Schlagwort-Archive: La Fléche Wallonne

2021 ardennes classics

Key points:
 The men and women’s versions of the Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège have been scheduled for 21 and 25 April, respectively, after returning to their usual slots on the calendar.
 The Flèche Wallonne is bringing back the traditional start in Charleroi, with a course steeped in the history of the race all the way to the final climb up the Mur de Huy, while Liège–Bastogne–Liège will have an extra sting in the tail thanks to the addition of the new Côte de Desnié.
 The women’s two races have also been backloaded by the organisers. The men and women’s courses will converge in the final 90 kilometres in the Flèche Wallonne and the final 80 kilometres on the road to Liège.
 New partners are stepping up to the plate, including AG, Shimano and Decathlon, while Cofidis has renewed its commitment to the ardennes classics.

The newly crowned world champion was the only one left with a bitter taste in his mouth after the exceptional autumn editions of the classics, held at the tail end of the 2020 season. Marc Hirschi and Anna van der Breggen’s wins in the Flèche Wallonne, followed by Primož Roglič and Lizzie Deignan’s victories in Liège–Bastogne–Liège, were in line with the character of the Ardennes classics, coming at the end of gruelling races in which only the strongest and toughest riders stayed in contention until the finish. Six months later, it is time for the pretenders to the crown of the Flèche Wallonne to reset their clocks to the usual dates. The men will roll out of Charleroi, which hosted the start of the race from 1998 to 2012. The road to Huy will follow the traditional east-west trajectory and pit the peloton against the Côte d’Yvoir for the first time, but the Côte de Gives, another addition to the course, is where things will really get serious. Following two 32 km loops with a profile that looks like the serrated edge of a saw blade, the final showdown will take place on the unique Mur de Huy, the ultimate litmus test for punchers. The women’s race will merge onto the course of the men’s race for the final 90 kilometres. Will Anna van der Breggen, the undisputed master of the Chemin des Chapelles, with six victories to her name, be able to extend her dominance on this beefed-up course?

Liège–Bastogne–Liège moved its finish line back downtown in 2019. An audacious solo move earned Jakob Fuglsang the win that year, while last October it was a group of five attackers that vied for victory in a messy sprint. This time round, the home straight on Quai des Ardennes will come after almost 260 kilometres of racing on a course featuring the brand-new Côte de Desnié, a nasty climb (1.6 km at an average gradient of 8%) that comes shortly before the decisive Côte de la Redoute, the point where lactic acid starts to reach agonising levels. The riders will have to leave something in the tank if they want to use the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons as a springboard to try and win the Old Lady. The same holds true for the ladies, who will start this year’s edition in Liège and tackle another gruelling 141 km course: the fifth running of the women’s race will take the peloton to the Côte de Desnié, Col du Rosier and Côte des Forges for the first time.

Three new partners and a renewed commitment
• In 2021, the ardennes classics are delighted to welcome AG on board as the new „Major Partner“ of the four Belgian races. Cycling has been part of AG’s DNA for a long time. Through its partnerships, AG seeks to promote cycling as a sport and as part of everyday life. This partnership is a long-term commitment, running until the end of 2024.
• As announced a month ago, Shimano is now an „Official Partner“. The Japanese firm will leverage its experience and know-how in the field of neutral technical support.
• Decathlon is now an „Official Provider“. Its focus will be on young fans and bicycle safety.
• Finally, Cofidis, which has been at our side since 2012, is extending its commitment to the Ardennes classics as an „Official Partner“.

Amaury Sport Organisation is proud to have the support of all the partners of the ardennes classics and acknowledge their strong commitment.

La Fleche Wallone 2020

Huy – Mur de Huy (124,0 km/2185 hm)
4 DEIGNAN Elizabeth (GBR) TREK – SEGAFREDO 0:00:11
6 MOOLMAN-PASIO Ashleigh (RSA) CCC – LIV 0:00:11
7 HARVEY Mikayla (NZL) EQUIPE PAULE KA 0:00:11
9 VOS Marianne (NED) CCC – LIV 0:00:22

Huy, Wednesday September 30th 2020 – For the 6th time in a row, Anna van der Breggen conquered the Flèche Wallonne becoming the record holder of the event in front of Marianne Vos. The Dutch rider celebrated in style her World title conquered last saturday in Imola by clinching an impressive victory at the top of the Mur de Huy. Van der Breggen wins this 23rd edition of the race ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Demi Vollering. The Boels Dolmans Cycling Team leader also takes command of the UCI Women’s World Tour.

LA FLÈCHE WALLONNE 2020 (1.UWT): Marc Hirschi triumphiert auf der Mur de Huy

Herve – Mur de Huy (202,0 km / 2935 hm)
10 SIMON GESCHKE (CCC TEAM) + 00h 00′ 10“
14 RUDY MOLARD (GROUPAMA – FDJ) + 00h 00′ 10“
15 JESUS HERRADA (COFIDIS) + 00h 00′ 15“
20 HUGO HOULE (ASTANA PRO TEAM) + 00h 00′ 18“

Huy, Wednesday September 30th 2020 – Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) got today a ground-breaking victory in his maiden participation at the Flèche Wallonne. The Swiss rider overpowered Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) to become the third youngest winner in the race’s history and the second ever Swiss rider to triumph on this event, joining the legendary Ferdi Kübler, winner in 1951 and 1952. This edition of the Flèche Wallonne followed the race’s usual pattern, with a long breakaway starring most of the day and an uphill sprint in the Mur de Huy determining the outcome.

Patrick Konrad eröffnet mit Rang sieben beim Fleche Wallonne die Ardennen Klassiker für BORA – hansgrohe

Im Regen machte sich das Feld heute auf die 202 km von Herve nach Huy zum Ersten der Ardennen Klassiker 2020, dem Fleche Wallonne. Früh im Rennen setzte sich eine 4-Mann-Gruppe vom Feld ab, die einen Vorsprung von über sieben Minuten herausfahren konnte. Rund 70 km vor dem Ziel machte sich Ide Schelling gemeinsam mit A. De Marchi auf deren Verfolgung. Etwa 20 Kilometer später hatte das Duo um Schelling etwas mehr als zwei Minuten auf das Peloton herausgefahren, während der Abstand zur Spitze immer noch 2:30 betrug. Beim vorletzten Anstieg zur Mur de Huy verlor Ide den Anschluss an De Marchi und wurde wenig später vom Feld gestellt. Dennoch ein starker Auftritt den jungen BORA – hansgrohe Neo-Profis, während an der Spitze die Gruppe ebenfalls auseinanderfiel. Rund 15 km vor dem Ende versuchte R. Uran noch dem Feld zu enteilen, wo auch BORA – hansgrohe mit McCarthy, Kämna und Konrad aktiv wurde, am Ende erreichte die Gruppe der Favoriten aber geschlossen die Mur de Huy. M. Hirschi stellte sich auf den letzten 500m als der Stärkste im Feld heraus. Patrick Konrad erreichte als sehr guter Siebenter das Ziel und stellte damit sein Vorjahresergebnis ein.

01 M. Hirschi 4:49:17
02 B. Cosnefroy +0:00
03 M. Woods +0:00

07 P. Konrad +0:05

Reaktionen im Ziel
„Bei Tirreno-Adriatico war ich nach einer Erkrankung noch nicht richtig in Schuss, die letzten Wochen lief mein Training aber sehr gut. Dennoch wusste ich nicht so wirklich, wo ich im Moment stehe. Ich habe zuhause viel trainiert, auch im Regen, das war harte Arbeit. Während dem Rennen habe ich mich recht gut gefühlt, da war dann auch klar, dass wir im Finale auf mich fahren. Die Streckenänderung hat mir auch nicht ganz in die Karten gespielt, denn die Anfahrt zu Mur war etwas leichter als die letzten Jahre. Am Ende hatte ich eine sehr gute Position, aber nicht ganz die Beine, um um den Sieg zu kämpfen. Beim Antritt von Woods hat mir wohl auch noch ein bisschen Rennhärte gefehlt. Aber der 7. Platz ist in jedem Fall ein gutes Ergebnis, mit dem ich zufrieden bin. Es war mir wichtig, vor dem Giro noch meine Form zu testen. Nun kann ich mit Selbstvertrauen nach Italien anreisen.“ – Patrick Konrad

„Wir wollten mit Patrick auf das Finale warten und mit Lennard auf den letzten 30 km aktiv sein. Zuvor ist Ide noch in eine Verfolgergruppe gegangen, das war nicht geplant, aber sicher kein Nachteil. Nach der vorletzten Auffahrt zu Mur war Lennard immer vorne im Feld, aber es ging keine Gruppe. Uran hatte alleine keine Chance, da haben Jay und Lennard dann auf den letzten 10 km Patrick in Position gehalten. Der war am Ende vorne dabei und Rang sieben ist ein sehr gutes Ergebnis. Wir können also zufrieden sein und Patrick weiß nun auch, dass seine Form für den Giro stimmt.“ – André Schulze, sportlicher Leiter

La Flèche Wallone 2020: Info with one day to go

Key information:
 We are set to live an extraordinary edition of the Flèche Wallonne tomorrow. For the first time ever, the race will be held in autumn… right after the Tour de France and the World Championships! The defending champion and new tenant of the rainbow jersey Julian Alaphilippe has chosen to skip the race in order to focus on Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) seems to be the wheel to follow, with another Grande Boucle podium man like Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) as a fellow favourite.
 Contention will be wide open, with a field full of outsiders for victory. Many riders come to Belgium after shining at both the Tour de France and the World Championships, such as Marc Hirschi, Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa or Tom Dumoulin. It will be an exciting race up the Mur de Huy… and an early breakaway can’t be ruled out either.

The 84th edition of the Flèche Wallonne is starting from Herve, a village 15 kilometres east from Liège. The peloton will then ride across the Wallonia countryside to later reach Huy, where it will enter a 32-kilometre circuit due to be ridden three times. The route around Huy has been slightly revamped to avoid the Côte de Cherave, unavailable due to construction works and replaced by the Côte du Chemin des Gueuses. This new climb, 1,8-kilometre long with an average gradient of 6,5%, will play the same role as the Côte de Cherave according to race director Jean-Michel Monin. “It’s a road we normally faced on the other sense, as a descent, but on this case it will challenge the bunch 10 kilometres before the finish atop the Mur de Huy. It isn’t a launching pad for attackers, but rather a spot to narrow down the peloton. Chemin des Guuses is a softer climb compared to Cherave, but it can still blow many cyclists away. The top favourites will anyway be contending in the Mur – all guns will be blazing there. As every year, the strongest rider will triumph on the finish line.”

After being one of the stars of the recent Tour de France and with the bronze medal of the Imola 2020 UCI Road World Championships hanging around his neck, Swiss rider Marc Hirschi is one of the marquee names on the startlist of the Flèche Wallonne despite this being its maiden appearance on this race. “I think a top5 is a realistic goal for Marc [Hirschi], but if he is on a good day he can even deliver a podium performance,” says Team Sunweb’s DS Michiel Elijzen. “He is one of the best riders on the world on short, steep climbs like Huy.” The Dutch coach identifies “Tadej Pogačar or Michal Kwiatkowski” as the top contenders for victory. “Normally Flèche Wallonne ends in an uphill sprint with a reduced peloton, and I think that won’t change this year. The sole factor that could alter this is the weather, and it looks fine for tomorrow. Therefore, most teams will focus on giving their leader the best possible shot on the Mur de Huy – although I think we will see more attacks before the final climb than in previous years.”

One of the teams lining up a powerful squad on this Flèche Wallonne is Bahrain-McLaren. The British-based team comes with three riders fresh off the Tour de France such as Mikel Landa, Wout Poels and Matej Mohoric, and a former Flèche Wallonne podium finisher as Dylan Teuns to round up the outfit. “We don’t know yet how are we going to play the cards we have – it will depend on how the race unfolds,” says DS Xavier Florencio. “Mikel Landa is in good shape after being 4th in the Tour de France and contending in the Worlds. We are unsure of Dylan Teuns’ shape, although we know he had a good race at Tirreno-Adriatico and that Flèche Wallonne perfectly fits his abilities as a rider. We can’t foresee which team will control the race, and therefore expect the competition to be a bit different, more uncertain compared to previous editions. We don’t think the bunch will make to Huy in one piece.”

Over his nine years on the elite level of the sport, Tom Dumoulin has only taken part once in the Flèche Wallonne, placing 21st in 2014. This Wednesday, the winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia will be on the start line of Herve on team duty with an eye on Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he will race alongside Primoz Roglic. “We don’t know what role Tom Dumoulin can play tomorrow,” says his DS at Jumbo-Visma, Franz Maassen. “We have to see whether he is fully recovered from the Worlds, but normally this will only be a training race for him ahead of Sunday’s event.” The Dutch squad will back the chances of youngsters Lennard Hofstede and Jonas Vingegaard. “I think this Flèche Wallonne will be more or less ridden the same way it usually is, with a bunch getting to the foot of final climb and an uphill sprint for the win. Although many riders are tired after the Tour de France and the World Championships, this won’t affect how the race pans out.”


As part of the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19), Amaury Sport Organisation, with the agreement of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has decided to not organise Paris-Roubaix (12th April), the Flèche Wallonne and the Flèche Wallonne Women (22nd April) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women (26th April) races on their scheduled dates.

In close collaboration with the UCI and with the assistance of the other parties concerned, the organisers have already begun working to try to organise new dates for these monuments, races to which teams, riders and spectators are deeply attached.

The cyclosportives Paris-Roubaix Challenge and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge will also be postponed.


As part of the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19), Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation, co-organizers of the Tour de Yorkshire and of the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s race, have decided to postpone the upcoming sixth edition of the annual cycle race scheduled to take placed between 30th April and 3rd May 2020.
Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling are working with the UCI to try to find alternative dates in the international cycling calendar for the race to take place. In alignment with this decision will be to postpone the Sportive (Tour de Yorkshire Ride) as well – the ride for 4,500 people takes part on the same roads and finish line as the Pros.



Ardennes classics’ organizers selected the teams for the next the Flèche Wallonne Women (April 22nd) and the next Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women (April 26th).
The 23 following teams are selected for both races :

Worldtour Teams
Alé BTC Ljubljana (Ita)
Canyon //SRAM Racing (Ger)
CCC – Liv (Pol)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Mitchelton Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team Women (Esp)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)

Continental Women Teams
Bigla – Katusha (Sui)
Boels Dolmans Cycling Team (Ned)
Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team (Rus)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Valcar – Travel & Service (Ita)
Ceratizit – WNT Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Astana Women’s Team (Kaz)
Charente – Maritime Women Cycling (Fra)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport UCI Women Cycling (Bel)
Team Arkéa (Fra)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (Usa)
Aromitalia – Basso Bikes – Vaiano (Ita)
Ciclotel (Bel)
Chevalmeire Cycling Team (Bel)

The following team is selected for the Flèche Wallonne Women :
Massi – Tactic Women Team (Esp)

The following team is selected for Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women :
Hitec Products – Birk Sport (Nor)



Key points:
 The world’s best puncheurs, male and female, will race the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, April 22nd. Liège-Bastogne-Liège Hommes and Femmes will be held on Sunday, April 26th.
 La Doyenne’s finish is set on the boulevard d’Avroy, in the heart of Liège, after climbing the côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.
 The riders participating in the Flèche Wallonne will face an unprecedented climb with the introduction of the côte du chemin des Gueuses in the final loop around Huy.

The Doyenne has returned to the heart of Liège in 2019 and is ready to come back in 2020. For the second year in a row, Liège-Bastogne-Liège Hommes and its feminine counterpart will end on the boulevard d’Avroy, where Jakob Fuglsang and Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated their solo triumphs last Spring. Fuglsang was the second Dane to take victory in 105 editions of the race while Van Vleuten got a spot in the winners list alongside her Dutch compatriot Anna van der Breggen, winner of the first two editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes in Ans.
The riders aiming for such successes in 2020 will tackle familiar climbs. The route for the men’s race features 11 iconic ascents, from the côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne all the way to the côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, before the champions storm to the finish in the ardent city. As they ride from the côte de Wanne to the côte de la Vecquée, the women will face for the first time the côte de la Haute-Levée, a classic of the men’s route.
Four days earlier, the world’s best puncheurs, male and female, will already battle it out in the Ardennes with the Flèche Wallonne. The ascent of the côte du chemin des Gueuses (1.8km with an average gradient of 6.5%) appears on the route for the first time both for the men and the women. It comes instead of the côte de Cherave in the final circuit designed around the Mur de Huy.

The Flèche Wallonne Hommes will start from Herve, where the peloton and the whole world of cycling will admire the spring of the Six Fountains, and quickly head for the côte de Trasenster. The other challenges of the route are well known by the reigning champions, Julian Alaphilippe and Anna van der Breggen. Everything is set for a thrilling battle on the Mur.
At the announcement of the routes for the Ardennes classics, the organisers revealed the names of the teams that will take part in the next editions of the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In addition to the 19 WorldTeams and the top two teams of the UCI ProTeams rankings in 2019, Team Direct Energie (Fra) and Circus – Wanty Gobert (Bel) have been selected:

2020 Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège
– Alpecin – Fenix (Bel)
– Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise (Bel)
– Team Arkéa – Samsic(Fra)
– Wallonie Bruxelles (Bel)

The races have two new partners
– The Italian National Tourist Board, founded in 1919 under the moniker ENIT, becomes an Official Partner of the Ardennes Classics in 2020. More information here:
– Ardennes-Etape, a specialist in on-line location of holiday homes in the Ardennes, becomes an Official Partner of the Ardennes Classics in 2020. More information here :

The Dictée of Ardennes Classics
Following two editions of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège dictation, in 2020 this concept will also take in the Flèche Wallonne to become the Ardennes Classics Dictation. On Wednesday 18th March, in each school taking part (classes in the last year of primary school and the first year of secondary school in the Province of Liège are concerned), several hundred pupils will be trying to meet the challenge of making no mistakes. The Province of Liège will then organise an awards ceremony to be held at the official presentation of the teams in Liège, on Saturday 25th April, with awards for 200 children. The following day, the authors of the 14 best dictations will have privileged access to watch the race (seven at the start and seven at the finish)..

10th edition of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge: Saturday 25th April 2020
The day before the elite race, more than 8,000 amateur riders are expected to take the same roads as the professionals and test themselves on the legendary slopes of the Ardennes, with some of the climbs against the clock. Participants will be able to tackle three different distances in order to satisfy all levels of cycling ability: 266 km, 147 km and 70 km.
Information and registration on

Fleche Wallone 2019

Huy, Wednesday April 24th 2019 – A year after overthrowing Alejandro Valverde from his throne, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) conquered the Mur de Huy again to take his second victory on La Flèche Wallonne. The race opened up much earlier than usual but the Frenchman was once again the strongest in the final climb to edge Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team), one of his most intimate enemies. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) ahead of the youngsters Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). Julian Alaphilippe is only the fourth rider to win Milan-San Remo and La Flèche Wallonne the same year after Eddy Merckx, Maurizio Fondriest and Laurent Jalabert.

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:55:14
2 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:06
4 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:08
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:11
10 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data
11 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
12 Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
13 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
14 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida
15 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
16 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), winner of La Flèche Wallonne: “Last year, it was my first big victory, ahead of a huge champion, it was a very special win that I’ll never forget. Now I’ve confirmed it’s one of the races that suit me the most. I felt strong expectations after my victory last year and with the fact that I’ve always been on the podium since the first time I came here. I tried to get away from the pressure after my good run early this season, to only focus on what I and the team had to do. It was harder than last year. It’s the kind of day that usually gets me very quickly pissed off, so I’m very happy. With the wind, it was very nervous from the start, it was mentally exhausting. On the final circuit, a rider in front of me did a bit of non-sense and he broke three wires on my wheel so I had to stop to change my bike and we were close to the finish… But we’ve done it all perfect with the team. I’m very happy.”

Huy, Wednesday April 24th 2019 – Like on the four previous editions, but this time with the World Champion’s jersey on her shoulders, Anna van der Breggen conquered the Flèche Wallonne Femmes for a fifth time. The Dutch rider waited for the final climb up the Mur de Huy to produce her effort, catching Newiadoma and eventually beating to line her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton Scott) while her Boels-Dolmans team mate Annika Langvad had to settle for third spot.
Olympic Champion Anne van der Breggen wins the Fleche the 4th time in a row!

1 Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 3:17:04
2 Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott Women 0:00:01
3 Annika Langvad (Den) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:00:04
4 Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:00:14
5 Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:00:16
6 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM 0:00:17
7 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv 0:00:20
8 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla Pro Cycling Team 0:00:23
9 Brodie Chapman (Aus) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:00:26
10 Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Movistar Team Women 0:00:33
11 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women 0:00:36

Text ASO
Fotos: Gerhard Plomitzer

La Flèche Wallonne 2019 – Who can control „Alaf“?

Key point:
 The rider sporting the number one also leads the world rankings, thanks to a start to the season that he has dominated in the face of little opposition just until the week of the Ardennes Classics. Diminished or not by a recent fall on the Tour of the Basque Country, Julian Alaphilippe heads to the Flèche Wallonne where he is most dangerous.
 If five-time winner Alejandro Valverde is still the man to beat on the Mur de Huy he could spoil the plans of the Deceuninck-Quick Step winning machine. Unless the world champion he succeeded, Peter Sagan, bounces back for his return to the race that could be his opportunity to get back on form in what has been a somewhat disappointing spring.

This is where it all began. For sure, discerning cycling aficionados already had the chance to detect the signs of an exceptional talent in the winner of the Fougères stage on the Tour de Bretagne in 2013, then a few months later at the Plateau des Glières on the Tour de l’Avenir. But it was the climb up the Mur de Huy where Julian gave a dazzling glimpse of his explosive abilities by clinging to the wheel of Alejandro Valverde, who in 2015 won his 3rd Flèche Wallonne. The French youngster, who came up short against the Spaniard the following year, had to wait until the spring of 2018 to win with authority in Huy. And since this consecration, “Alaf” has become one of the dominant riders in the major one-day classics, with victories on the Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. Despite a recent fall that forced him to retire from the Tour of the Basque Country, the world number one comes in as the favourite, and will have by his side his team mate Philippe Gilbert, winner eight years ago of the Flèche Wallonne and last Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix!
If Alaphilippe has won more classics than Gilbert at the same age, the same cannot be said of Peter Sagan, who he beat recently in Italy but has never clashed with on the Mur de Huy. The Slovak has ventured there only once, finishing a very honourable 12th place in 2013, which only needs to be improved for his return to the Ardennes. Since he lost the world champion jersey, Sagan has struggled to find his way to the top step of the podium (only one victory in 2019, on the Tour Down Under), and his successor seems to have lost the winning formula since slipping on the rainbow jersey. While he had nine victories at this time last year, Valverde has just one stage win on the UAE Tour in 2019… but in some ways he will race on home soil next Wednesday. Among the regular Flèche contenders, Dan Martin has finished on the podium three times and will ride this year with victory in mind. He will have to contend with former team mate Michal Kwiatkowski, who rode to 5th place in 2013 and 3rd in 2014 as well as Michael Matthews who finished 5th last year and Michael Woods, who in the Vuelta (Balcon de Bizkaia stage) showed some real dexterity while the others struggled. On another steep terrain, Romain Bardet managed to overtake the Canadian at the Worlds in Austria. The silver medallist in the World Championship will need at least the same form to win his first classic. It will also be the challenge for Adam Yates, Daniel Martinez and Rudy Molard.

Mitchelton-Scott: A.Yates (Gbr), Albasini (Che)
Bahrain-Merida: Pozzovivo (Ita), Teuns (Bel), Dennis (Aus)
Deceuninck-Quick Step: Alaphilippe (Fra), Gilbert (Bel), Mas (Esp)
Lotto-Soudal: Vanendert, Wellens (Bel)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Van Gestel, Sprengers (Bel)
Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team: G.Martin (Fra), Eiking (Nor)
Wallonie Bruxelles: Jules (Fra), Lietaer (Bel)
AG2R La Mondiale: Bardet, Cosnefroy (Fra)
Groupama-FDJ: Gaudu, Molard (Fra)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Jes.Herrada (Esp), Simon (Fra)
Team Sunweb: Matthews (Aus)
Bora-Hansgrohe: Sagan (Svk), Schachmann (Deu)
Great Britain
Team Sky: Kwiatkowski (Pol), De La Cruz (Esp), Poels (Nld)
Israel Cycling Academy: Hermans (Bel)
Astana Pro Team: Fuglsang (Dnk), Fraile (Esp), Lutsenko (Kaz)
Team Jumbo-Visma: Gesink (Nld)
CCC Team: De Marchi (Ita)
South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Kreuziger (Cze), Valgren (Dnk), Gasparotto (Ita)
Movistar Team: Valverde (Esp)
Euskadi Basque Country-Murias: Rodiguez, Bravo (Esp)
Team Katusha Alpecin: Haas (Aus), Boswell (Usa)
United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: D.Martin (Irl), Costa (Prt), Henao (Col)
United States
EF Education First: Woods (Can), Martinez (Col)
Trek-Segafredo: Mollema (Nld)
Rally UHC Cycling: McNulty (Usa)



Liège, Tuesday, January, 22nd 2019

Key points:
 The World’s best puncheurs will vie for the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, April 24th. The men and women’s races of Liège-Bastogne-Liège are set on Sunday, April 28th.
 The Doyenne goes back to Liège with a finish inside the city, after 27 editions set in Ans. The Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons are expected to play a key role in the new finale.
 The Flèche Wallonne will see the women’s peloton start for the first time from the city centre of Huy, and the female riders will arrive for the first time inside Liège with the new finish of La Doyenne.

As historical and attached to traditions as they are, the Ardennes classics still manage to bring novelty. The city of Ans was used to welcoming the champions at the end of La Doyenne, in 2019 it will host the start of the 83rd edition of the Flèche Wallonne, a 195.5-km challenge leading to the legendary battle up the Mur de Huy. The stars lining up to succeed Julian Alaphilippe will first tackle the Côte des Forges, a classic from Liège-Bastogne-Liège, before entering the final circuit. They will then face three ascents of the Côte d’Ereffe, the Côte de Cherave and the Mur de Huy.

The puncheurs will also need resilience four days later to come out on top after the 256 km awaiting them for the 105th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The challenges are as usual concentrated in the second part of the race, with nine climbs in the last 100 km. The Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levée triptych comes back with the addition of the Côte de Mont-le-Soie to spice it up. But the main changes come from the finale, redesigned to ensure a finish in the city center. The iconic Côte de la Redoute, the historic Côte des Forges and the always spectacular Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (where Luxembourg champions Andy Schleck and Bob Jungels built their successes) will lead the riders to glory.

The women’s peloton will tackle the Flèche Wallonne from Huy on the Wednesday morning. The start will be given for the first time from the Grand-Place, at the bottom of the Mur. The champions will cover a 70-km loop before entering the final circuit. Two ascents of the Côte d’Ereffe, the Côte de Cherave and the Mur de Huy will give them the opportunities to try and topple Anna van der Breggen, in this 118.5-km long 22nd edition.

On Sunday, the Dutch star will discover new grounds for the third women’s race of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After her two triumphs in Ans, she will head to Liège, for a finish in the city centre after 138.5 km of battle. Van der Breggen and her rivals will face five climbs, beginning with the Côte de Wanne, Côte de Brume and Côte de la Vecquée. They will then battle it out over the Côte de La Redoute and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.

As well as unveiling the courses of the Ardennes classics, the organisers revealed the team selection for the upcoming editions of La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The following squads have been selected to compete alongside the 18 WorldTour outfits:

2019 Flèche Wallonne

2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

9th edition of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge: Saturday, April, 27th
The day before the elite race, more than 8,000 amateur riders will be expected on the same race as professionals to challenge the most beautiful Ardennes hills. The three distances on the menu will make sure there is something for riders of all levels: 273 km, 153 km and 75 km.
Information and registration on

Julian Alaphilippe schiesst den Pfeil endlich ab

Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Lidl) beendet die Siegesserie von Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) und gewinnt den Fleche Wallone 2018 vor dem Spanier.
Das Rennen führte über 198km von Seraing nach Huy, das Wetter war fast sommerlich, kaum Wind, viel Sonne und 23 Grad.

Die Fluchtgruppe des Tages bestand aus Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Samsic), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) , Patrick Muller (Vital Concept), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) und Antoine Warnier (VB Aqua Protect Veranclassic).
Ihr Maximalvorsprung betrug 5 Minuten und die Strecke führte gegenüber dem Vorjahr auch über die Cote de La Redoute, die traditionell am Sonntag bei LBL wieder befahren werden wird.

Ca. 50 Kilometer vor dem Ziel hatte das Peloton unter Führung von Movistar die Fluchtgruppe gestellt, aber sofort wurden wieder Attacken gefahren und nach einem Angriff von Michael Gogl (TREK) konnten sich Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) sowie Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), Tanel Kangert (Astana), Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step) und die ehemaligen Ausreißer Roux und Benedetti absetzen. Es war zu spüren, dass viele Mannschaften ein Rezept gegen die Siegesserie von Valverde versuchten, sie wollten seine Mannschaft zur Nachfolgearbeit zwingen und ihn so im schweren Finale zu isolieren.
Fahrer des Tages war wohl Cesare Benedetti (BORA hansgrohe), der in beiden Fluchtgruppen vertreten war und als er 6 Kilometer vor dem Ziel an der vorletzten Steigung zurückfiel, sich in der Abfahrt sofort wieder an die Spitze des Feldes setzte und nun seine ehemaligen Fluchtgefährten jagte, um seinem Teamkameraden Patrick Konrad zu ermöglichen, um den Sieg mitzufahren.

Nibali leistete vorne viel Führungsarbeit und musste 4 Kilometer vor dem Ziel Jack Hailg und Maximilian Schachmann ziehen lassen, seine offensive Fahrweise wurde nicht belohnt, allerdings hatte Movistar in der Verfolgung viel Kräfte investieren müssen.
Unter dem Diktat von Lotto-Soudal fuhr das kleine Peloton durch Huy in Richtung der Mauer und an deren Fuße wurde auch Jack Haig gestellt, nur Schachmann behauptete sich erstaunlicherweise bis 250 Meter vor dem Ziel. Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal) arbeitete im Feld den ganzen Anstieg für Tim Wellens, der jedoch auf den letzten Metern abreißen lassen musste und Vanendert nun auf eigene Rechnung durchziehen musste. Er holte Schachmann ein, aber an seinem Hinterrad war Julian Alaphilippe, der von Gilbert und Jungels gut plaziert in den Anstieg gebracht wurde. Er zog unwiderstehlich davon und Valverde war etwas zu weit hinten plaziert, als er seinen Konter setzte. Alaphilippe war selbst von Valverde nicht mehr einzuholen, allerdings war dieser bei Überqueren der Ziellinie völlig erschöpft und der Meinung, dass Nibali das Rennen gewonnen hätte und die Fotografen bekamen so nicht die gewünschte Siegerpose zu sehen. Er hatte die Einholung Nibalis nicht mitbekommen und der Funk war im Anstieg wegen der vielen Zuschauer nicht zu verstehen gewesen. Die Freude bei Alaphilippe war um so größer, als ihm klar wurde, dass er der Sieger des Rennens ist.
Schachmann wurde starker Achter und bereitete durch seine Flucht den Sieg des Teamkollegen mustergültig vor.
Patrick Konrad (BORA hansgrohe) konnte sich den zehnten Platz sichern.
Es wäre interessant zu sehen gewesen, was Vanendert ohne seine Arbeit für Wellens für ein Ergebnis erzielt hätte.
Text/Fotos Gerhard Plomitzer

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 4:53:37
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04
3 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:06
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
9 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:12

Patrick Konrad sichert sich den 10. Platz auf einem schweren La Fléche Wallonne Kurs

Patrick Konrad sichert sich den 10. Platz auf einem schweren La Fléche Wallonne Kurs.

Die 82. Austragung des belgischen Eintagesrennens sah BORA – hansgrohe Fahrer Cesare Benedetti in den Fluchtgruppen des Tages, die 6km vor dem Ziel gestellt wurde. Unmittelbar vor dem Ziel setzte J. Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) die entscheidende Attacke und sicherte sich vor A. Valverde (Team Movistar) den Sieg, Patrick Konrad belegte als bester BORA – hansgrohe Fahrer einen starken 10. Platz.

Der Kurs
Der Wallonische Pfeil, La Fléche Wallonne, wurde heute zum 82. Mal ausgetragen. Startort war in diesem Jahr die Stadt Seraing, von dort aus ging es für das Peloton über knapp 200km in die Provinz Lüttich, hinauf auf den Mur de Huy, ein 1,3km kurzer, aber mit durchschnittlich 9,6% Steigung, ein äußerst harter Anstieg. Diesen Schlussanstieg kannten die Fahrer, galt es Mur de Huy im Rennen schon zweimal zu bewältigen, wie auch acht weitere anspruchsvolle Anstiege, einer der bekanntesten, La Redoute, 2km lang mit 8,9% Steigung im Durchschnitt.

BORA – hansgrohe ging mit einer offensiven Taktik in das heutige Eintagesrennen. Mit einer kletterstarken Mannschaft hatte das Team aus Bayern mehrere Optionen, für das Finale konzentrierte man sich, mit Österreicher Patrick Konrad und dem Australier Jay McCarthy ein gutes Ergebnis einzufahren. Zuvor sollte entweder Pawel Poljanski oder Cesare Benedetti in einer Fluchtgruppe vertreten sein, Teamkollegen Gregor Mühlberger, Emanuel Buchmann und Rafal Majka hatten die Aufgabe das Finale offensiv zu gestalten.

Das Rennen
Nach nur wenigen Kilometern setzte sich eine Gruppe von acht Fahrern, mit ihnen BORA – hansgrohe Fahrer Cesare Benedetti mit vier Minuten vom Feld ab. Als die Spitzengruppe zum ersten Mal den Anstieg Mur de Huy in Angriff nahm, genossen sie immer noch einen Vorsprung von einer Minute. Im Hauptfeld übernahmen Team Movistar und Team Sky die Kontrolle und versuchten die Lücke zu schließen, was ihnen 45km vor dem Ziel gelang.

Cesare Benedetti blieb immer noch an der Spitze des mittlerweile verkleinerten Hauptfeldes und bestimmte das Tempo, seine Teamkollegen Rafal Majka und Gregor Mühlberger waren ebenfalls in den vorderen Positionen des circa 20-Mann starkem Hauptfeld. Bei noch 37km zu fahren, bildete sich erneut eine Spitzengruppe und wieder war BORA – hansgrohe Fahrer Cesare Benedetti in dieser vertreten. Diese Gruppe konnte sich bis kurz vor dem Anstieg auf den Mur de Huy halten, Cesare ließ sich zurückfallen, um seinen Teamkollegen Patrick Konrad, Emanuel Buchmann und Jay McCarthy zu helfen. Ein spannendes Finale war geprägt von vielen Attacken, J. Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) setzte auf den letzten Metern die entscheidende und sicherte sich den Sieg vor Letztjahres Sieger A. Valverde (Team Movistar). Nur wenige Sekunden hinter dem Sieger querte Patrick Konrad als bester BORA – hansgrohe Fahrer auf Platz 10 die Ziellinie. Jay McCarthy sicherte sich den 21. Platz, Teamkollege Emanuel Buchmann wurde 26..

01 J. Alaphilippe 4:53:37
02 A. Valverde +0:04
03 J. Vanendert +0:06
10 P. Konrad +0:12

Reaktionen im Ziel
„Mit der Anzahl an guten Bergfahrern wollten wir offensiv das Rennen gestalten. Mit Cesare hatten wir einen in der Spitzengruppe, und im späteren Verlauf hat sich eine 20 Mann starke Gruppe vom Feld abgesetzt in denen Rafal und Gregor vertreten waren. In der Abfahrt gelang es sechs Fahrern, wieder inklusive Cesare, sich abzusetzen und waren bis 6km vor dem Ziel an der Spitze. Auch im Feld waren wir mit mehreren Attacken aktiv und Patrick konnte im finalen Anstieg auf die Mur de Huy einen tollen zehnten Platz herausfahren, was ein wirklich gutes Ergebnis ist. Die Teamleistung war heute besonders stark und offensiv, für diese starke Leistung hätten die Jungs mehr Top-Ergebnisse verdient.“ – Jens Zemke, sportlicher Leiter

„Ich bin mit meinem zehnten Platz ganz zufrieden, dass Team hat heute eine starke Performance gezeigt und hart gearbeitet. Wir konnten unseren Plan umsetzen und mit unseren Attacken kamen viele Teams unter Zugzwang. Der neue Kurs hat das Rennen spannend gemacht und ich denke, dass wir aufgrund unserer Teamarbeit eigentlich Plätze weiter vorne verdient hätten, aber das ist Radsport und nun konzentrieren wir uns auf Lüttich.“ – Patrick Konrad

Hier finden Sie alle Bilder zum Rennen, Photo Credit:
© BORA – hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto