The opening race of the Ardennes triple got underway today as the riders rolled out of Maastricht for a 128 kilometre long route, finishing in Valkenburg after tackling the famous Cauberg and many other climbs in the area. Once the flag dropped it was a steady start to the race and despite a few small moves going clear, the race was still all together with 80 kilometres to go.
Becoming a race of attrition a dangerous move of around ten riders broke clear, and having missed the group, Léa Curinier and Leah Kirchmann worked hard to close it down, before Pfeiffer Georgi positioned the team ahead of the next climbs. Over one of the many ascents, Liane Lippert showed good legs by forging clear in a group of seven that built up a lead of almost one minute over the bunch but after a strong chase from the peloton things regrouped yet again with still 35 kilometres to go.
Floortje Mackaij and Juliette Labous both tried their hand at going clear but as was the case for most of the race, any group was eventually brought back. With it clear that no move was going to survive until the line, the team fully committed for the final ascent of the Cauberg, riding brilliantly as a unit to be towards the front as they made the left turn. Lippert followed a searing pace at the head of the race and made it into the group of seven that would fight it out for the win. Just as the pace slowed and everyone was almost on their limit over the crest, race winner Cavalli made her move and Lippert’s group hesitated. Pushing all the way to the end, Lippert opened up her sprint in the chasing group and in the photo finish claimed a brilliant third place on the line; a great reward for a brilliant team ride.
|1||CAVALLI Marta||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||3:17:41||400|
|2||VOLLERING Demi||Team SD Worx||0:04||320|
|3||LIPPERT Liane||Team DSM||,,||260|