Valverde wins fifth Flèche Wallonne 

Spaniard claims fifth career win at Flèche Wallonne to take tenth individual win this season

Alejandro Valverde has no rivals in the number of wins at Fleche Wallonne. After breaking a tie with Merckx, Kint, Argentin and Rebellin, with three victories, the marvel from Murcia was able to increase that tally on Wednesday and take his fifth (four on a row) in the second event of the Ardennes trio.

Valverde was as strong as usual on the decisive climb to the Mur de Huy (1.3km at 9.6% average, slopes up to 26%). Following impressive work from the Movistar Team –with Erviti, Sutherland, Soler, Herrada, a remarkable Betancur and the final, key contribution from Rojas and Dani Moreno–, Valverde controlled the opposition with ease before doing his classic acceleration from just less than 200 meters from the finish line.

Behind him, with no real chances to contest the win, Dan Martin (QST) and Dylan Teuns (BMC) completed the podium behind the Spaniard, who improves his already amazing start to the 2017 season: most winning UCI rider this year (10 wins, 19 already for the Movistar Team since January), 107 victories as a pro, eight triumphs in the Ardennes (5 in La Flèche Wallonne, 3 in Liège-Bastogne-Liége, which he'll tackle on Sunday with the intention of claiming his second double, after 2006 and 2015) for a legendary cyclist who continues to amaze the world, just six days away from turning 37 years old.

Alejandro Valverde siad after the race “It was a victory based on confidence, strength and a great team supporting me all the way. I had lots of respect to what my rivals could do, but also knew that I was in great physical condition, and I had to take advantage from it. We believed we could win it again, and the whole team worked from the very first kilometer to keep the race together before the finish. There were plenty of attacks into the final 50km by riders from Quick Step and BMC, but ourselves, as well as Orica who took a big share of the work in the finale, made sure it all came down to the last Huy climb. We knew it would still be difficult to win there, because only one can achieve it and many fight for it, but to be honest, this feels like a race made for me."

"Rojas and Dani Moreno set me up in perfect position before the final kilometer and I took to the front before the double hairpin halfway through the ascent - I wanted to make sure everything was under control and also go on my own trajectory through the last few corners. I went after Gaudu's attack and didn't hesitate to launch my sprint afterwards. Even though it might seem easier, it was just as difficult as the other four wins I got here. There's no secret: you need to be in perfect form and have no doubts about how to reach when someone jumps in the final meters. No one had four victories here, and now that I've got five, it seems like it will be a record very hard to beat."

"Liège? We'll see how we feel on Sunday. It's a race that I really like a lot and won three times. I'm in great shape at the moment, but as always, enjoying this win comes first and thinking about what's next comes after that.”

Join us live on Sunday April 23rd for Leige - Bastogne Leige, the third and final Ardennes Classic at 8:15 EST, 13:15 GMT, 14:15 CET

2017 Fleche Wallonne Top 10 Results

1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 5:15:37 
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:01 
3 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team   
4 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky   
5 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott   
6 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb   
7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky   
8 Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ   
9 David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ   
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

2017 Fleche Wallone Highlights

2017 Fleche Wallone Full Race

2017 Fleche Wallone LIVE STREAM 

15:54 CET - Join us live on Sunday April 23rd for Leige - Bastogne Leige - 8:15 EST, 13:15 GMT, 14:15 CET

15:54 CET - Five wins, Valverde celebrates!

15:52 CET - Official top 10 results

15:49 CET - 5th win at Fleche Wallonne for Valverde!

15:48 CET - Valverde kicks and its game over!

15:46 CET - Valverde does it again!

15:46 CET - Last 100m to go. Valverde has attacked!

15:45 CET - Valverde and Henao on the front!

15:45 CET - Jungels is swamped by the Peloton

15:44 CET - Peloton has hit the Mur de Huy. Attacks!

15:43 CET - Jungels has hit the Mur de Huy!

15:41 CET - Valverde, Barguill and Uran come to the front. Jungels has 1.5 km to go 23s

15:40 CET - Come on Jungels!

15:37 CET -  Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) has 30s, just over 4km to go. He just has the Mur de Huy left.

15:34 CET - Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) has just the Mur to climb, 6kms to go

15:32 CET - Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) lead is 50 secs with 7km to go!

15:30 CET - Bob Jungels has 44 secs, he could do this ....

15:27 CET - Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) attacks with 13 km to go. He is 36s ahead of the peloton.

15:21 CET - Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) joins Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) lead with 30 secs, 13 km to go

15:16 CET - 3 climbs left, Cote 'dEreffe, Cote de Cherave and the Mur de Huy, 18 kms to go

15:13 CET - Movistar continue to chase with Valverde at the back of the train, who looks very comfortable.

15:11 CET - Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) joins Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) 25 seconds ahead of the peloton.

15:08 CET - Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) accelerated with 28 km to go to try and bridge the gap with Alessandro De Marchi (BMC).

15:05 CET - Bob Jungels goes on the attack as the Peloton crosses the line

15:03 CET - The Peloton have reached the Mur de Huy for the 2nd time

14:59 CET - De Marchi from BMC has a gap of 15 secs on the Mur de Huy

14:56 CET - De Marchi goes on the attack again. BMC don't want Movistar controlling the race.

14:46 CET - Riders going out the back on the Cote de Cherave, 35km to go

14:41 CET - 3 breakaway riders have nearly been caught by the peloton, 41km to go

14:37 CET - Attack! Alessandro De Marchi from BMC Racing gets a gap

14:34 CET - Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), Romain Guillemois (Direct Energie) and Olivier Pardini (WB Veranclassic) are about to reach the côte d'Ereffe (2.1km, 5%) with a lead under 1 minute.

14:31 CET - Only 3 riders remain out front with 50 secs

14:23 CET - This first ascent of the Mur de Huy split the peloton which is back together. The breakaway is being caught.

14:21 CET - The Peloton has reached the Mur de Huy for the first ascent

14:16 CET - Lead of 6 riders have reached the climb of Mur de Huy, lead is doen to 2 minutes.

14:10 CET - The riders are about to face the Mur de Huy for the first time today and thus enter the final circuit. The gap is down to 2m 25s with 60 kms to go.

13:57 CET - Astana rider crashed and went into the barrier, ok!

13:57 CET - Breakaway has reached Cote d'Amay, 3m 32s lead


13:10 CET - Women's result - Anna van der Breggen (nld), 2. Elizabeth Deignan (gbr), 3. Katarzyna Niawiadomo (pol), 4. Annemiek van Vleuten (nld) 5. Shara Gillow (aus)

12:59 CET - Live video in 20 minutes

12:47 CET - Approx 30km to go before the climbs start 

12:30 CET - Movistar has begun the chase, gap has dropped to 5m 20s

12:27 CET - Samuel Sanchez is back for BMC Racing and riding in today's race. Sanchez suffered a heavy crash at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and tore a ligament in his ankle which was operated on. He told the press "My sensations on the bike are good and I would like to use la Flèche wallonne to check my physical condition, in particular the recovery of my hand. My recovery has been a miracle but very laboured, both physically and mentally. I love the Ardennes and I really wanted to come back for them, so la Flèche Wallonne will be a good opportunity to see where I am at now at this point in the season."

12:26 CET - Movistar is leading the pack, 5m 35s to the break with 129 km to go

10:53 CET - Fabien Doubey (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), Nils Politt (Katusha Alpecin), Romain Guillemois (Direct Energie), Daniel Pearson (Aqua Blue Sport), and Olivier Pardini (WB Veranclassic Protect) have a lead of nearly 6 minutes.

10:42 CET - 3 riders, Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), Nils Politt (Katusha Alpecin) and Olivier Pardini (WB Veranclassic Protect) have a gap of seconds ahead of the peloton

10:35 CET - Attacks out of the bunch, 6 riders trying to get a gap

10:26 CET - The flag has been waved and the the racing has started, 200 kms and nine climbs to go.

10:12 CET - Men's race has left Binch and is rolling out through the neutralized section

09:55 CET - Alejandro Valverde is the defending champion here at Fleche Wallonne having won four times previously.

09:51 CET - Good morning cycle sport fans. It's a beautiful day in Binche. Womens race has just started. Men leaving soon.

The 81st edition of La Flèche Wallonne is a 200 km race that winds through the hills of the Ardennes this Wednesday April 19th 2017

Fleche Wallonne translates to the Walloon Arrow in English and American. 

The race is marked by steep hills in the Ardennes and the finish is at the top of the Wall of Huy, a 1.3 kilometre climb with its steepest section at 17%. La Flèche Wallonne totals 200 kilometres and takes in nine climbs towards the end of the race.

Last year in 2016, Alejandro Valverde took his fourth win, out sprinting Julian Alaphilippe and Dan Martin on the Wall of Huy.

Valverde is the record holder with the most wins at La Flèche Wallonne.

The Course

PREVIEW: Fleche Wallonne - the Mur de HuyThe classic course winds it's way through the beautiful Ardennes hills. It's at 127.5 km the first climb of Côte d’Amay arrives with the Côte de Villers le Bouillet not long after.

At 142 km the first ascent of the Mur de Huy, a climb of the 1.3 kilometres  with an average gradient of 9.6%. The climb is fairly flat for 200 meters before hitting 11% - 17% for 900 meters before returning to 6% for the last 100m kick to the top.

The riders climb it twice, the second time with 29 kilometers to go, with the Côte d’Ereffe (2.1 kilometres at 5%) and the Côte de Cherave (1.3 kilometres climb at 8.1%).

At the top of the Côte de Cherave, it's only 5.5 kilometres to the finish line at the top of the third ascent of the Mur de Huy.

La Flèche Wallonne starts at 11:10 CET and the finish is expected at 16:30 CET which is (15:30 GMT, 10:30 EST, 23:30 AWST).

Viewers from North America can tune in from 09:00 - 10:30 EST to watch the finale .

The Favorites

Valverde is an obvious favorite with four victories  in 2006, 2014, 2015, 2016 and this season has won Ruta del Sol, Volta a Catalunya and Tour of the Basque Country and is in good form albiet misisng the break at Amstel Gold along with Greg Van Avermaet last Sunday.

Philippe Gilbert would have been annother obvious favorite, but with a tear to his right kidney after crashing in the Amstel Gold Race whihc he won, he's been ordered to rest for at least a week.

Amstel Gold runner up Michal Kwiatkowski skipped the cobbles classics to focus on the Ardennes and is in good form so is another top favorite going into Wednesday's race. Kwiatkowski has already won Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo this year.

Our favorites for 2017 Fleche Walonne:

*** Alejandro Valverde, Michal Kwiatkowski
** Sergio Henao, Rui Costa, Ion Izagirre,Gianni Moscon
* Rigoberto Uran, Samuel Sanchez, Michael Albasini, Tim Wellens

Start List

Movistar Team
1  Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa)
2  Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col)
3  Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa)
4  Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa)
5  Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa)
6  Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa)
7  Marc Soler (Spa)
8  Rory Sutherland (Aus)

Quick-Step Floors
12  Gianluca Brambilla (Ita)
13  Eros Capecchi (Ita)
14  Laurens De Plus (Bel)
15  Dries Devenyns (Bel)
16  Bob Jungels (Lux)
17  Daniel Martin (Irl)
18  Petr Vakoc (Cze)

Team Sky
21  Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol)
22  Owain Doull (GBr)
23  Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr)
24  Michal Golas (Pol)
25  Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col)
26  Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col)
27  Gianni Moscon (Ita)
28  Diego Rosa (Ita)

Wanty - Groupe Gobert
31  Jérôme Baugnies (Bel)
32  Thomas Degand (Bel)
33  Fabien Doubey (Fra)
34  Guillaume Levarlet (Fra)
35  Guillaume Martin (Fra)
36  Xandro Meurisse (Bel)
37  Marco Minnaard (Ned)
38  Dion Smith (NZl)

BMC Racing Team
41  Samuel Sanchez (Spa)
42  Alessandro De Marchi (Ita)
43  Floris Gerts (Ned)
44  Ben Hermans (Bel)
45  Amaël Moinard (Fra)
46  Michael Schär (Swi)
47  Dylan Teuns (Bel)
48  Silvan Dillier (Swi)

51  Michael Albasini (Swi)
52  Sam Bewley (NZl)
53  Jack Haig (Aus)
54  Damien Howson (Aus)
55  Daryl Impey (RSA)
56  Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
57  Alex Edmondson (Aus)
58  Christopher Juul Jensen (Den)

UAE Team Emirates
61  Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por)
62  Matteo Bono (Ita)
63  Louis Meintjes (RSA)
64  Matej Mohoric (Slo)
65  Manuele Mori (Ita)
66  Simone Petilli (Ita)
67  Oliviero Troia (Ita)
68  Diego Ulissi (Ita)

Team Sunweb
71  Warren Barguil (Fra)
72  Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger)
73  Simon Geschke (Ger)
74  Wilco Kelderman (Ned)
75  Michael Matthews (Aus)
76  Lennard Hofstede (Ned)
77  Georg Preidler (Aut)
78  Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor)

81  Rigoberto Urán (Col)
82  Brendan Canty (Aus)
83  Simon Clarke (Aus)
84  Alex Howes (USA)
85  Thomas Scully (NZl)
86  Toms Skujins (Lat)
87  Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned)
88  Michael Woods (Can)

Team LottoNL-Jumbo
91  Robert Gesink (Ned)
92  Enrico Battaglin (Ita)
93  Koen Bouwman (Ned)
94  Floris De Tier (Bel)
95  Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned)
96  Juan José Lobato (Spa)
97  Paul Martens (Ger)
98  Alexey Vermeulen (USA)

Cofidis, Solutions Credits
101  Julien Simon (Fra)
102  Yoann Bagot (Fra)
103  Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra)
104  Jérôme Cousin (Fra)
105  Nicolas Edet (Fra)
106  Luis Angel Maté Mardones (Spa)
107  Anthony Perez (Fra)
108  Stéphane Rossetto (Fra)

Lotto Soudal
111  Tim Wellens (Bel)
112  Sander Armee (Bel)
113  Sean De Bie (Bel)
114  Bart De Clercq (Bel)
115  Thomas De Gendt (Bel)
116  Tomasz Marczynski (Pol)
117  Tosh Van der Sande (Bel)
118  Jelle Vanendert (Bel)

AG2R La Mondiale
121  Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra)
122  Romain Bardet (Fra)
123  Mickael Cherel (Fra)
124  Axel Domont (Fra)
125  Mathias Frank (Swi)
126  Cyril Gautier (Fra)
127  Quentin Jauregui (Fra)
128  Pierre Latour (Fra)

Astana Pro Team
131  Jakob Fuglsang (Den)
132  Pello Bilbao (Spa)
133  Laurens De Vreese (Bel)
134  Andriy Grivko (Ukr)
135  Tanel Kangert (Est)
136  Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz)
137  Nikita Stalnov (Kaz)
138  Michael Valgren Andersen (Den)

Dimension Data
141  Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa)
142  Nathan Haas (Aus)
143  Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
144  Jacobus Venter (RSA)
145  Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri)
146  Ben O'Connor (Aus)
147  Serge Pauwels (Bel)
148  Johann Van Zyl (RSA)

151  Maurits Lammertink (Ned)
152  Jenthe Biermans (Bel)
153  Robert Kiserlovski (Cro)
154  Pavel Kochetkov (Rus)
155  Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus)
156  Marco Mathis (Ger)
157  Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den)
158  Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa)

161  Jarlinson Pantano (Col)
162  Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn)
163  Andre Fernando S Martins Cardoso (Por)
164  Gregory Daniel (USA)
165  Michael Gogl (Aut)
166  Ruben Guerreiro (Por)
167  Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa)
168  Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa)

171  Rafal Majka (Pol)
172  Cesare Benedetti (Ita)
173  Patrick Konrad (Aut)
174  Jay McCarthy (Aus)
175  Gregor Mühlberger (Aut)
176  Christoph Pfingsten (Ger)
177  Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut)
178  Michael Schwarzmann (Ger)

181  Arthur Vichot (Fra)
182  Arnaud Courteille (Fra)
183  Marc Fournier (Fra)
184  David Gaudu (Fra)
185  Rudy Molard (Fra)
186  Cédric Pineau (Fra)
187  Kevin Reza (Fra)
188  Anthony Roux (Fra)

191  Enrico Gasparotto (Ita)
192  Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn)
193  Grega Bole (Slo)
194  Tsgabu Grmay (Eth)
195  Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa)
196  Antonio Nibali (Ita)
197  Giovanni Visconti (Ita)
198  Wang Meiyin (Chn)

Direct Energie
201  Lilian Calmejane (Fra)
202  Fabien Grellier (Fra)
203  Romain Guillemois (Fra)
204  Jonathan Hivert (Fra)
205  Bryan Nauleau (Fra)
206  Paul Ourselin (Fra)
207  Perrig Quemeneur (Fra)
208  Romain Sicard (Fra)

Fortuneo - Vital Concept
211  Arnold Jeannesson (Fra)
212  Franck Bonnamour (Fra)
213  Maxime Bouet (Fra)
214  Brice Feillu (Fra)
215  Armindo Fonseca (Fra)
216  Elie Gesbert (Fra)
217  Romain Hardy (Fra)
218  Eduardo Sepúlveda (Arg)

Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
221  Preben Van Hecke (Bel)
222  Maxime Farazijn (Bel)
223  Eliot Lietaer (Bel)
224  Ruben Pols (Bel)
225  Thomas Sprengers (Bel)
226  Dries Van Gestel (Bel)
227  Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel)
228  Jens Wallays (Bel)

Aqua Blue Sport
231  Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor)
232  Adam Blythe (GBr)
233  Mark Christian (GBr)
234  Conor Dunne (Irl)
235  Aaron Gate (NZl)
236  Lasse Norman Hansen (Den)
237  Daniel Pearson (GBr)
238  Michel Kreder (Ned)

WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
241  Sébastien Delfosse (Bel)
242  Gregory Habeaux (Bel)
243  Justin Jules (Fra)
244  Christophe Masson (Fra)
245  Olivier Pardini (Bel)
246  Dimitri Peyskens (Bel)
247  Maxime Vantomme (Bel)
248  Antoine Warnier (Bel)

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