Mid-way through the first ever women’s Ardennes Week, and the penultimate Spring Classic round of the UCI’s Women’s WorldTour, it was Flèche Wallonne, aka Waalse Pijl. In the cycling world, the men’s race is a bit of a byword for predictable racing, but when it comes to women’s cycling, the peloton don’t let that script play out easily, and despite the reduction in climbs, they hit this one hard….
…which made it all the more disappointing that we couldn’t see anything of the race, which is always baffling, because with fixed cameras covering every inch of the final climb, the Mur de Huy, it’s the easiest race to show the finale of, out of the whole calendar, and around 5 years ago, it was standard to get the women’s finish live during the men’s coverage. But, between host broadcaster RTBF and the race organisers, the ASO (the biggest race organisers in the world, mind you), it feels like there’s a general disinterest in showing the race. It’s always a bizarre choice, as yet again, it was an incredible race.
So what can we see? I’ve got video highlights, photo galleries, race results and more in this post, and I’ll edit in anything else I see. If you want to share anything you’ve seen, please do let me know in the comments or on twitter.
Apparently there was a bit of coverage before the men’s race, on the Australian SBS Cycling Central men’s Flèche Wallonne replay, and they also have a clip of the women’s race, which you can watch if you’re in Aus, or have a VPN. Then, there are highlights on RTBF (restricted to Belgium), and highlights and post-race winner’s interview on NOS.nl (restricted to the Netherlands). Then, there are UCI highlights, Wiggle High5‘s team video, and a fan’s-eye view of the race
1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans, 3:21:06
2. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Boels Dolmans, + 00:16
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Procycling, + 00:25
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) ORICA-Scott, + 00:43
5. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope, + 00:49
6. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervélo-Bigla, + 00:54
7. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb, + 00:56
8. Janneke Ensing (Ned) Alé Cipollini, + 00:58
9. Katrin Garfoot (Aus) ORICA-Scott, + 01:00
10. Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Lensworld-Kuota, + 01:02
The usual gorgeous photos from Balint Hamvas and Sean Robinson on Vélofocus – and more of their photos on the Boels-Dolmans gallery. Another gorgeous gallery, by Thomas Maheux on the race facebook. More photos from ORICA-Scott on facebook, and by Boels on their CorVos gallery.
UPDATE! VéloConcept’s team video:
InCycle TV’s feature on Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio features the Flèche Wallonne, where Moolman attacked a lot
UPDATE! The title of this says it all really: “tiny clip that was shown live”
If the lack of video makes you sad, remember that we’ve had more live women’s racing in 2017 than ever before, and you can watch around an hour of video from Strade Bianche and Ronde van Vlaanderen, around 40 minutes from Amstel Gold, and the most from the Ronde van Drenthe and Trofeo Alfredo Binda. On top of this, we’ve had the entire Healthy Ageing Tour stage race and Omloop van het Hageland day race. Click those links and you can watch the full feeds and highlights.
And if you want to try to get more coverage of the race next year, I have some contact details and suggestions of things fans can do to demonstrate there’s an audience.
It’s because of my Patreon supporters that I’m able to do this kind of women’s cycling work. You can join them from as little as £/€/$ 2 a month, over here.