The fourth round of the 2014 UCI Women's World Cup was a showstopper!! All the bigs of the women's peloton were here, including (starting their 2014 road seasons with this race) the reigning 2012 Olympic and 2012-13 World Champion Marianne Vos, and the former (2009) Women's ITT World Champion, Emma Pooley. Both have previously won here (Vos a record 5 times! - including 2013), plus top American all-rounder (and 2012 race-winner) Evelyn Stevens.
But the biggest surprise of them all was who won this race... the field included a lot to up-&-coming young talent (Elisa Longo Borghini, Ashleigh Moolman, Amy Pieters) - but it was the young Frenchwoman (and Vos' Rabobank Liv teammate) Pauline Ferrand-Prévot - who outlasted current World Cup leader Liz Armitstead (2nd), Longo-Borghini (3rd), Stevens and Moolman to take the win atop the Mur de Huy for the biggest win to-date of her young career! Like Vos, Ferrand-Prévot is a multi-discipline star (current 2-time French ITT national champion, a Top-10 finisher in the 2012 London Olympics road race - where she was the youngest competitor there - and the current Cyclocross French national champion), she also rides mountain-bike for the Liv Off-Road team. Vos, who finished 6th, was credited with sacrificing her own ambitions for the sake of the team, and was highly instrumental in coaching & guiding Pauline to the win.
The Dutch superstar was quite elated when her young teammate came through on top (below via Twitter, click on the link to view the photo)...
All the elation & drama aside, the biggest disappointment of all was that, while there was plenty of TV/media coverage of the men's race (which was concurrent) but almost NO coverage of the women's race! This is a complete travesty that can no longer be tolerated!!
World Cup standings: Armitstead still leads the overall (in fact, she has extended her lead over Emma Johansson and Anna van der Breggen), Iris Slappendel still leads the Sprints (FYI there were no Sprint points in this most climb-y of World Cup races) and... Ferrand-Prévot, with her victory, now leads in both the Mountain (QoM) and Young Rider classifications. Chapeau, Pauline!!