This year’s edition will be 202 kilometers in length and pack a total of ten climbs.

Julian Alaphilippe returns to Flèche Wallonne, where he triumphed in the past two seasons, becoming one of the few riders in history to rack up back-to-back wins. The 28-year-old, who once again animated the Tour de France, taking a stage victory and wearing the yellow jersey for three days, will lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the prestigious Belgian Classic, which has made new tweaks for this 84th edition, set to start from the small town of Herve for the first time in history.

Côte de Ereffe will still feature three times, but Côte de Cherave has been replaced with Côte du Chemin des Gueuses, a 1.8km hill averaging 6.5% which is set to be topped just eight kilometers from the bottom of the day’s last and main difficulty. Together with the iconic Mur de Huy (1300 meters, 9.6%), which will once again be tackled on three occasions, the last time after 200 kilometers, these climbs will make the race more difficult and could very well alter its dynamic, especially if some riders decide to throw caution to wind before the final ascents.

Julian Alaphilippe will be joined at the start of Flèche Wallonne by Andrea Bagioli, countryman Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Ian Garrison, Bob Jungels, and Mauri Vansevenant – a solid squad that Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels is confident can feature in the business end of the race: “Flèche comes after a really busy month, with the Tour de France and the World Championships, and awaits with one of the hardest finishes of the whole season, so the legs will be important on Wednesday. On the other hand, we have a strong team and we hope to come out of the race with a good result.”


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

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