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Posts tagged ‘Flèche-Wallonne’

Video: Evie Stevens Wins Flèche Wallonne, Podium and Finish Replay

Thanks @ednl for the video. Super impressive win from Evie Stevens of Specialized lululemon on the Mur de Huy. She followed the wheel of four-time winner Marianne Vos, then with picture perfect timing, came around to win by a bike-length and then some. Linda Villumsen of GreenEdge finished third, well back from the leading pair.

At the beginning of the year, Stevens said that Flèche Wallonne was among the races she would most like to win. She believed the final climb suited her, but she had struggled in the past with the narrow, technical roads that lead to the final climb. Earlier this season, Stevens crashed trying to follow an attack from Marianne Vos at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. This time, Stevens kept the bike upright.

From the start, her coaches have raved about her power and her physiology – that Stevens has that perfect balance of strength, weight, and speed to win the big races. Now, we finally start to see what the fuss has been all about.

Also notable, Megan Guarnier of Team Tibco finished seventh on the Mur de Huy. Guarnier is a rider on the move – she won her first international race last year at the Giro di Toscana. She is more in the mold of a sprinter than Stevens, but seventh in this World Cup is a big step forward for Guarnier, an ex-swimmer turned bike racer.

For the U.S., the results from Guarnier and Stevens are good news. The U.S. started the season on the knife edge of the Olympic selection game. Would the U.S. get two starts or three starts in London? Much depended on how the U.S. riders finished in these early season races. I haven’t done the math just yet, but today’s race should help that cause significantly.

At the beginning of the season, Tibco team owner Linda Jackson said she was committed to helping the women chase the UCI points necessary to make it to the Olympics and she arranged for the team – including Guarnier – to travel to Europe to race. It takes a village.

For Stevens personally, this result should also help her cause in the selection game. And if the U.S. does in fact get those three starts? Guarnier looks better and better as a possible pick for London.

Certainly, the list is shrinking: Stevens, Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, and Megan Guarnier have the most recent top level results of the American women.

Video: Evie Stevens Wins Flèche Wallonne, Podium and Finish Replay

Around Racing: Three Times Club

Or is that Racing Around? I’m really not good at titles.

Anyway…

NOS Video of the Women’s Finish!
Includes a post-race interview with Marianne Vos. In English! Heh, I become almost Pez-like with the exclamations. I will strive to contain myself in the future.

Alas, the internet does not love me. The viddy would not embed.

Today Marianne Vos of DSB-Bank joined the three times club by celebrating her third consecutive win at La Flèche Wallonne. The women’s race covered 97.5 kilometers and 8 côtes before finishing on the Mur de Huy. Just before the Mur, Claudia Häusler of Cervèlo TestTeam attacked, and at the base of the climb, Häusler led with Marianne Vos in second wheel and World Cup leader Emma Johansson of Red Sun in third.

With approximately 150 meters to go, Vos accelerated and quickly opened up a solid gap on Häusler. Johannssen managed to overtake the Cervèlo rider, but could not catch the flying Dutch woman, who made the climb look remarkably easy. Said Vos after the race, “I was the favorite, but the level of the racing this year was very high and it was not easy to control the race. To join Cooke and Luperini with three victories, this is a true honor. This is a wonderful course and it is an affair for true specialists.” Today’s victory is Vos’s second World Cup win this year. Her first came at the World Cup opener at Cittiglio.

Häusler, though disappointed, still celebrated her third place. “I am very happy with my third place finish,” said the Cervélo rider. Recognizing the sprint speed of both Vos and Johansson, Häusler tried to attack early on the climb. “That climb is long; Vos and Johansson are very fast sprinters for short distances, so I thought that attacking further out would be to my advantage. In the end, they were stronger than I expected,” she concluded.

With her second place finish, Emma Johansson retains the lead in the World Cup series by 18 points. The woman have six more races in the series. Johansson won the most recent race at Drenthe in the Netherlands.

American Amber Neben of Nürnberger Versicherung finished fourth, and Italian Naomi Cantele of Team Bigla fifth. Jochen Dornbusch, Neben’s DS commented, “This here is a very hard race,” and called Neben’s fourth a “super result.” Current Olympic and World Champion Nicole Cooke of Vision1 finished sixth.

On the men’s side, Davide Rebellin of Diquigiovanni-Androni also joined the three times club. Rebellin’s previous wins are 2004 and 2007. The other three three-timers are: Marcel Kint 1943, 1944, 1945; Eddy Merckx 1967, 1970, and 1972; and Moreno Argentin 1990, 1991, and 1994. Second place Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank said he simply couldn’t follow the acceleration of Rebellin in the finale. Likewise for Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Ngc, who finished third. Cunego said he is looking forward to Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he believes suits his characteristics better.