Champion Cavalli Seeks Second Crown

Italian star Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Suez) returns to the Ardennes in an attempt to retain her crown in the 26th Flèche Wallonne Femmes, on Wednesday 19 April. How long can Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Suez) reign over the Mur de Huy? Queen of the Ardennes, Anna van der Breggen was a 7-time winner from 2015 to 2021. A year later, Cavalli won the 25th edition of the Flèche Wallonne Femmes, the first new champion since 2014. To defend her victory, the revelation from the 2022 spring classics will benefit from the explosive support of Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (2nd in 2020), before Grace Brown joins them for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but they will also face some intense competition.

From world road champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) to cyclo-cross stars Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma) and Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo), Dutch stars are gearing up for storm Huy. The field of champions is notably completed by Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), returning to competition after giving birth to her second child.

Cavalli’s first 15 pursuers last year are also on the list of entrants getting ready for new battles in Huy, starting with the Dutch stars Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and Demi Vollering (SD Worx), who both stood on the podium in 2022. Van Vleuten has conquered every summit… with the notable exception of the Mur, where she finished 2nd on three occasions (2015, 2019 and 2022). With the rainbow jersey back on her shoulders, the “oranje” star has one last chance to claim the Flèche, before she retires at the end of the year, unless she propels her new partner, the young (and brilliant) German puncher Liane Lippert, to success.

Vollering comes without Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (4th in 2022), who left the Dutch powerhouse SD Worx to support the young talents of AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step and in particular Belgium’s Justine Ghekiere. Another seasoned champion in the Ardennes, the Spaniard Mavi Garcia (5th in 2021 and 2022) now races with Liv Racing Teqfind. Her former squad UAE Team ADQ comes with the gifted Italian Silvia Persico, who discovers the Flèche Wallonne Femmes for the first time.

Brilliant on the road and in cyclo-cross, Persico will face familiar rivals: the Dutch wonderkids Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma) and Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo), who respectively won the Elite and Under 23 cyclo-cross world champion titles in February. Since then, Van Anrooij has achieved a first major success on the road at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

Already 13th last year, she is part of a Trek-Segafredo armada led by two riders who have already stood on the podium of Huy: Elisa Longo Borghini (2nd in 2013, 3rd in 2014 and 2021)… and Lizzie Deignan (2nd in 2014 and 2017). The British star, who won in Liège in 2020, returns to the Ardennes after giving birth to her second child at the end of last year and before turning for the first edition of La Vuelta Feminina by

The entry list includes another rider who already made it to the top 3 of the Flèche: Kasia Niewiadoma (2nd in 2021, 3rd in 2017), accompanied in particular by Switzerland’s Élise Chabbey for Canyon//Sram. The Polish puncher is a natural favourite after a strong start of the season, but the next generation is preparing to take over the Ardennes!

24 teams, the main contenders:


Team Jayco AlUla: Ane Santesteban (Esp), Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus)



AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Rsa), Justine Ghekiere (Bel)

Duolar-Chevalmeire: Olha Kulynych (Ukr)

Fenix-Deceuninck: Yara Kastelijn (Ned)

Lotto Dstny Ladies: Mijntje Geurts (Ned)



Cofidis Women Team: Rachel Neylan (Aus)

FDJ-Suez: Marta Cavalli (Ita), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den)

St Michel-Mavic-Auber93: Dilyxine Miermont (Fra)



Canyon//Sram Racing: Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol), Élise Chabbey (Sui)


Great Britain

Lifeplus Wahoo: Margaux Vigié (Fra)


The Netherlands

Liv Racing Teqfind: Mavi Garcia (Esp), Katia Ragusa (Ita)

Parkhotel Valkenburg: Femke Gerritse (Ned)

Team DSM: Juliette Labous (Fra)

Team Jumbo-Visma: Fem van Empel (Ned)

Team SD Worx: Demi Vollering (Ned), Marlen Reusser (Sui)



Team Coop-Hitec Products: Josie Nelson (Gbr)

Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: Anouska Koster (Ned)


Movistar Team Women: Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned), Liane Lippert (Ger)

Zaaf Cycling Team: Danielle de Francesco (Aus)



Israel Premier Tech Roland: Claire Steels (Gbr)


The United Arab Emirates

UAE Team ADQ: Silvia Persico (Ita)


The United States of America

EF Education-Tibco-SVB: Krista Doebel-Hicock (Usa), Georgia Williams (Nzl)

Human Powered Health: Nina Buijsman (Hol)

Trek-Segafredo: Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita), Elizabeth Deignan (Gbr), Shirin van Anrooij (Hol)

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