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Is Anna van der Breggen unstoppable?

Josh Cunningham
24 Apr 2017

Boels-Dolmans rider seals a clean sweep of Ardennes Classics wins, and sees her reputation elevated along with it

Anna van der Breggen completed an emphatic week of racing yesterday when she won Liege-Bastogne-Liege. 

After winning the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, and Fleche Wallonne during the week, it was the final victory in a clean sweep at the Ardennes, and a week that has seen the Dutchwoman's reputation as a rider skyrocket. 

At 27 years old, Van der Breggen has held a steady trajectory to the very top of women's cycling, winning UCI point-1 races such as Dwaar door de Westhoek and the Ladies' Tour of Norway in 2014, before stepping up a level in 2015 to win La Fleche Wallonne for the first time, as well as La Course by Le Tour de France. 

In 2016 she won Fleche Wallonne for a second time, then memorably won the Olympic Games road race with an immense display of strength, before finishing the season by claiming a European road title. 

When you look at this increasingly impressive win tally, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that Van der Breggen has stormed to such successes in the Ardennes, but to achieve the Amstel-Fleche-Liege hat trick is no ordinary feat. 

Only Philippe Gilbert and Davide Rebellin have achieved the same clean sweep, in 2011 and 2004 respectively, but with the 2017 women's Liege-Bastogne-Liege being the inaugural running of the event, Van der Breggen becomes the first in her gender category to do so. 

The fact that the podiums for each of the races - Van der Breggen first, Lizzie Deignan second, Katarzyna Niewiadoma third - seems suggest that the top three riders were in a class of their own, and that Van der Breggen was all but untouchable. 

With the varied manner in which she has taken victories over the years, her successes are unlikely to be limited to the Ardennes, and as the season progresses it will be interesting to see if - or likely how much - her reputation grows. 

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