Twelfth place for Elena Cecchini in Flèche Wallonne
The Lotto Soudal Ladies just missed out on a top ten place in the Flèche Wallonne yesterday. Elena Cecchini was the first of the team to cross the finish line; as twelfth at 1’13” of winner Anna van der Breggen. Carlee Taylor finished in top twenty as well, the Australian rider was sixteenth at 1’27”.
After 56 kilometres the peloton began the first ascent of the Mur de Huy. Elena Cecchini and Carlee Taylor came to the front and Taylor arrived first at the top. In the next phase Lauren Komanski and Lizzie Williams could escape from the peloton. They rode in front in between the Côte d’Ereffe and Côte de Bellaire. Then three hills were left: Côte de Bohissau, Côte de Cherave and Mur de Huy. The peloton was considerably reduced on the Bohissau, about thirty riders were still part of the first group. Elena Cecchini and Carlee Taylor were in it.
The Dutch riders Roxane Knetemann and Annemiek van Vleuten attacked with less than twenty kilometres to go. They had an advantage of maximal 1’15”. Anna van der Breggen, teammate of Knetemann, bridged to the front. On the final ascent of the Mur de Huy Van der Breggen was the strongest and she could triumph at the top. Van Vleuten was second, ahead of Megan Guarnier. In the three flat kilometres in between the Côte de Cherave and Mur de Huy Elena Cecchini tried to bring the group with Carlee Taylor closer to the front. Elena finished as twelfth and Taylor as sixteenth. After this fourth World Cup round Cecchini moves up from the ninth to the eighth place. Van der Breggen is the new World Cup leader.
Elena Cecchini: “I started with the idea to help Carlee Taylor and Jessie Daams. Jessie has just returned to competition after an injury, so she isn’t one hundred per cent yet. Carlee was in a really good shape and she gave a strong impression during last week’s recon as well. On the final ascent of the Mur de Huy I used all the energy I had left and I finished on the twelfth place. I’m happy with that performance; I did work along the way and still set a high result. It confirms my shape is good. The Flèche Wallonne wasn’t initially part of my race programme this season. It’s not the race that suits me best. Still, I finished nineteenth last year and twelfth yesterday, so it seems I have potential for the following years.”
“The Mur de Huy is a really tough climb because of the high gradient, but it’s also difficult mentally. You have to know the climb, so you can change the gear at the right time. The crowd was impressive again. You’re legs are burning on the Mur and there’s lots of noise, but when people cheer you on it gives you a great feeling. Still, just like last year I was completely worn out at the top.”
“This weekend I’ll come back to Belgium for Dwars door de Westhoek. It’s the first time I’ll take part in that race. I hope the Rodeberg makes a selection and we go to the finish with a small group. I’m looking forward to make something of the race, together with my teammates. I raced with Amy Cure in Dottignies and Gelderland and we attacked in turn, we could do that on Sunday as well.”