Recent Brugge-De Panne winner Grace Brown showed her sheer grit and determination today, riding herself onto the podium for a well-deserved third place at the iconic Ronde van Vlaanderen.
The 28-year-old displayed her top classics form, making it into an elite selection of eight riders as the race exploded over the top of the Oude Kwaremont.
Showing her relentless style, Brown immediately launched an attack as the riders exited the cobble stones, however, it was former teammate Annemiek van Vleuten that was hot on her tail, drawing the Team BikeExchange rider back in before attacking alone on the Paterberg.
Van Vleuten was able to hold off the chasers all the way to the finish line to take the victory, despite dangling just 10-20 seconds ahead for the final kilometres.
Behind, Brown played the game contributing to the chase, but keeping enough in the tank to be able to sprint onto the podium and give the Australian outfit a well-earned third place to wrap but their cobble Classics campaign.
“Flanders is always such a busy day, there’s always so much that happens at this race and you can’t get it all right, but I think we really did well on some of our key points and had a really good race.
I had an awesome lead-out into the bottom of the Kwaremont from (Sarah) Roy and (Amanda) Spratt and then I attacked at the top as we had planned. I got a bit of a gap but unfortunately the girls behind me closed that down pretty soon.
Annemiek then got away on the Paterberg, it was a small gap and it felt like we should have been able to bring it back but unfortunately it just wasn’t co-ordinated enough in the chase.
You can’t be disappointed with a podium at Flanders. Of course I came here wanting to win it, but I am really happy with third and I can have bigger goals for next year I think.”
Alejando Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“It is as bit frustrating that the group didn’t work together more committed but at the end of the day for us it was an amazing day, the way the girls rode and how they committed.
Grace pulled off a really good result. She has been really consistent in these races, she came out with good legs today.”
2021 Ronde van Vlaanderen Women’s Results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten
2. Lisa Brennauer
3. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images