GBR – 30/07/15
- Crescent Vargarda UCI Women’s WorldTour, SWE – 19/08/16
- Crescent Vargarda UCI Women’s WorldTour TTT, SWE – 21/08/16
- GP de Plouay-Bretagne, FRA – 27/08/16
- LA MADRID CHALLENGE By La Vuelta, ESP – 11/09/16
UCI Women’s WorldTour Individual Ranking
|1||Elizabeth Armitstead||Boels Dolmans||368|
|2||Chantal Blaak||Boels Dolmans||343|
|3||Emma Johansson||Wiggle High5||285|
UCI Women’s WorldTour Youth Ranking
|1||Katarzyna Niewiadoma||Rabobank Liv||18|
|2||Floortje Mackaij||Liv Plantur||12|
|3||Lotte Kopecky||Lotto Soudal||6|
Women’s WorldTour Team Ranking
Wednesday, April 20th, Local Time: 11:25 a.m. to 15:15 p.m. approx. (UTC+2)
A total of 25 teams and 150 riders will participate in this edition of Fleche Wallone. María Bonnín, Rocío del Alba García, Cristina Martínez, Gloria Rodríguez, Alba Teruel (Lointek), Marga López, Lierni Lekuona, Elisabet Escursett (Bizkaia-Durango), Dorleta Eskamendi (Lares Waowdeals), Ane Santesteban (Alé Cipollini), Sheyla Gutiérrez (Cylance) and Anna Sanchís (Wiggle High5) will be our Spanish representatives at the sixth UCI WWT race.
After a neutralised sector, the 137 kilometres 2016 Fleche Wallone race course will start. The course, which starts and finishes in Huy, has been modified from previous editions with a new hill, the Cote de Solieres, and longer turn before facing the Cote de Cherave. The peloton will cover one short lap to a course circuit lap (65 kilometres) and one lap to a larger circuit (72 kilometres). The course is not easy at all, as within each of the two laps the peloton will have to face the following hills:
|Km 11.5 – Côte d’Ereffe||2.1 kilometre-long climb at 5%|
|Km 31.0 – Côte de Bellaire||1 kilometre-long climb at 6.3%|
|Km 38.0 – Côte de Bohissau||1.3 kilometre-long climb at 7.6%|
|Km 51.0 – Côte de Solières||4.3 kilometre-long climb at 4%|
|Km 65.0 – Mur de Huy||1.3 kilometre-long climb at 9.6%|
|Km 78.0 – Côte d’Ereffe||2.1 kilometre-long climb at 5%|
|Km 97.0 – Côte de Bellaire||1 kilometre-long climb at 6.3%|
|Km 104.5 – Côte de Bohissau||1.3 kilometre-long climb at 7.6%|
|Km 117.0 – Côte de Solières||4.3 kilometre-long climb at 4%|
|Km 131.0 – Côte de Cherave||1.3 kilometre-long climb at 8.1%|
|Km 137.0 – HUY (Mur de Huy)||1.3 kilometre-long climb at 9.6%|
Mur de Huy will be a key point at the Belgian classic as the race will be end up on a sprint up the Mur or with a solo attack from the bottom of the steep hill or at the previous one, Cote de Chevare.
Favourites & Outsiders
Emma Johansson, Elisa Longo Borghini, Megan Guarnier
Marianne Vos, Ashleigh Moolman, Anna van der Breggen
Lizzie Armitstead, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Kasia Niewiadoma, Annemiek van Vleuten
Jolanda Neff, Alena Amialiusik, Ane Santesteban, Claudia Lichtenberg, Hannah Solovey
Our favourite: Ashleigh Moolman
Our outsider: Ane Santesteban
Who to watch
Anna van der Breggen (Rabobank Liv) won the 2015 Flèche Wallonne Féminine UCI Women Road World Cup, after attacking her compatriot and breakaway partner Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla). American rider Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) completed the podium. van Vleuten made the decisive race movement, as she attacked before the Cote de Cherave, breaking away with her compatriot Roxane Knetemann (Rabobank Liv). Later on the leading duo was joined by Knetemann’s teammate Anna van der Breggen. Thus, Knetemann began to lead the group playing a supportive role for van der Breggen, aiming to extend their gap over the five-rider chasing group formed by Ashleigh Moolman (Bigla), Megan Guarnier, Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans), Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabobank Liv).
Once they started Mur de Huy, Knetemann could not hold the pace as her teammate van der Breggen attacked. She gradually opened a gap over van Vleuten, to claim her first victory at Fleche Wallone. van Vleuten finished a few seconds behind the Dutch, while Guarnier completed the podium.
Highlights of 2015 Trofeo Alfredo Binda (UCI RWC)
Live TV Streaming
Still unknown If live TV streaming will be provided.
A few Twitter accounts and hashtags to follow the race (among others):
Post race highlights
The highlights of the race will be transmitted by UCI the following morning.