Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes: Demi Vollering triumphs to complete Ardennes triple

Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) has won Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes for the second time in her career, completing the Ardennes triple after her Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne victories in the past week. She beat Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) in a two-woman sprint, and Vollering's teammate Marlen Reusser won the sprint of the chase group for third place.

The Dutchwoman held back until the final climb of the day as Reusser was on a solo breakaway. Longo Borghini's attack on the Roche-aux-Faucons finally reeled in Reusser, who made another move on the descent that Longo Borghini followed. Vollering then bridged to the front as Reusser began to struggle, and on the final ten kilometres to the finish Longo Borghini and Vollering shared the work to hold off the chasers.

Longo Borghini led the duo onto the finishing straight and launched her sprint 150 metres from the line, but Vollering came past her with 50 metres to go to take the victory.

“It’s amazing. I cannot believe it, I am so grateful for my teammates and super-proud,” said Vollering after her historic victory.

“I was really happy that Elisa wanted to work with me. In the last kilometre, I really needed to gamble, and I knew I could gamble because I had Marlen behind me, which made it a bit easier for me. But I’m just really happy that I could win the sprint,” she described the final, revealing that she had been pushed to her limits.

Vollering is the second woman to complete the Ardennes triple by winning all three hilly classics in the same season, following in the footsteps of her sports director Anna van der Breggen, who managed the same feat in 2017, the first year all three races held women’s editions.

“It’s not a chance you get every day, so I really wanted to take this home. Anna is not here today, unfortunately, but I’m sure she watched on TV and jumped around at home. She is also my coach, so I work really close together with her, and that’s really special,” Vollering finished.

How it unfolded

Séverine Eraud (Cofidis) was the first rider to attack in the 142.8-kilometre race. She held an advantage of up to 2:25 minutes but was caught on the Côte de Mont-le-Soie, the first of the day’s nine classified climbs.

With 75km to go, the steep Côte de Stockeu was the springboard for a strong breakaway of Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo), Reusser, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Esmée Peperkamp (Team DSM), and Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma). Their biggest gap was 1:15 minutes on the Col du Rosier 60km from the finish, then Movistar Team started to chase in the peloton and gradually reduced the gap.

Niewiadoma suffered a puncture and had to let the others go, which started the Côte de La Redoute about 40 seconds ahead of the peloton. Reusser quickly took charge, dropping Henderson, Peperkamp, and Spratt in succession. Further behind, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) put on the pressure and split the peloton.

The group of favourites grew again after the climb as nobody wanted to take responsibility for the chase. Van Vleuten, her teammate Liane Lippert, and Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon-SRAM) tried to get away but had no success, and Reusser had extended her advantage to 1:40 minutes with 27km to go.

Lippert attacked again on the Côte des Forges, taking Chabbey, Mavi García (Liv Racing TeqFind), Vollering, and Niamh Fisher-Black (Team SD Worx) with her. García took over from the German champion, and these accelerations quickly took 30 seconds off Reusser’s gap.

More riders came back to this move, forming a peloton of 20 to 25 riders, and when Spratt was caught 21km from the finish, Trek-Segafredo committed fully to the chase, putting Shirin van Anrooij at the front of the group.

The 21-year-old pulled so hard that she, Longo Borghini and Chabbey got a gap on the rest of the group in the run-in to the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, where Longo Borghini made her move. 

Reusser was now only 30 seconds ahead, and at the top of the climb, the Swiss allrounder was caught by Longo Borghini, Chabbey, Vollering, Van Vleuten and Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo).

Reusser had kept something in reserve and immediately attacked into the descent, where only Longo Borghini followed her. Riejanne Markus (Team Jumbo-Visma) returned to the chase group, where Van Vleuten tried to close the gap on the uncategorised hill after the main climb, but instead, it was Vollering who broke away and bridged to the front 11km from the finish.

Reusser had given everything and dropped back while Vollering and Longo Borghini continued to work together on the descent into Liège, building an advantage of 25 seconds. This meant that they had time to play cat-and-mouse on the final kilometre. The Italian started her sprint first, but Vollering had the faster legs in the end.


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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

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