After an acceleration on the Knokteberg, Van Vleuten and Niewiadoma dived into the final together. The leading duo successfully defended its limited lead and sprinted for the win. In that sprint, European champion Van Vleuten was the strongest. Niewiadoma's teammate Ryan completed the podium.
Despite several attack attempts, no leading group could be formed in the first hours of the race. The peloton therefore began the first hills of the day in groups. On the Kortekeer it was Longo Borghini who put the rest of the pack under pressure and thus caused a first shift. With about 50km to go, it was Trek-Segafredo that took matters into its hands and tried to keep the pace high.
On the way to the Knokteberg, about 35 km from the finish, a front group of 6 formed, including French champion Cordon Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas (Movistar Team Women), Jackson (Liv Racing), Van de Velde (Jumbo-Visma Women Team), De Jong (Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire) en Rüegg (Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling). Their attack did not go far, because once on the Knokteberg, European champion Van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women) and Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) accelerated.
The duo quickly grabbed a few seconds and the good attack seemed set. In the peloton, Trek-Segafredo again took responsibility, but couldn't close the gap. Van Vleuten and Niewiadoma held on to their limited lead of no more than 24 seconds and dived into the final straight together. Van Vleuten started the sprint from far away and from the front. Niewiadoma seemed to be able to get away, but a strong Van Vleuten was able to hold off her competitor.
The European champion thus took the victory in the 9th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen for women, ahead of Niewiadoma. Alexis Ryan, Niewiadoma's teammate, won the sprint for third place in the peloton a handful of seconds after the winner.
Picture: (c) Photonews