Liege–Bastogne–Liege 2021 women's race - Demi Vollering's brilliant victory as it happened
SD Worx's Demi Vollering sealed a quite brilliant triumph for the 'biggest win of her life' at Liege–Bastogne–Liege 2021. Anna van der Breggen led her team-mate into the final sprint in quite exceptional fashion, and Vollering pounced to repay her efforts in style with an inspired victory in a dramatic finale.
Demi Vollering of Netherlands and Team SD Worx celebrates at arrival during the 5th Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2021, Women's Elite a 140,9km race from Bastogne to Liège
Watch live and ad-free coverage on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk from 10:20 BST on Sunday, or stay tuned for comments from Niamh Lewis
Men's race LIVE from 12:25 BST
You can read the women's report which is building up here, followed by highlights and reaction. Meanwhile, make yourselves some brunch and a second coffee and await the start of the men's race, which will be LIVE across Eurosport and GCN platforms from 12:25 BST.
Not a bad strike rate that. Vollering, 24, raced at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2019 in her first professional year and came third. Now to win, she says in a teary post-race interview that it is a "dream come true."
Perfect team tactics by SD Worx
Van der Breggen led Vollering out for the sprint, repaying the favour for Vollering working for her in La Fleche Wallonne during the week. PERFECT TEAM WORK.
DEMI VOLLERING WINS
1. Demi Vollering (SD Worx) 2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar) 3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo)
It's going to be a sprint finish...
Van der Breggen is looking phenomenally strong on the front here...
5km to go
The Vos group are 40 second off the lead group which is being led by world champion Van der Breggen... it's a fast decent down into Liege, and there's a pace of 60kph (37mph)!
11km to go
Marianne Vos and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig are fighting to get back on, but everyone knows you're in for trouble if you let Vos have the upper hand on the descent...
12km to go
Vos dropped. The front group is now being controlled by SD Worx and Trek-Segafredo and consists of: Longo Borghini, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Van der Breggen, Van Vlueten, Demi Vollering, Katarzyna Niewiadoma...
Back to the racing
14km to go, we are onto the final climb. The front trio have been caught and absorbed and now Van der Breggen, Vos, and Van Vlueten are turning the screws... who can hold on?
The women's route is 140km (seven climbs), the men's route is 259km (11 climbs). The women's race was introduced in 2017, and there have been 106 editions of the men's race which has been going since 1892. I'll leave it there.
24km to go
Strength in numbers for the likes of Van Vleuten, Van der Breggen, Vos as they are supported by the chasers with 24km and the final two climbs. The trio at the front have 20 seconds as it stands, but the gap is unlikely to increase...
29km to go
Two climbs to go: Cote des Forges, and Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons. It is a beautiful day in Belgium which makes a change. The road is dry, the sky is blue, and there's not a cloud in sight.
34km to go
Right, as the riders are descending Cote de La Redoute (2km long, at 8.9% gradient), our front group is pushing on... and now Lucinda Brand, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio have established a smaller breakaway group.
40km to go
So, no Lizzie Deignan or Grace Brown here today who were our big hitters here last year (with Deignan breaking away to win from 10km out as you can watch in the highlights below). But do not fret, there's an entire peloton full of our other top riders, Anna Van der Breggen, Marianne Vos, Elisa Longo Borghini, and Annemiek Van Vleuten, plus plenty more capable of doing something stunning today. STAY TUNED.
All the Niamhs on duty today
The TV pictures are showing Niamh Fisher-Black of SD Worx making her move towards the front earlier... There aren't many Niamhs in the sporting world, so I'm never going to get used to hearing 'Niamh' mentioned on commentary... my ears keep pricking up... like when a dog or cat knows they're being talked about. But at least you all know how to pronounce it now.
I wish I had this much energy to attack more than once today.
What's happened so far?
A breakaway group of seven has been established after about 50km and it's been that way for some time!
We have had some withdrawals already today, Ruth Winder of Trek-Segafredo has withdrawn due to COVID-19 concerns as have the entire Parkhotel Valkenburg team.
Welcome to Liege, the home of the best Belgian waffles. You can watch the women's race live on Eurosport and GCN from 10:15 BST and the men's race will follow live at 12:25 BST.
A very strong group, including Marianne Vos, Ellen van Dijk and Lizzie Deignan, eventually formed the break of the day, climbing the Côte de la Vacquée with almost a minute’s lead. Mitchelton-Scott had missed out on the action, but Grace Brown put in a strong ride to bridge across from the peloton, making it nine out front.
Highlights as Deignan wins women's Liege-Bastogne-Liege
As the group took on the Côte de la Redoute with 30km to go, Deignan moved to the front and attacked her breakaway companions. The 31-year-old Brit allowed herself one look back before disappearing up the slope. The eight riders behind were careful not to give her too much time, but Deignan had stretched her gap to 55 seconds within 10km.
Deignan extended her lead to 2'20" over the peloton with 20km left, but Brown attacked from the chase and reduced her gap to 40 seconds ahead of the last climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.
Brown’s deficit was down to 33 seconds as Deignan began her long descent to the finish. The Australian’s time trial credentials shone through as she ate into the gap, bringing it to as little as ten seconds with 3km to go, but Deignan held on for victory in an outstanding race.
Ketones: Is it rocket fuel?
Ketones: Is it rocket fuel?
Can ketone esters help fuel elite riders to victory? Is this new legal food supplement the next big advance in sports nutrition? This documentary delves deep into the theory and research surrounding the mystery of the newest super supplement, ketone esters, to find out if they do improve performance. You can stream this and more of the best cycling stories in the world exclusively on GCN+.
How to watch Liege – Bastogne – Liege
Liege – Bastogne – Liege 2021 is live on Eurosport.