Vollering makes history all the way to Liège
April 23 rd 2023 - 12:47
Demi Vollering (SD Worx) capped off an extraordinary classics campaign with a triumph in the Ardent City, on Sunday, as she claimed glory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). The Dutch star already takes her fifth victory of the season (out of 8 days of racing), including a historic treble from the Amstel Gold Race, last Sunday, to Liège, with La Flèche Wallonne Femmes in between. Already a winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021, Vollering emulates Anna van der Breggen, who achieved the same string of victories in 2017 and led SD Worx to success again, as a sports director. Third on the podium, Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) adds to the Dutch team’s dominance this spring.
The 135-woman peloton set off from Bastogne at 8:35. The first rolling part sees Séverine Eraud (Cofidis) lead the first breakaway of the day. The French woman opens a gap of 2’25’’ after 30k of battle but the peloton react early and the solo attacker is caught at the bottom of the first listed ascent of the day, Côte de Mont-le-Soie (summit at km 51.7).
Eva Van Agt (Jumbo-Visma) goes first over the top and leads the peloton to the unprecedented Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levée triptych. The “wall” of Stockeu (1km at 12.5%), introduced for the first time on the roads of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, sees a star-studded group of attackers get on the move with 77km to go.
An impressive move goes on Stockeu
Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram), Esmée Peperkamp (Team DSM) and Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) open a gap of 20'' on the ascent. Annemiek van Vleuten’s Movistar react to control the attackers’ lead around 1’ over the Côte de la Haute-Levée (km 70.8) and Col du Rosier (km 84.9).
Niewiadoma loses touch with the lead group due to a rear wheel puncture on the climb up the Col du Maquisard. As she drops back to the bunch, her team Canyon//Sram up the ante and bring the gap down to 25’’ at the summit (km 97.6).
6 leaders atop La Roche-aux-Faucons
Onto La Redoute, the gap is up to 40’’. And Reusser immediately shows her raw power to drop her breakaway companions on the mighty ascent (1.8km at 9.4%), slightly shortened this year to quickly head to the Côte des Forges via the demanding roads of Cornémont.
Movistar’s Annemiek van Vleuten and Liane Lippert try to react. But their rivals match their accelerations while Reusser keeps pushing at the front.
Into the last 15km, the ‘Swiss train’ faces the final ascent of the day, Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (1.3km at 11%) with a lead of 40 seconds. But Trek-Segafredo react and six riders go over the top together in the lead: Reusser, with Demi Vollering (SD Worx), Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo), Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar).
Longo Borghini vs Vollering
On the next uphill, towards Boncelles, Longo Borghini and Vollering drop their rivals, who are joined by Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma). The Dutch star and the Italian icon enter the last 5km with a gap of 23’’ to their chasers. They are set to battle for glory in the streets of Liège.
The two of them look at each other in the final kilometre, until Longo Borghini opens up the sprint with 150 metres to go… But there is no containing Vollering on her way to a historic treble, following her triumphs in the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes, just like her trainer and sports director Anna van der Breggen did in 2017. Reusser sprinted to the third place on the podium.