Chantal van den Broek-Blaak can add the Tour of Flanders to her palmares, one that includes the 2016 Gent-Wevelgem, the 2017 World Championship and the 2018 Amstel Gold Race. Van den Broek-Blaak soloed to victory after an attack at the end of the Oude Kwaremont climb.
The women faced 135.6 km from Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde with 11 climbs, some of which were cobbled, and four cobbled sections.
A seven-rider breakaway established itself early in the race. By the time the race hit the first cobblestones, the Lippenhovestraat, there were 5 leaders left.
🏁 97 km to go: Our 5 leaders are on the Paddestraat! #UCIWWT #RVVwomen pic.twitter.com/Wr1jFUNMOR
— UCI_WWT (@UCI_WWT) October 18, 2020
On the Valkenberg with 59 km to go, the 5 leaders were 1:08 ahead of a chase and 2:02 ahead of the bunch. The Taaienberg with 40 km remaining was where the breakaway finally came back.
Alena Amialiusik (Belarus/Canyon SRAM Racing) and Riejanne Markus (The Netherlands/CCC-Liv) bolted on the streamlined peloton. Back in the peloton attacks from van den Broek-Blaak on the Kruisberg cobbles and Annemiek van Vleuten brought the duo closer.
Double world champion and Fleche Wallonne winner Anna van der Breggen sprang away to chase down van Vleuten. The two sat up for some reason, and with 23 km to ride, a group of 17 were all together, van der Breggen with two Boels-Dolmans teammates. Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg were still to come.
Persistence pays off for @floortjemackaij as she makes the junction to the leading group after some cat and mouse up front. 👊🏻 22km to go. pic.twitter.com/QjoMUh272Z
— Team Sunweb (@TeamSunweb) October 18, 2020
No attacks came on the Kwaremont, although the numbers were pared down. Former world champion van den Broek-Blaak skipped away solo between Kwaremont and Paterberg and stayed clear on the last cobbled climb.
Van Vleuten’s teammate Grace Brown pulled in the peloton, while van den Broek-Blaaks’ Boels-Dolmans teammates didn’t have to work. Brown lit out after Blaak with 7.5 km to ride, Boels-Dolmans’ Amy Pieters grabbing her wheel, but they didn’t get far.
Chantal van den Broek-Blaak entered the final 5 km with a 40-second lead. The chase group began to think about podium positions.
Van den Broek-Blaak won by a minute. Pieters and Lotte Kopecky were second and third.
There are now two races left in the Women’s WorldTour calendar: AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne in two days and Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta from November 6-8.
2020 Tour of Flanders
1) Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (The Netherlands/Boels-Dolmans)
2) Amy Pieters (The Netherlands/Boels-Dolmans)
3) Lotte Kopecky (Belgium/Lotto-Soudal)