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 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 .
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)