Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) kicked to victory in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne Femmes with a perfectly timed attack up the Mur de Huy.
Stevens crossed the line four seconds ahead of pre-race favorite Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo) after a surge up the steepest ramps of the Mur climb. Linda Villumsen (GreenEdge-AIS) was third at 20 seconds back.
“It was a big surprise to beat Vos,” Stevens said. “She is so strong, so I didn’t think I could win. I was on her wheel up the Mur and she faltered just a bit. I came around her and I thought she would come back. Then I thought, ‘I’m gonna win!’ It’s the biggest win of my career.”
Vos led Stevens up the grueling Mur climb and looked to have things under control. Near the top of the steepest part of the climb, Vos faltered just slightly, allowing Stevens to surge clear.
“I have no explanation on what happened,” Vos said. “The Mur does not lie.”
With victories in the opening two World Cup rounds, Vos retains her lead in the season-long series.
The victory is Stevens’ third on the 2012 season and her first career World Cup victory.
Earlier this year, Stevens won the Tour of New Zealand to start the season off in February and was part of the team time trial win at the Energiewacht Tour last month in Holland.
By winning a UCI World Cup event, Stevens, a member of the women’s long team for road race selection at the London Olympics, will be nominated to the final Olympic team provided she is ranked in the top 10 of the UCI women’s individual World Cup rankings as of May 31. This is a near guarantee, given that she is ranked fifth after Flèche Wallonne with only one World Cup race remaining prior to the May 31 deadline.