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As it happened: How Demi Vollering won Liege-Bastogne-Liege Femmes

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023 profile

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023 profile (Image credit: Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes)

The biggest talking points ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes - Preview

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023 - Route

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023 Start List

Race Notes

- The peloton race 142.8km from Bastogne to Liège

- There are eight major climbs, including the finale trio: Côte de la Redoute, Côte des Forges and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons

- In-race situation:
- Severine Eraud (Cofidis) was the only rider in the early break but was reeled back in on the first climb.
- A strong group of five including Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), Amanda Spratt (Trek Segafredo), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM), Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) and Esmee Peperkamp (Team DSM) got away with over 70km to ride
- Reusser was the strongest of that group and went alone on La Redoute.
- She was reeled in on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons before going on the attack again with Longo Borghini.
- Vollering eventually bridged the gap before riding the final 10km with the Italian and beating her in the sprint to complete the Ardennes triple.

  • 1 - Côte de Wanne (3.6km at 5.1%)
  • 2 - Côte de Stockeu (1km at 12.5%)
  • 3 - Côte de Haute-Levée (2.2km at 7.5%)
  • 4 - Col du Rosier (4.4km at 5.9%)
  • 5 - Côte de Desnié (1.6km at 9.4%)
  • 6 - Côte de la Redoute (1.6km at 9.4%)
  • 7 - Côte des Forges (1.3km at 7.8%)
  • 8 - Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (1.3km At 11%)

Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes!

Here we are, it’s the final of the three Ardennes Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It’s the seventh edition of the women’s race and the riders will tackle 140km of Belgian roads, with over 2000m of elevation gain, it will be one of the hardest one-day races of the season. 

After victories at Amstel Gold Race last Sunday and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes on Wednesday, Demi Vollering is the massive favourite and has a unique opportunity to become the second woman in history to capture the Ardennes triple. 

She will be trying to emulate her directeur sportif Ann van der Breggen, who will be in the team car giving advice to her protégé, after she won the three races in 2017 - the first time it was possible to do so.

The teams are currently completing the sign-on process and presentation in Bastogne awaiting the start of the seventh edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023.

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Vollering (SD Worx) has stated that this is her favourite race, previously winning it in 2021. Also, in her first professional year (2019) she managed to podium behind her two Dutch compatriots, Annemiek van Vleuten and Floortje Mackaij, who are now teammates at Movistar. 

HUY, BELGIUM - APRIL 19: Demi Vollering of The Netherlands and Team SD Worx celebrates at finish line as race winner during the 26th La Fleche Wallonne Feminine 2023 a 127.3km one day race from Huy to Mur de Huy / #UCIWWT / on April 19, 2023 in Huy, Belgium. (Photo by David Stockman/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Van Vleuten is the defending champion at LBL after winning La Doyenne for the second time with a solo attack on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons ahead of Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) and Vollering in 2022. 

If the World Champion can triumph again in this her final season before retirement, she would overtake Van der Breggen for the most victories at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes with three. 

She will have to seriously increase her form to win it though after a disappointing and bad luck riddled start to the season. Will LBL go Dutch again for the sixth time in seven years?  

We're under ten minutes away from the start now with the riders lined up and ready to go. It's nine degrees and cloudy as expected of Belgium in April. 

It's fantastic to see Lizzie Deignan again on the start list for Trek-Segafredo as she makes her return to racing after the birth of her second child.

To read Cyclingnews' full preview, click below:
The biggest talking points ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes

Lizzie Deignan start LBL Women 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've had five riders unfortunately not take the start today: Mette Jensen (Lotto Dstny), Marla Sigmund (Lotto Dstny), Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing TeqFind), Henrietta Christie (Human Powered Health) and Margaux Vigie (LifePlus Wahoo).

135 riders have taken the start in Bastogne. 

The seventh edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes is underway!

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We've got quite a way to go before the first proper climb of the day, but once they start, they come thick and fast all the way until the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. After that final climb they will descend into Liège.

Will anyone be able to go with Vollering on the final few climbs?

The first attacks of the day have already started to go.

One rider has managed to escape of the front on a solo adventure: Severine Eraud (Cofidis). Her advantage is currently over a minute.

Here's a look at the 28-year-old French rider out in front.

Severine Eraud LBL women 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

125km to go

Eraud's gap is decreasing at the front as other riders try to attack away from the peloton.

The gap has gone back out towards the minute mark for Eraud now.

110km to go

Multiple riders from different teams have tried, but no one has been able to catch the lone Cofidis rider as of yet, her advantage sits at 01'35".

The peloton is now 10km from the first of nine climbs today - the Côte de Mont-Le-Soie (1.7km at 7.9%).

It's been a quick start to the day with a tailwind pushing the riders on. The first hour of racing was completed at an average speed around 40km/h

Eraud is now on the Côte de Mont-Le-Soie (1.7km at 7.9%). She hits the foot of it with a 0'55" advantage over the peloton. 

90km to go

After the first climb of the day, the next uphill test is a trio of climbs, the Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levée, a trilogy not seen in the women’s race before. They tackle all three climbs within a 15km period of the race which should definitely thin down the group. 

Severine Eraud's day out in the break is over for now, the French rider has been reeled in. 

Eva Van Agt (Jumbo-Visma) is pulling on the front of the peloton. 

The second categorised climb of the day is the Côte de Wanne (3.6km at 5.1%).  The riders are now all back together and around 1km away from the foot of the climb. 

The big names are starting to show themselves at the front of the peloton to ensure they can react to any moves. Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo) and Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) are the most prominent, with Vollering (SD Worx) close behind. 

Everything is still together after the Wanne, but up next is the very steep Côte de Stockeu (1km at 12.5%). Perhaps a chance for an early move if anyone fancies it, but 75km solo would be quite the feat. 

Approaching the Stockeu has been intense in the bunch with things all stretched out by Van Agt on the front once again. 

75km to go

The third climb of the day has brought multiple attackers to the front trying to get away, Movistar are on the front for now driving it.

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Reusser (SD Worx), Spratt (Trek-Segafredo), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM), Esmee Peperkamp (DSM) and Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) have opened up a gap over the peloton of around 20 seconds.

Movistar react quickly as this is quite obviously a strong group they would not want to give too much advantage to. 

The group of five out front will hit the Côte de Haute-Levée (2.2km at 7.5%) next and their gap has now extended to 55 seconds. 

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It's now a minute advantage for the very strong group of five out in front.

We're in one of the odd phases of the race that doesn't have a climb for a few kilometres. It is still undulating of course and the riders will be treated with the Col du Rosier (4.4km at 5.9%), their next test which arrives in around 9km. 

Take a look below at the leading group of five that is filled to the brim with both experience and talent. 

Leading group of five at Liège Bastogne Liège Femmes 2023 Marlen Reusser leading

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The gap to the leaders has fallen back to just a minute at the bottom of the Col du Rosier (4.4km at 5.9%) after going out to 01'15". There are two previous LBL podium finishers in this group: Spratt (2nd 2018) and Niewiadoma (3rd 2017).

Movistar surely have to lead the chase behind, but will SD Worx be happy with just Reusser in the front group?

Marta Cavalli (FDJ SUEZ) is pulling in the peloton. She finished sixth at LBL last year after winning  Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes. 

Gap to the leaders is down to 0'50". 

The next climb the riders will face is the Col du Maquisard (2.5km at 5%). The leading group of five is currently 2km from the foot of it. 

50km to go

Real wheel puncture for Niewiadoma in the front group.

She's currently sat between the Movistar-led peloton and the leaders .

Niewiadoma back in the main group now. The gap to the leaders is only at 25 seconds as well, so not the end of the world at all for the Polish rider. 

The front group is riding well together with Canyon SRAM now pacing behind. Reusser clearly working hard in the same week she re-signed with SD Worx for another season. 

40km to go

The fight for position is already beginning as the group approaches the all important ascent into the foot of the Côte de la Redoute (1.6km at 9.4%). Gap is now at 0'38". 

Here we are, Côte de la Redoute (1.6km at 9.4%) time. It gets worse in gradient as it goes on.

Reusser straight on the front with Spratt close behind her.

Henderson struggling at the back of the four and dropping.

Only Spratt able to follow Reusser now, Peperkamp also dropped. It's seated power to the max for the Swiss rider who looks very comfortable on the front for now.

Reusser goes again! She's all alone now with even Spratt, one of the finest climbers in the world, unable to live with her. Gap is now out to 53 seconds. It's perfect tactics again for SD Worx. 

It's kicking off for the favourites in the peloton now. Spratt and Peperkamp are together behind with the bikes being pulled out of the gap in-between now.

Van Vleuten goes in the bunch! she's ominously followed closely by Demi Vollering of course. 

Very select group of favourites now in pursuit. SD Worx have the numeric advantage with Reusser of course away in front but also Vollering and Niamh Fisher-Black behind able to sit in. 

Liane Lippert attacks!

Van Vleuten hits the group with the one-two punch but Vollering is not going to allow her even a metre of a gap. 

The pace has lulled behind allowing the Swiss rider to build a lead of 1'11" now. Spratt has dropped Peperkamp in the chase but they are also 45 seconds in arrears of Reusser.

26km to go

Huge advantage now for Reusser at over 01'41". There are all sorts of attacks flying out of the main group now but they have lots of work to do if they are going to catch the Swiss rider. 

Reusser enters the penultimate categorised climb of the day, the Côte des Forges (1.3km at 7.8%) with an advantage of 01'20".

Behind it's Lippert again shredding the group on the front with another attack.

Mavi Garcia (Liv Racing TeqFind) is the next to up the pace and there is a group forming at the front of the peloton - the strongest riders are making sure they don't miss it.

Currently its Garcia, Vollering and Longo Borghini in the group that is close to making contact with Spratt. 

The cooperation is not too present in the chase with Van Vleuten the next to try and attack with no joy. It's swelling behind with Reusser still powering on out in front. 

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20km to go

Here's a look back at the moment Reusser dropped her final breakaway companion, Spratt, on La Redoute. Her gap is still at 01'07" with 20km left to ride.

Marlen Reusser Liege 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just one climb left on the menu and its the big one: Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (1.3km At 11%). Can Reusser hand on?

Shirin Van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) and Spratt and drilling it on the front to try and bring back the Swiss rider out in front.

15km to go

Reusser has just over 40 seconds of an advantage heading towards the final categorised uphill test.

Trek are still pushing it behind and they are doing serious damage with their remaining riders all working. They've even gapped the peloton - only Elise Chabbey (Canyon SRAM) is with them.

The Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (1.3km At 11%) has arrived with Longo Borghini thanking her final teammate and kicking on in pursuit of Reusser. She's only got Chabbey for company with Vollering forced into a response behind. 

Reusser looks calm and cool with her 28 second advantage, you wouldn't know she'd been putting in a brilliant solo performance. Vollering is closing in on the chasing duo now. 

Vollering makes contact!

13km to go

Van Vleuten is here - the defending champion is in the leading group of favourites now ready to fight for glory. 

Tactics are all starting to play out in this group of leaders with Longo Borghini now with Reusser ahead of the rest. It's down to Chabbey or Van Vleuten to chase.

Van Vleuten attacks again! Vollering straight onto her but it's a big kick from the World Champion. 

The group of four: Vollering, Van Vleuten, Realini and Chabbey slows down knowing the SD Worx leader will chase any attack down. Riejanne Markus makes contact at the back of the group.

Longo Borghini and Reusser still driving on at the head of the race.

Vollering attacks! She's left the rest of the chasers in her dust as she jumps the gap to her teammate Reusser's back wheel. 

10km to go

Van Vleuten is forced back into the chase with Longo Borghini hanging onto Vollering's wheel. 

Gap for the duo out in front is at 10 seconds. 

Vollering is getting on the radio as the leading gaps advantage is only increasing to now over 20 seconds. 

5km to go

It's setting up for a thrilling finale to the 2023 classics season with the leading duo's gap stable now at 20 seconds. They are sharing turns nicely at the moment but will have to not hesitate if they do go into a final two-up sprint. 

2km to go

Both riders are still working but will both want to sprint from second wheel when they come to the finish in Liege. Their gap is still stable at 25 seconds so it should be between the duo barring any fooling messing around. 

1km to go

We've only seen one non-Dutch rider win Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes in history - Lizzie Deignan. Can Longo Borghini become the second?

It's real cat and mouse stuff in the sprint for now. Chabbey chasing behind but the buffer looks comfortable.

Longo Borghini leading it out. Vollering sits ominously in her wheel.

Longo Borghini kicks first but Demi Vollering kicks out of her wheel.

Vollering wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes and completes the Ardennes triple!

Marlen Reusser wins the sprint behind for third for an SD Worx first and third and other masterclass in this season's Spring Classics campaign. Absolute perfection from Vollering and Reusser. 

Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne and now Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Vollering becomes the second woman ever to win the Ardennes triple in this the seventh edition of LBL. She emulates her director sportive Anna van der Breggen who achieved the feat in 2017.

She waited for Longo Borghini to kick, stayed alongside her and had more than enough to power away from the Italian in the final 100 metres. Brilliant ride from the Italian but just beat by the better rider on the day. What a finish to a fantastic edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Here's the moment Vollering had dreamed about, she holds three fingers in the air for her historic Ardennes triple. Vollering was already one of the best riders in the world but has kicked on significantly in 2023.

Demi Vollering wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023

(Image credit: Getty)

Post-race an emotional Demi Vollering said: "It's amazing, I cannot believe it. I'm so grateful for my teammates and just super proud."

"I was really happy that Elisa [Longo Borghini] wanted to work with me, then in the last kilometre we really needed to gamble and I knew I could gamble with Marlen [Reusser] behind me."

"I'm just really happy that I could win the sprint and take it home."

"I really wanted to win this one, especially with the chance for three in a row and that's not something you get everyday."

Demi Vollering, 2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner

(Image credit: Getty )

Take a look at the full results below, provided by FirstCycling.

Also make sure you read Cyclingnews' full race report and growing photo gallery:
Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes: Demi Vollering wins to take historic triple

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