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Last Sunday Marianne Vos sprinted to a home victory in the Amstel Gold Race. After the second victory of the season for Team Jumbo-Visma Women, the team is preparing for the remaining races of the Ardennes triptych with Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. For the Belgian Julie Van de Velde both are a home race.
“The Amstel Gold Race is of course great race to win for a Dutch rider”, Marianne Vos says. “It didn’t feel like I was missing it or like there was a big gap on my list of achievements. But now that it is there, it is very beautiful.” A race that already was on her list of achievements, is the Flèche Wallonne. Until 2018 Vos was the record holder with a total of five victories in this hill classic. In 2019, this record was broken by Anna van der Breggen, the unbeaten winner since 2015.
Tomorrow the 24th edition of the Walloon classic will take place. This year’s course consists of a small and a large circuit. There’s a big probability the race will be decided on the famous climb Mur de Huy. The Belgian Van de Velde is looking forward to the climbing classic in her home country. “As a Belgian it is of course great to be able to ride these races. I think the arrival on the Mur de Huy is very special. It is a pity that the crowds won’t be there to cheer us up during the climb, like in other years. But that won’t stop us from giving our best.”
“I have good memories of the 2019 edition of both the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège”, Van de Velde continues. “The long climbs basically suit me better than the short climbs you encounter at other races in the spring. I am looking forward to giving my all in both races to achieve the best possible team result. I am curious what it will bring this year.”
While the Flèche Wallonne for women has existed since 1998, Liège-Bastogne-Liège was only ridden by the women’s peloton for the first time in 2017. This year the race covers 141 kilometres, with the famous Côte de La Redoute and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons towards the final. “Both courses have been modified this year, so I’m glad we took the time to do a recon”, Van de Velde says. “Back then there was still snow and that made for a beautiful landscape. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a mythical race that appeals to the imagination. It is great that a few years ago a women’s edition was added.”
Julie van der Velde
Julie van der Velde