By Liam Morgan

Elisa Longo Borghini timed her attack to perfection as she sealed victory in the women's Tour of Flanders today ©Getty ImagesItaly's Elisa Longo Borghini climbed to third in the overall International Cycling Union Women's Road World Cup standings as she clinched a superb victory at the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.

She timed her move impeccably as she attacked with 20 kilometres to go, establishing a healthy lead of over a minute which she managed to hold on to, eventually crossing the line in a time of 3hrs 50mins 43secs.

Her Wiggle Honda team mate and home favourite Jolien D'Hoore, who won the opening leg of the Women's World Cup in Boels Rental Ronde van Drenthe in The Netherlands, moved to the top of the standings by virtue of her second-placed finish.

The result gave the team a much-needed one-two and gives D'Hoore a good lead going into the next event, the La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, which takes place in Belgium on April 22.

She was 43 seconds behind winner Longo Borghini, but she now has a total of 220 points, 25 more than nearest challenger Lizzie Armitstead of Great Britain, who relinquished her position at the summit of the overall leaderboard as she came in in a disappointing eighth.

Armitstead, who rides for the Boels Dolmans team, endured a tough time in Belgium as she was severely hampered by an early puncture and a problem with her pedals as she raced for the line in the closing sprint.

Lizzie Armitstead was dethroned at the top of the overall standings after she languished down in eighth place ©Getty ImagesLizzie Armitstead was dethroned at the top of the overall standings after she languished down in eighth place ©Getty Images

Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team's Anna van der Breggen of The Netherlands was third, and compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten narrowly missed out on the top three as she finished fourth.

But the day belonged to the Longo Borghini, who proved too strong for the rest of the pack in what was a largely cagey race which only opened up towards the end.

She has had to endure the pain of coming fourth two years in a row at the tricky Tour of Flanders, which includes some of the season's toughest cobbled periods, but she now has a deserved victory to her name.

"This is a dream," she Tweeted after the race.

"I am always the slowest in a break so I had to go it alone.

"Follow your instincts."

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