Coverage of the women's 2016 Tour of Flanders - on and off the bike

The winning moment 

 

Monday 4 Apr 2016

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“I knew in my gut I had won because I knew my momentum took me over the top of her. I knew for certain when she congratulated me.

“It was a poker game in the end. I didn’t have any radio, so I didn’t know what was happening. I needed her to open the sprint before me, and she did.

"At that point, it’s not about who is fastest, it’s who is freshest.

““Emma (Johansson) didn’t give me a single turn into Paterberg, and I thought: ‘I’ll still make this work. I’ll attack her on Paterberg’ and I tried, but I couldn’t get her off my wheel. 

A couple kilometres after the Paterberg, Emma decided to work, and we worked together until the final kilometre.”

“It was a really strange race with just two in the front. We had to commit. I didn’t leave anything for the sprint. Emma’s fast, and I didn’t underestimate her. 

“I’m delighted but it’s also a big relief. I’ve got that win, that career goal done, and now it’s all about shifting focus. It’s a good way to start putting the spring behind me and thinking about Rio.

“Everyone had their role and everyone did it really well. Up until the Kanarieberg, I never touched the wind. I was never out of position." 

 

“It’s hard to come into the final with Lizzie. It’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders because you know the girls have been supporting you.

“I know she’s a little bit faster than me, so I had to start the sprint, and I did that - I felt like I was still very powerful at the end - but she came past me at the very last moment. But that’s how it is sometimes.

“When you’ve done everything you can, and you know you’ve done everything right - and when someone is that much better than you - of course you’re disappointed, but I think we did a really nice race,”

“The whole team was really good; we did what we were supposed to do, we took it in our own hands, and I just loved the racing today. I enjoyed it from the first moment, riding through Zingem [hometown in Flanders]…

“It was so emotional to be here. On every section you can hear your name, and I could hear Jolien’s name. Everyone is there to support us. It’s just a pity we couldn’t be there on the top step today. We would have deserved it; we really did everything we could to be there.

 

 

Lizzie Armitstead on team-mate Ellen van Dijk:

“It came over the radio that Ellen should make the race harder over Oude Kwaremont.

“The race was still too much together. My plan was to go on the Paterberg, and we needed it to be more aggressive so that I could get away.

“Ellen set a really fierce pace over the Oude Kwaremont that brought everyone on their knees"

Annemiek Van Vleuten (7th)

"It was at the Kanarieberg when the action really began. At that point there was a hard attack and I expected that. Gracie Elvin and I were both there and working well together."

"Over the Oude Kwaremont a split happened and I was there with 11 riders. Johansson attacked with Lizzie and I did not want to let them go but I was really at my maximum after that hard climb.

"I gave it everything over the Paterberg together with two Rabo-Liv riders who also didn't have a rider in the front.

"In the final three kilometres I chased as hard as I could, I was thinking only about the victory not the podium. I could not have done anything more, but unfortunately we didn't catch them in the final."

Gracie Elvin (11th)

"I actually did better than I expected today as I wasn't feeling that great this morning.

"We didn't get the win but we gave it a good crack, I think as a team we are really happy with our efforts today."

 

 

 

Tiffany Cromwell:

"It was a beautiful day for a bike race. The first part was pretty uneventful for me, I felt good and even over the Kanarieberg I was still feeling good.

"Then we hit the Kruisberg/Hotond and then basically my wheels fell off. I just didn’t have the legs."

Alena Amialiusik: 

"In the first part of the race Barbara (Guarischi) did an amazing job for me, always bringing me to the front group. I punctured after the Kanarieberg on the flat section. I went from being in the front group over the Kanarieberg to chasing the fourth or fifth group before the Kruisberg/Hotond. Then, group by group, I took them back alone but by the time I got to the second group my race was over.

"When you feel good and you have good legs, then it’s disappointment of course. 

Elena Cecchini:

"For me it was a little bit of a strange race, it was very different to last year. Some people could go away but only ever solo and no groups really wanted to form and work together to go in a break in early stages.

"Boels were on the front in a lot of the climbs and riding it slow. 

When we got to the Kanarieberg we were still a big group and positioning was hard because people were swarming. On the Kruisberg/Hotond I was still in the front group but I could feel I was near the limit. 

 

 

Road world champion Elizabeth Armitstead won the 142.1km women's Tour of Flanders in a photo finish in Oudenaarde.
The Boels Dolman's rider finished just ahead of Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5) after the pair had established a lead of a chase group and the rest of the peloton.Armitstead's team-mate Chantal Blaak finished third after winning the bunch...