THE NETHERLANDS vs THE REST OF THE WORLD
April 15 th 2021 - 15:06
Dutchwomen Anna van der Breggen (6 victories on the Mur de Huy) and Marianne Vos (5 victories) will again be aiming for a historical triumph on the 24th edition of the Flèche Wallonne Femmes, whilst Annemiek van Vleuten will be hoping to write her name on the roll of honour for an event that often smiles on stars from Holland.
Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup, second in 2020, will be leading the international opposition with South African Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, Poland’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma, British rider Liz Deignan as well as young German Liane Lippert.
Many have tried to conquer the Mur de Huy but few have raised their hands in triumph at the summit of the Chemin des Chapelles where yesteryear the pilgrims glorified Our Lady. Nowadays, it is a place of consecration for the queens of Dutch cycling, whose hegemonic domination has left little of the limelight to the competition, stifled on the gruelling slopes of the Ardennes. In the spring of 2021 once again, the 24th edition of the Flèche Wallonne Femmes will welcome some of the leading riders from the Netherlands. In Huy, Anna van der Breggen’s reign is almost absolute, with six victories since 2015. She will again be wearing the World Champion’s rainbow jersey, as in 2019, and her SD Worx team (who have replaced long-time sponsors Boels-Dolmans) will also include African Champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (8 top 10 finishes in Huy and 2nd in 2018) as well as young recruit Demi Vollering, also from Holland, and capable of tackling the Mur de Huy’s taxing percentages, as shown by her 3rd place in 2020.
For her final assault on Huy before her retirement planned for the end of the season, Van der Breggen has many advantages but also a good number of serious rivals. Marianne Vos has already triumphed five times in Huy (between 2007 and 2013) and her first races this season in the colours of the brand-new Jumbo-Visma women’s team have demonstrated that the orange cannibal is still hungry for success. As for their countrywoman Annemiek Van Vleuten, she has been foiled twice by Van der Breggen (finishing runner-up in 2015 and 2019) but has joined Movistar to try and leave her mark on history. Their opponents from around the world will be in attendance to remind them that the Flèche Wallonne Femmes is not simply a Dutch affair. Italian Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), her British team-mate Elizabeth Deignan and Poland’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon // Sram Racing) are used to battling with them on all sorts of terrains. Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle - Aquitaine Futuroscope), second last year, embodies the ranks of emerging young riders, to which can be added German Liane Lippert (Team DSM) and her French team-mate Juliette Labous. It promises to be a fascinating contest in Huy.
24 teams: the main participants
Team BikeExchange: Spratt (AUS)
Bingoal Casino - Chevalmeire: Ratto (ITA)
Doltcini - Van Eyck Sport - Proximus Continental Team: Kulynych (UKR)
Lotto Soudal Ladies: Nilsson (SWE)
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team: Levenez (FRA)
FDJ Nouvelle - Aquitaine Futuroscope: Cavalli (ITA), Ludwig (DNK)
Canyon // Sram Racing: Niewiadoma (POL)
Ceratizit - WNT Pro Cycling Team: Magnaldi (ITA)
Team DSM: Lippert (DEU), Rivera (USA)
A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team: Sierra (CUB)
Alé BTC Ljubljana: Garcia (ESP)
Valcar - Travel & Service: Arzuffi (ITA)
Andy Schleck - CP NVST - Immo Losch: Lang (EST)
Jumbo - Visma Women Cycling Team: Vos (NED)
Liv Racing: Paladin (ITA)
Parkhotel Valkenburg: Van Bokhoven (NED)
Team SD Worx: Van der Breggen (NED), Moolman-Pasio (ZAF), Vollering (NED)
Bepink: Zanardi (ITA)
Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team: Zabelinskaya (UZB)
Movistar Team Women: Van Vleuten (NED)
Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur: Lowden (USA)
Rally Cycling: Koppenburg (DEU)
Trek - Segafredo: Deignan (GBR), Longo Borghini (ITA)
Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank: Stephens (USA)