After her recent victories in the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes, Demi Vollering is hailed as the heiress to Anna van der Breggen and the favourite for the upcoming Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes on April 23rd. The opposition to the young Dutch champ who won in 2021, will be embodied in particular by Movistar, with Annemiek van Vleuten (winner in 2019 and 2022), and Trek-Segafredo, with another former winner, Lizzie Deignan (2020). Liane Lippert, Gaia Realini, Mavi Garcia, Évita Muzic, the stars of the Mur de Huy at La Flèche Wallonne, are also expected to battle towards the Ardent City.
The growing legend of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes has already crowned exceptional Queens, and in particular Anna van der Breggen, who won the first edition in 2017 and thus claimed a historic treble with the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes. Six years later, her heiress Demi Vollering is marching on the Ardent City as a hot favourite, ready to take the same series of successes as her predecessor. Anna is now her trainer and sports director with the powerhouse Team SD Worx.
In 2021, the two women already teamed up on the road and Van der Breggen led Vollering to her first Liège triumph. The 26-year-old star, who is having an extraordinary classics campaign, can also count on a strong support cast, notably Marlen Reusser, whose raw power was essential to control La Flèche on Wednesday.
Their rivals attacked again and again on the Ardennes climbs leading to Huy and the same will be true towards Liège. Annemiek van Vleuten returns to a terrain she has flown over twice, in 2019 and 2022. An iconic leader for Movistar, the Oranje star, wearing the rainbow jersey, partners up with the German puncher Liane Lippert, who finished 2nd on the Mur de Huy. The tortuous roads of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes can offer them even more tactical opportunities…
The same goes for Trek-Segafredo, under the guidance of another former winner in Liège, Lizzie Deignan (in 2020), who returned to competition on Wednesday after giving birth to her second child. Her very young Italian partner Gaia Realini finished 3rd on the Mur de Huy, after Elisa Longo Borghini, Shirin van Anrooij and Amanda Spratt led multiple attacks.
Canyon//Sram, with Kasia Niewiadoma, Ricarda Bauernfeind and Élise Chabbey, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Justine Ghekiere’s AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step and the UAE Team ADQ of Silvia Persico and Erica Magnaldi also showed their ambitions to shake up the race.
After the misfortunes of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and the strong performance of Évita Muzic (5th in Huy), FDJ-Suez will also want to come to the fore in Liège, with the return of Grace Brown (2nd in both 2020 and 2022). More champions like Mavi Garcia (Liv Racing Teqfind) and Juliette Labous (Team DSM) can also dream of Ardennes glory. It’s up to them to light fireworks in the Ardent City on Sunday.
24 teams, the main contenders :
Team Jayco AlUla: Ane Santesteban (Esp), Kristen Faulkner (Usa)
AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Rsa), Justine Ghekiere (Bel)
Duolar-Chevalmeire: Olha Kulynych (Ukr)
Fenix-Deceuninck: Yara Kastelijn (Ned)
Lotto Dstny: Mijntje Geurts (Ned)
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team: Megan Armitage (Irl)
Cofidis Women Team: Clara Koppenburg (All)
FDJ-Suez: Grace Brown (Aus), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den), Évita Muzic (Fra)
Canyon//SRAM Racing: Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol), Ricarda Bauernfeind (Ger), Élise Chabbey (Sui)
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling: Cedrine Kerbaol (Fra), Marta Lach (Pol)
Lifeplus Wahoo: Ella Harris (Nzl), Ella Wyllie (Nzl)
Team DSM: Juliette Labous (Fra), Pfeiffer Georgi (Gbr)
Team Jumbo-Visma: Anna Henderson (Gbr), Riejanne Markus (Ned)
Liv Racing Teqfind: Margarita Victoria Garcia (Esp)
Parkhotel Valkenburg: Femke Gerritse (Ned)
Team SD Worx: Demi Vollering (Ned), Marlen Reusser (Sui)
Team Coop-Hitec Products: Josie Nelson (Gbr)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: Elinor Barker (Gbr), Anouska Koster (Ned)
Movistar Team Women: Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned), Liane Lippert (Ger)
Israel Premier Tech Roland: Claire Steels (Gbr), Anna Kiesenhofer (Aut)
The United Arab Emirates
UAE Team ADQ: Silvia Persico (Ita), Erica Magnaldi (Ita)
The United States of America
EF Education-Tibco-SVB: Krista Doebel-Hickok (Usa), Veronica Ewers (Usa)
Human Powered Health: Henrietta Christie (Nzl), Nina Buijsman (Ned)
Trek-Segafredo: Elizabeth Deignan (Gbr), Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita), Gaia Realini (Ita), Amanda Spratt (Aus), Shirin van Anrooij (Ned)