The 87th edition of the Belgian one-day race marks our penultimate outing of the season in a Spring Classic.
Flèche Wallonne is not a race of many secrets, the only thing it requires being a deep knowledge of the Mur de Huy, the climb it has become synonymous with in the last four decades. Averaging an excruciating 9.3% over just 1300 meters, Le Chemin des Chapelles, as it’s also known, will once again feature three times on this year’s route, which gets underway from Herve and takes in a total of eleven ascents.
The last three of these are stacked in the final 17 kilometers, which will culminate with the iconic Mur de Huy, the climb that Julian Alaphilippe tamed on three occasions. The Frenchman won’t be at the start this time, but this doesn’t mean Soudal Quick-Step won’t have options for the 18th stop on the World Tour calendar.
Andrea Bagioli, who racked up top 10 placings last week at both Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race, the experienced Dries Devenyns – who will make his 26th appearance in an Ardennes Classic – James Knox, Mauro Schmid, Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder and Louis Vervaeke will be our seven men at the start of Wednesday’s race.
“We can be confident going into Flèche Wallonne. Andrea put in some solid displays last week, Mauro and James are also in good form, while the likes of Pieter, Ilan and Louis come after a solid block of training. On top of that, we also have Dries, who knows these roads and can guide the team. Many squads will try to control the race and bring their riders in a good position at the bottom of the Mur de Huy, where everything will be decided, but we believe in our chances and hope to do a good race”, explained Soudal Quick-Step sports director Geert Van Bondt.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel