Van der Breggen wins record-equalling fifth Fleche Wallonne

Fleche Wallonne winners Anna van der Breggen (left) and Julian Alaphilippe (right) pose with their trophies

Anna van der Breggen and Julian Alaphilippe both defended their titles

World champion Anna van der Breggen won La Fleche Wallonne Feminine for the fifth year in a row to equal the record for most victories in the one-day race.

The Dutch rider, 29, kicked away in the final 200m of the steep Mur de Huy climb to win by one second over compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten.

Five-time champion Marianne Vos, another Dutchwoman, finished fourth.

France’s Julian Alaphilippe, 26, defended his title in the men’s race in Belgium.

The Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider chased down an attack by Jakob Fuglsang, passing him in the final 100m before holding off a late reply from the Dane on the line.

Alaphilippe now has nine victories this season, the most of any rider on the World Tour, including wins at one-day ‘monument’ classic Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche.

Van der Breggen makes it five

With just under 3km of the 118.5km course to go, Team Sunweb’s Floortje Mackaij launched an ambitious solo attack and led the race on to the Mur de Huy, a 1.2km climb that features sections of 26% gradient.

Mackaij was reeled in by Van der Breggen with 500m to go before Amstel Gold winner Katarzyna Niewiadoma countered off the front.

But Boels-Dolmans’ Van der Breggen stayed calm to bring back and pass the Pole, building up enough of a gap to cruise over the line as Van Vleuten surged to second and Denmark’s Annika Langvad took third.

Vos claimed three titles in a row from 2007 to 2009 before winning again in 2011 and 2013. Alejandro Valverde holds the record in the men’s race, also with five wins.

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, competing for the second time following her return to cycling after the birth of her first child, finished 23rd, one minute nine seconds down.

Women’s Fleche Wallonne – results

1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned/Boels-Dolmans) 3hrs 17mins 04secs

2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned/Mitchelton-Scott) +1sec

3. Annika Langvad (Den/Boels-Dolmans) +4secs

4. Marianne Vos (Ned/CCC-Liv) +14secs

5. Demi Vollering (Ned/Parkhotel Valkenburg) +16secs

Alaphilippe goes back-to-back

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Julian Alaphilippe ended Alejandro Valverde’s run of four straight wins at Fleche Wallonne last year

Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowki led the contenders on to the Mur at the end of the 195.5km men’s race, which came back together with 7km to go after a series of attacks.

Astana rider Fuglsang attacked with 500m to go, with only Alaphilippe able to respond.

The pair were competing for victory at Sunday’s Amstel Gold but their failure to co-operate in the closing stages allowed Mathieu van der Poel to surge from behind for a stunning win.

This time they stayed clear, with Alaphilippe proving strongest at the finish, while Italy’s Diego Ulissi rolled in third, six seconds behind.

Men’s Fleche Wallonne – results

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-QuickStep) 4hrs 55mins 14secs

2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) Same time

3. Diego Ulissi (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +6secs

4. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel/Lotto Soudal) +8secs

5. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) Same time

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/48044467

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