At the end of a tremendous show of courage in the difficult conditions of the rainy Ardennes, Lizzie Deignan claimed Liege-Bastogne-Liege for the first time of her career. The Brit powered away on the Cote de la Redoute never to be caught despite the strong counter-attack of Grace Brown. She wins this 4th edition of the race ahead of Brown and Ellen Van Dijk. Thanks to her success, the Trek-Segafredo rider takes command of the UCI Women’s World Tour again.
Five months after its initial date, the weather conditions were just as cold for the ladies of the 4th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège women. Cold temperatures and rain as the 136 riders took off on the 135-km course from Bastogne to Liège. In these difficult conditions and with a strong tailwind, the pack remained bunched.
Hard to take off and power away from a pack well under the control of teams Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and Boels-Dolmans. A first decisive move eventually came on the first climb of the day, the Cote de Wanne (km 56.5) when seven riders pulled away: Peters (Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team), Labous (Team Sunweb), Barnes (Canyon Sram), Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo), Vos (CCC Liv), Reusser (Paule Ka) and Stephens (Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank).
On the following climb, while Stephens was dropped, two others very interesting riders joined the front group: Deignan (Trek Segafredo) and Aalerud (Movistar Team). The advantage of the front 8 reached 32” at the top of the Cote de la Haute Levée.
That gap carried on growing despite the efforts of teams Mitchelton-Scott and FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at the front of the chasing bunch of around 40 riders. On the climb up the Côte de la Vecquée, Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) managed to take off and eventually joined the escapees before the top where the gap had reached 1’20’’.
Among the seven former UCI road World champions present on the race, Lizzie Deignan was the first to give it a go as she powered away on the climb up the Côte de la Redoute. The Brit reached the summit with a 20” advantage over her former group and 1’30” over the pack.
Deignan saw her lead grow to 52” on her closest rivals and 2’20” on the pack with 20kms to go. On the final climb up La Roche aux Faucons, Grace Brown decided to take off on a counter-attack. At the summit, the Australian was only 35” adrift. While the pack of favourites including Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten failed to move any closer, a fantastic battle started between Deignan and Brown on the last 13kms to the finish in Liège.
With 5kms to go, Deignan could still enjoy a slim 10” lead over Brown. She eventually managed to remain clear all the way to the line, clinching Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the very first time. Deignan wins with a 9” advantage over Brown and 2’19” over third placed rider Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo). Deignan, thanks to her success, moves back into first position of the UCI Women’s World Tour.