Off to Wallonia for part two of Ardennes week

17 April 2018

Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team has started Ardennes week with a victory for the world champion in the Amstel Gold Race. Chantal Blaak sprinted to her first Women’s WorldTour win in the rainbow stripes and repeated the team’s success in the opening race of the Ardennes triple, after Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen won the race last year.

In 2017, Van der Breggen went on to also win the two Wallonia races, the Flèche Wallonne Femmes and inaugural Liège-Bastogne-Liège. With Blaak’s win in the Amstel Gold Race, the team has still every opportunity to repeat the Ardennes triples win.

First up is the Flèche Wallonne Femmes on Wednesday 18 April. After completing the Flèche Wallonne hattrick last year by taking her third victory in a row atop the Mur de Huy, Van der Breggen will once again lead the team along with double podium finisher in the race, Megan Guarnier. They will get support from Karol-Ann Canuel, Jip van den Bos, Skylar Schneider and Anna Plichta.

"The Fleche Wallonne Femmes is one of the hardest races on the calendar, a beautiful race in which the strongest rider wins," said Van der Breggen. "You know everyone will be exhausted in the final and then you have to go up the Mur de Huy one final time." 

On Sunday, the second edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will round up Ardennes week. Van der Breggen and Guarnier headline the team and the world champion is back in the line-up after Flèche. Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus returns to racing after the Healthy Ageing Tour and the team is completed by Canuel and Van den Bos.

“It has climbs, but it doesn't get flat even for a moment,” said Van der Breggen about the race. “When you start climbing with 60 kilometres to go, then it's hard, and it doesn't stop. It's a great race to have on a calendar.”

If Blaak still leads the Women’s WorldTour classification on Sunday, do not look for the purple leader’s jersey as the world champion jersey trumps a classification jersey. However, with some exciting racing to come before that race, the jersey might change shoulders again tomorrow.

The races

The Flèche Wallonne Femmes on Wednesday 18 April starts and finishes in Huy. A big loop will be completed before one local lap has to be completed, that contains the Côte d’Ereffe, Côte de Cherave and Mur de Huy. The race is 118.5 kilometres in length and will start at 10.45am CET. The finish is expected around 2pm CET.

On Sunday 22 April, the women’s peloton will depart for Liège-Bastogne-Liège from Mc Auliffe Place in Bastogne at 10.45am CET. After 135.5 kilometres and four climbs, of which the Saint Nicolas is crested at only 5.5 kilometres from the finish line, the winner is expected in Ans around 2.30pm CET. 

Neither of the two Wallonia races have a livestream or a live broadcast of the women’s race, although we’re hoping for finish images of the women’s race during the men’s broadcast. It’s therefore back to Twitter to follow these races live. For both races, #UCIWWT is your go-to hashtag.

Additional info can be found on the official race accounts @flechewallonne and @LiegeBastogneL. There is a special hashtag for the Flèche Wallonne Femmes, which is #FWWOMEN. For Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the women’s specific hashtag is #LBLW2018.

Boels-Dolmans for Flèche Wallonne Femmes:

Anna van der Breggen
Megan Guarnier
Karol-Ann Canuel
Jip van den Bos
Skylar Schneider
Anna Plichta 

Boels-Dolmans for Liège-Bastogne-Liège:

Anna van der Breggen
Chantal Blaak
Megan Guarnier
Karol-Ann Canuel
Christine Majerus
Jip van den Bos

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