Annemiek van Vleuten won the 2022 edition of Liège–Bastogne–Liège Femmes, her second victory at the race, to thwart Marta Cavalli in her attempt to win the Ardennes triple.
Following her second place at La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, the Dutch rider for Movistar was in a characteristically attacking mood on a sunny day in the Ardennes.
The day began with a fight for the breakaway, which took well over 30km to establish itself. The group was four riders strong and comprised Jeanne Korevaar and Quinty Ton from Liv Racing Xstra, Flora Perkins of Le Col-Wahoo, and Magdeleine Vaillieres Mill of EF Education-Tibco-SVB.
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They were given short shrift however, by a peloton with a host of strong riders seeking victory in the final race of the spring classics season. They were swept up by the bunch on la Côte de La Haute-Levée with half of the race still remaining.

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After a brief period of respite, the attacks began anew, and a strong lead group of eight riders quickly established themselves and stretched out a lead over the bunch going into the Col du Rosier climb. The group contained representation from all of the teams of the pre-race favourites. It consisted of Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), Sara Martin (Movistar), Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo), Soraya Paladin (Canyon//Sram Racing), Evita Muzic (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange), Leah Kirchmann (Team DSM) and Clara Honsinger (EF Education-Tibco-SVB).
This leading group had a gap of almost two minutes at one point, but going into the penultimate climb, the Côte de La Redoute, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio led the charge for SD Worx, obliterating the lead of the front group and causing numerous splits in the bunch behind. Annemiek van Vleuten was the next to attack, and with the breakaway engulfed by the attacking riders, van Vleuten moved clear, with only SD Worx’ Marlen Reusser for company.
Reusser had been a part of the breakaway group and looked equal to van Vleuten’s challenge, sticking to her wheel and refusing to work. The two stayed clear for a few kilometres, enjoying an advantage of 20 seconds for a while, before the chasing group were able to reel them back in.

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The next attack came from FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Futuroscope’s Australian time trial champion Grace Brown, who quickly moved clear of the rest of the front group and rode solo into the final climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. She was unable to maintain her lead though, as van Vleuten once again put in an attack to move past Brown and go clear, with 13.9km of the race remaining.
With the chasing group reduced to five riders – two from FDJ (Cavalli and Brown); two from SD Worx (Vollering and Moolman Pasio), and Elisa Longo Borghini from Trek-Segafredo – van Vleuten had her work cut out for her to stay clear. She maintained a slender lead of around 18 seconds as the chasing group collaborated well together to try and close her down, but it was to no avail.

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The Flamme Rouge beckoned and the veteran Dutch rider and former World Champion had earned a few more precious seconds over the chasers. With a lead of over 30 seconds, victory was all but assured, and with a look over her shoulder van Vleuten allowed the joy to show on her face as she closed in on the finish line.
Following a series of near misses – coming second at Strade Bianche, Ronde van Vlaanderen and earlier this week at La Flèche Wallonne Féminine – van Vleuten takes only her second win of the season, following her victory on opening weekend at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It’s the 89th victory of her long and impressive career, and will give her a huge confidence boost as she shifts focus and heads into her main goal of the season, the Tour de France Femmes.
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