The race kicks into gear in Bastogne to head north via Houffalize. The first of seven classified ascents is the Côte de Mont-le-Soie at kilometre 55. One could argue that its’part of a tryptych with Côte de Wanne and Côte de la Haute-Levée, as these climbs are crested within 17 kilometres.
On the Haute-Levée the riders climb past the midway mark of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes. They then descend to the longest climb of the day, the Col du Rosier. Up next is the energy sapping Côte de Desnié, where the tension will be rising as the decisive phase of the 2019 and 2020 editions is coming closer. Both Annemiek van Vleuten and Lizzie Deignan attacked from a lead group on the Côte de la Redoute to solo to victory. The 2 kilometres climb out of the Amblève Valley averages 8.9% and ramps up to 13%.
Attacks on La Redoute are even more likely this year, since the climb is 6 kilometres closer to the finish line as back then. The Côte des Forges has been removed and the riders continue to the last ascent of the day, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. It’s a hard climb in itself – 1.3 kilometres at 11% -, but what’s waiting after the summit is just as interesting. A short descent leads onto a 2 kilometres climb – the first at 3.6%, the second at 6.2% – before 5 undulating kilometres make way for the downhill into Liège. The last 2 kilometres of the race are played out on flat city streets.
Last year’s race came down to the 6.2% section inside the last 11 kilometres. Annemiek van Vleuten attacked from an elite group with Anna van der Breggen glued to her wheel. Elisa Longo Borghini, Demi Vollering and Kasia Niewiadoma rejoined them before Van der Breggen started to set a hard pace. In fact, such a hard pace that no rider dreamed to attack.
In the streets of Liège Van der Breggen crowned her effort with a perfect lead-out for her team mate Vollering, who powered to victory ahead of Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini.
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Liège–Bastogne–Liège Femmes 2022: route, profiles, more
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