Vos Steps Back Into The Fray On The Mur!


© Presse Sports

Marianne Vos, the record-holder for most wins in the Flèche Wallonne, will start the 17th edition without any references to go on. Will this leave an opening for Emma Johansson, Lizzie Armitstead or Elisa Longo Borghini?

It has always been a race like no other. Just like in the men's event, the finale on the Mur de Huy favours light-framed riders with lots of raw power and explosiveness. These requirements mean the peloton always ends up broken in smithereens. With five of the last seven editions under her belt, Marianne Vos has stamped her authority on the Flèche even harder than elsewhere. Nevertheless, even the most prolific winner in history knows what it means to capitulate metres away from the line on the Chemin des Chapelles. Vos's out-of-character decision to skip the first part of the season gives her rivals reason to hope. Although the Queen has not raced since taking her seventh Cyclo-cross World Championship on February 1, finding a chink in her armour will be easier said than done. A handful of champions have got used to the taste of victory during her absence. One of them is the current world number 1, Sweden's Emma Johansson, who recently took the Alfredo Binda Trophy (second leg of the World Cup). Three different riders have claimed the first three major races of the season. Lizzie Armitstead's triumph in Drenthe consolidated her status as one of the most consistent players in prestigious races, just like recent Ladies' Tour of Flanders winner Ellen van Dijk. Finally, Evelyn Stevens will be aiming to repeat the exploit of two years ago, while young Italian Elisa Longo Borghini continues her meteoric rise and only dreams of capitalising on her second place in Huy last year.

Orica-AIS: Johansson (SWE) and Gillow (AUS)
Australia: McConville and Garfoot (AUS)

Lotto-Belisol Ladies: Pooley (GBR) and Rousse (FRA)
Lointek: Biannic and Lesueur (FRA)

Canada: Kirchmann and Ewart (CAN)

Bizkaia - Durango: Ilinykh (RUS)
United States
Specialized - Lululemon: Stevens (USA), Cromwell (AUS) and Worrack (GER)
USA: Hall (USA)

Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope.86: Rivat (FRA) and Roy (AUS)
France: Pitel and Duval (FRA)

Great Britain
Wiggle Honda: Villumsen (NZL) and Trott (GBR)

Astana Be Pink Womens Team: Amialiusik (BLR) and Schweizer (SUI)
Estado de México-Faren: Luperini and Ratto (ITA)
Ale Cipollini: Berlato and Carretta (ITA)
Top Girls Fassa Bortolo: Cauz and Paladin (ITA)
Servetto Footon: Boyarskaya and Potokina (RUS)

Hitec Products: Longo Borghini (ITA), Moolman (RSA) and Cordon (FRA)

Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team: Vos, Van Vleuten (NED) and Ferrand-Prévot (FRA)
Boels Dolmans Cycling Team: Armitstead (GBR) and Van Dijk (NED)
Team Giant-Shimano: Pieters (NED) and Häusler (GER)
Team Futurmshop.nl Zannata: Pijnenborg (NED)
Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team: De Baat and Peetoom (NED)

Rusvelo: Zabelinskaya and Antoshina (RUS)

Bigla Cycling Team: Koedooder (NED) and Gebhardt (GER)

The race in pictures


© Presse Sports

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