Team Sunweb do it again as Marc Hirschi wins Flèche Wallonne
Swiss ace Marc Hirschi followed up on his stage win at this year's Tour de France by seeing off rivals on the steep Mur de Huy slopes to win the Fleche Wallonne cycling classic
The 22-year-old Sunweb rider was one of a new generation of cyclists who lit up the 2020 Tour and this one-day classic victory confirms his arrival in the sport's elite after he placed third in the world championships at the weekend.
Buoyed by brilliant performances and wins across the team since the season restart, a fantastic ride from the team at Fleche Wallonne today saw Marc Hirschi able to deliver a ferociously punchy ride up the steep slopes of the Mur de Huy to add another win to the team's tally of 2020 victories.
Starting the day to set up Hirschi for the finish and be present in any dangerous attacks, the team rode perfectly throughout the race. Taking control of the peloton in the early stages they were instrumental in bringing the breakaway back before positioning Hirschi at the front of the bunch. On the stinging gradients of the Mur de Huy, Hirschi showed a level head by waiting for the perfect moment in the final 100 metres to launch his sprint and take a phenomenal win for the team; the 13th victory for Team Sunweb's Men's Program in 2020.
Frenchman Benoit Cosnefroy was second and former hockey player Canada's Michael Woods was third.
Originally scheduled for mid-April, this long 202km run through the tolling and damp Ardennes countryside is a major date on the one-day calendar.
Rescheduled after the pandemic it is the precursor to Belgium's biggest race, the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday.
Hirschi said his win came as a surprise as he had been feeling off colour.
"I didn't feel that good today but I just said let's just do the best you can," said the bearded youngster.
"It's steep, you can't go too early, it needs mental strength," he explained of the narrow road on the Mur de Huey climb.
"It was perfect for us there were just four of us up front at the end and it was just a question of the legs on the last climb," said Hirschi, who is managed by Swiss cycling legend Fabian Cancellara.
Fresh from her exploits claiming both world road race titles at the weekend, Dutch cyclist Anna van der Breggen raised her arms in victory at the women's 124km La Fleche Wallonne earlier Wednesday.
VIDEO: 2020 Flèche Wallonne Highlights
2020 Flèche Wallonne Top 10
1 Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb 4:49:17
2 Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
3 Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling
4 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation
6 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:05
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
9 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
10 Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team 0:00:10