Aussie Brown third in women's Flanders

Australian Grace Brown has continued her fine cycling road race campaign in Europe by finishing third in the women's Tour of Flanders one-day classic.

Australian road racer Grace Brown has finished third in the women's Tour of Flanders race after a bold attempt to take a second major European one-day classic win in the space of a fortnight.

The Victorian, who won the recent Brugge-De Panne race with a solo burst, again tried to break her opponents with a late attack in one of the biggest races on the circuit on Sunday and ended up with the reward of another podium place.

The 28-year-old rider for the Australian outfit Team BikeExchange was among an elite group of eight riders when the race burst into life over the top of its longest cobbled stretch, Oude Kwaremont.

The relentless Brown made the break but was caught by her former GreenEdge teammate, 2019 world champion Annemiek van Vleuten who then pushed away again in devastating fashion over the last 13 kilometres for a tremendous solo win.

The Dutch European champion launched her move on the Paterberg, the race's final climb, managing to hold off the group of seven chasers by 26 seconds after the four-hour slog.

In the sprint battle for the other podium places, Brown had enough in reserve to beat all but race runner-up, German champion Lisa Brennauer.

"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," said Brown, who was second in both the time trial and road race at the Australian championships.

"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 attacked at the top as we had planned, 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."

It was a second Tour of Flanders win for the evergreen 38-year-old superstar van Vleuten - 10 years after her first.

"The girls worked super hard for me and I was the number one leader, so to finish it off like this, I think we're going to celebrate really big tonight," said the Movistar rider.