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HUY, Belgium (VN) — It seemed obvious from the start. The peloton stood relaxed in the warm morning, chatting and laughing. But Alejandro Valverde was down the road, alone, warming up and riding toward the finish.
Four hours and 36 minutes later, Valverde was alone again, this time at the end of the Wall of Huy. His arms were raised this time, a wide smile across his face. He’d won his second La Flèche Wallonne and set a record time up the Mur de Huy, and put his name atop the list of favorites, if it weren’t already there, for Sunday’s monument, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“I was very, very — I wanted to win today. Winning is always very, very important for me. I won this race once. It’s important for me to win another one. I was very very motivated today,” Valverde, 33, said in his victor’s press conference.
His Movistar team, thin at times, did enough to put him in contention and keep the race bridled, with the help of BMC Racing and Katusha.
“I don’t think the team was working badly,” Valverde said. “Every rider worked in his moment, and I think that on Sunday in Liège the team will be strong enough to control.”
While BMC rode brilliantly last weekend at the Amstel Gold Race, delivering Philippe Gilbert to a dazzling win, the team and its star weren’t able to pull off something special today, and the Belgian finished 10th, 15 seconds back of Valverde. Katusha’s Daniel Moreno, last year’s winner, came in 11 seconds down, one place better than Gilbert. Joaquim Rodríguez, who crashed and abandoned in Amstel, finished in 70th place, more than four minutes back of Valverde.
The result sets up a quarrel of Ardennes darlings barreling into Liège. Gilbert has shown he’s on form, and Valverde noted that much, though doesn’t seem at all frightened.
“In Amstel Gold he was very, very strong. And today also. But I was better today. Gilbert wanted to win also, but I had better legs. In Liège, maybe Gilbert will be another strong rider. But there will also be more riders on form. It’s not only [me] the main favorite for the race. There will be me, Gilbert, and others.”
Now, Valverde has won Flèche twice, and he’s looking to make it three Liège wins come Sunday. The long, brutal course suits him well, and he’s shown he’s as explosive this season as he is fit for longer hauls. “I like all the classics here. But Liège-Bastogne-Liège is very special for me. It’s different because the climbs, they are longer than here,” he said.
Asked if a change in training was the reason for his sharp form this year — he’s won Roma Maxima, finished third at Strade Bianche, and won the Vuelta a Andalucía — he said there’s still no secret to going fast.
“It’s always the same. You have to train yourself very hard. You have to be careful. But there’s no mystery about training,” he said.
Perhaps he couldn’t hear them, though, the bit of boos that wafted up the finish line as he won, but they were there as Valverde rode across the line atop the Wall of Huy, arms up.
The cheers were louder, though the low yells certainly served as a tacit reminder of the Spaniard’s past, even in beautiful victory: he was linked to Operación Puerto in a doping scandal that dated back to 2006, and served a two-year ban in 2010, returning to the sport in 2012.
HUY, Belgium (VN) — When the world champion is in the wind all day, pulling for you, and she says to attack now, you’d better do it, then and there.
Thankfully, that’s just what Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) was able to do at Flèche Wallonne Femmes Wednesday. It was a sort of victory that happened in slow motion for Ferrand-Prevon. She had enough of a gap to celebrate, but the sheer exhaustion and steepness of the Mur de Huy’s sharp finish reduced the sprint to something like survival. The pressure was on her heavy, with teammate Marianne Vos sacrificing herself, likely knowing full well that she — Vos — could win Flèche Wallonne for a sixth time.
“It was a great responsibility for me. … I was a bit afraid because I thought I may disappoint her. I was doing the whole race on her wheel and on the last climb she told me to attack. I’m very, very happy to have a world champion working for me,” said the effervescent 22-year-old. “Marainne told me I had to wait to see the finish line … if you attack too early it’s very difficult to maintain. So I did what she told me … it was a very close sprint. I’m very happy to win.”
Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) finished second and Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) was third. American Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) finished fourth. Vos, in spite of her efforts, came in sixth, 13 seconds back.
It was just a day before the race that the team gave Ferrand-Prevot leadership and the win marked the first UCI Women’s Road World Cup victory for a French rider in 10 years. Ferrand-Prevot, the youngest rider in the 2012 Olympic road race (she finished eighth) is also an elite mountain bike racer and hopes to race both disciplines at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The post Ferrand-Prevot rides out from the long shadow of Vos appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- TheUSA Cycling National Development Program (NDP)hit a high note last week as a team of U23 riders displayed aggressive riding and teamwork to earn hard-fought first- and third-place finishes in the general classification at the four-day Arden Challenge in Belgium.
- This Saturday the 26th the Uncorked 100k relay is being run from St. Charles to Augusta. It's a running race, but they're looking for cyclists to ride along the trail to help with logistics.
It’s a really great 62 mile, 4 person relay race from Augusta, MO along the Katy Trail to the Family Arena, and back to Mount Pleasant Winery in Augusta. We are looking for bicyclist volunteers who can ride along the Katy Trail at our different exchange points and be a point person to our medical staff if someone is injured and could pick up any trash they see along the way. We are offering volunteers an Uncorked volunteer shirt, lunch, a bottle of wine from Mount Pleasant Winery, and 10% off this year’s MO’ Cowbell registration.
If you can help and want a free bottle of wine, contact Erica at erica at kolbeco.net
- 1. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT, Rabo-liv, in 3:26:43
- 2. Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD, Boels Dolmans, at :01
- 3. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI, HiTec Products, at :04
- 4. Evelyn STEVENS, Specialized-lululemon, at :07
- 5. Ashleigh MOOLMAN-PASIO, HiTec Products, at :11
- 6. Marianne VOS, Rabo-liv, at :13
- 7. Emma POOLEY, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, at :13
- 8. Linda Melanie VILLUMSEN, Wiggle-Honda, at :21
- 9. Claudia HÄUSLER, Giant-Shimano, at :24
- 10. Eleonora VAN DIJK, Boels Dolmans, at :28
- 11. Emma JOHANSSON, Orica-AIS, at :30
- 12. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN, Rabo-liv, at :31
- 13. Elena BERLATO, Ale Cipollini, at :31
- 14. Joanne HOGAN, Bigla, at :31
- 15. Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA, Rabo-liv, at :35
- 16. Katrin GARFOOT, AUS, at :42
- 17. Megan GUARNIER, Boels Dolmans, at :45
- 18. Jessie DAAMS, Boels Dolmans, at :49
- 19. Elena CECCHINI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at :50
- 20. Lauren HALL, USA, at :57
- 21. Alena AMIALIUSIK, Astana-BePink, at :59
- 22. Shara GILLOW, Orica-AIS, at 1:11
- 23. Karol-Ann CANUEL, Specialized-lululemon, at 1:12
- 24. Liesbet DE VOCHT, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, at 1:48
- 25. Lucie PADER, Vienne Futuroscope, at 2:27
- 26. Ane SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ, Ale Cipollini, at 2:29
- 27. Leah KIRCHMANN, Cannondale, at 2:32
- 28. Rossella RATTO, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 2:40
- 29. Malgorzta JASINSKA, Ale Cipollini, at 3:29
- 30. Alexandra BURCHENKOVA, RusVelo, at 3:31
- 31. Audrey CORDON, HiTec Products, at 3:37
- 32. Susanna ZORZI, Astana-BePink, at 3:46
- 33. Valentina CARRETTA, Ale Cipollini, at 3:55
- 34. Trixi WORRACK, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:16
- 35. Maaike POLSPOEL, Giant-Shimano, at 4:16
- 36. Lucinda BRAND, Rabo-liv, at 7:10
- 37. Elke GEBHARDT, Bigla, at 9:19
- 38. Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN, Rabo-liv, at 9:21
- 39. Sari SAARELAINEN, Servetto Footon, at 9:24
- 40. Lauren KOMANSKI, USA, at 9:25
- 41. Pauliena ROOIJAKKERS, Parkhotel Valkenburg, at 9:30
- 42. Dani KING, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:30
- 43. Amy PIETERS, Giant-Shimano, at 9:32
- 44. Francesca CAUZ, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, at 9:32
- 45. Edwige PITEL, FRA, at 9:35
- 46. Mayuko HAGIWARA, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:35
- 47. Mascha PIJNENBORG, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 9:37
- 48. Anouska KOSTER, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 9:37
- 49. Amy CURE, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, at 9:37
- 50. Christine MAJERUS, Boels Dolmans, at 9:37
- 51. Dalia MUCCIOLI, Astana-BePink, at 9:39
- 52. Vera KOEDOODER, Bigla, at 9:45
- 53. Laura TROTT, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:45
- 54. Anna RAMIREZ BAUXEL, Bizkaia-Durango, at 9:47
- 55. Floortje MACKAIJ, Giant-Shimano, at 9:48
- 56. Stephanie ROORDA, Cannondale, at 9:51
- 57. Tiffany CROMWELL, Specialized-lululemon, at 9:51
- 58. Ally STACHER, Specialized-lululemon, at 9:51
- 59. Irene SAN SEBASTIAN LASA, Bizkaia-Durango, at 9:51
- 60. Marion SICOT, FRA, at 9:54
- 61. Aizhan ZHAPAROVA, RusVelo, at 9:54
- 62. Cecilie Gotaas JOHNSEN, HiTec Products, at 9:56
- 63. Anna SANCHIS CHAFER, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:56
- 64. Sheyla GUTIERREZ RUIZ, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 9:59
- 65. Fanny BOURDON, FRA, at 9:59
- 66. Gabrielle PILOTE-FORTIN, Vienne Futuroscope, at 9:59
- 67. Sofie DE VUYST, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 9:59
- 68. Tatiana ANTOSHINA, RusVelo, at 10:05
- 69. Annelies VAN DOORSLAER, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 10:05
- 70. Doris SCHWEIZER, Astana-BePink, at 10:05
- 71. Rozanne SLIK, Parkhotel Valkenburg, at 10:08
- 72. Chiara PIEROBON, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, at 10:08
- 73. Latoya BRULEE, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 10:10
- 74. Melodie LESUEUR, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 10:11
- 75. Taryn HEATHER, Bigla, at 10:11
- 76. Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA, Boels Dolmans, at 10:25
- 77. Julie LETH, HiTec Products, at 10:27
- 78. Valentina SCANDOLARA, Orica-AIS, at 10:27
- 79. Loes GUNNEWIJK, Orica-AIS, at 10:27
- 80. Carlee TAYLOR, Orica-AIS, at 10:37
- 81. Tayler WILES, Specialized-lululemon, at 10:54
- 82. Aude BIANNIC, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 10:59
- 83. Eugénie DUVAL, FRA, at 11:35
- DNF Lauren KITCHEN, HiTec Products
- DNF Annette EDMONDSON, Orica-AIS
- DNF Alice Maria ARZUFFI, Astana-BePink
- DNF Silvia VALSECCHI, Astana-BePink
- DNF Marijn DE VRIES, Giant-Shimano
- DNF Kyara STIJNS, Giant-Shimano
- DNF Tatiana GUDERZO, Ale Cipollini
- DNF Jolien D’HOORE, Lotto-Belisol Ladies
- DNF Anisha VEKEMANS, Lotto-Belisol Ladies
- DNF Lieselot DECROIX, Lotto-Belisol Ladies
- DNF Joanna ROWSELL, Wiggle-Honda
- DNF Fabiana LUPERINI, Estado de Mexico Faren
- DNF Lucy MARTIN, Estado de Mexico Faren
- DNF Dulce PLIEGO, Estado de Mexico Faren
- DNF Anna TREVISI, Estado de Mexico Faren
- DNF Elena KUCHINSKAYA, RusVelo
- DNF Yulia BLINDYUK, RusVelo
- DNF Sarah ROY, Vienne Futuroscope
- DNF Oriane CHAUMET, Vienne Futuroscope
- DNF Amélie RIVAT, Vienne Futuroscope
- DNF Manon SOUYRIS, Vienne Futuroscope
- DNF Jennifer FIORI, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
- DNF Asja PALADIN, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
- DNF Silvia CECCHINI, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
- DNF Soraya PALADIN, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
- DNF Annelies DOM, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata
- DNF Kathryn DONOVAN, USA
- DNF Maura KINSELLA, USA
- DNF Ruth WINDER, USA
- DNF Emilie AUBRY, Bigla
- DNF Desiree EHRLER, Bigla
- DNF Emily ROPER, AUS
- DNF Rebecca WIASAK, AUS
- DNF Felicity WARDLAW, AUS
- DNF Mélanie BRAVARD, LKT Team Brandenburg
- DNF Lucia GONZALEZ BLANCO, LKT Team Brandenburg
- DNF Aida NUNO PALACIO, LKT Team Brandenburg
- DNF Simona BORTOLOTTI, Servetto Footon
- DNF Annalisa CUCINOTTA, Servetto Footon
- DNF Marina LIKHANOVA, Servetto Footon
- DNF Anna POTOKINA, Servetto Footon
- DNF Maria Adele TUIA, Servetto Footon
- DNF Manon BOURDIAUX, FRA
- DNF Alna BURATO, FRA
- DNF Dorleta ESKAMENDI GIL, Bizkaia-Durango
- DNF Yulia ILINYKH, Bizkaia-Durango
- DNF Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE, Bizkaia-Durango
- DNF Lourdes OYARBIDE JIMENEZ, Bizkaia-Durango
- DNF Catherine DESSUREAULT, Cannondale
- DNF Annie EWART, Cannondale
- DNF Annie FOREMAN-MACKEY, Cannondale
- DNF Kim DE BAAT, Parkhotel Valkenburg
- DNF Riejanne MARKUS, Parkhotel Valkenburg
- DNF Kirsten PEETOOM, Parkhotel Valkenburg
- DNF Marissa OTTEN, Parkhotel Valkenburg
- DNS Chloe MCCONVILLE, AUS
HUY, Belgium (AFP) — Spaniard Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection on the grueling Mur de Huy to win La Flèche Wallonne for the second time on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Movistar team leader, who also won this race in 2006, passed Ireland’s Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) of Poland in the final 200 meters of the 199.5-kilometer ride to claim his fourth victory in an Ardennes classic.
Martin finished three seconds down, with Kwiatkowski another second back.
“More than revenge I simply wanted to win and I tried to win,” said Valverde. “On Sunday at Amstel I was happy (with fourth) because Gilbert was simply much stronger. But today I had good legs, I went for the win and I got it. I’m delighted for me, for my team, for my teammates, because everyone worked hard together.”
Last year’s winner Daniel Moreno (Katusha) could finish only ninth; Amstel Gold Race winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) was 10th.
Valverde had been pushed off the podium at Sunday’s Amstel race as Belgian Gilbert burst clear to win by five seconds over Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).
But this time, Gilbert failed to get himself into one of the leading positions at the foot of the final climb, the imposing Mur de Huy.
Frenchman Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) attacked at the foot of the climb, which averages almost 10 percent and has a steepest section of 26 percent.
But Bardet could not make it stick and soon a host of other riders had come to the front.
Kwiatkowski seemed to have edged ahead but Martin, last year’s winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, came storming past with a brutal acceleration.
Yet he too slowed down as Valverde, also a two-time winner in Liege, made his move, which proved the winning effort.
“They say you have to learn how to race it, this last climb,” said Martin. “Every year I get a little bit better. … This year it was just flat out the whole way up. Alejandro was the strongest today. With 100 meters to go I definitely thought I had it, but he blew past.”
Kwiatkowski said he was satisfied with a podium in the midweek classic, which he said doesn’t suit him as well as the other two races of Ardennes week.
“I think I little bit surprised myself, you know? Flèche is the race that doesn’t really suit me,” said Kwiatkowski. “I think Amstel and Liège suit me well. I could recover well from Amstel. … I’m really happy with what I did today.”
Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Belkin) earned his best ever finish in a classics race with fourth, and compatriot Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin) was fifth.
Moreno’s Katusha team had looked to be controlling the peloton coming up to the final climb but suffered a crucial blow when 2012 champion Joaquim Rodríguez was brought down 3km from home by a crash involving Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida).
That seemed to affect several riders’ ability to position themselves at the front of the peloton for the crucial final 1.3km up the Mur.
The day had begun with a three-man breakaway involving Australian Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Belgian Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) of Lithuania.
Clarke was dropped around 50km from home and the other two battled on until they were reeled in with just over 10km left, having spent around 170km in the lead.
At that point the racing was furious with BMC, Movistar, and Katusha sharing pace-making duties to ensure their leaders were in pole position once the Mur de Huy came into view.
But Gilbert’s hopes of matching the Ardennes treble he achieved in 2011 went up in smoke as he was caught well back down the field when the climb up the Mur began.
The post Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne after late move on Mur de Huy appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- 3 Stages 2 Days 1 Race
Online Registration ONLY! (No on-site registration)
Race Flyer: GrandPrixFlyer (http://www.usacycling.org/events/getflyer.php?permit=2014-1678)
Race Bible: 2013 Race Bible
Time Trial (No aero equipment no TT bikes, aero bars, TT helmets or disc wheels; Aero wheels welcome.):
Date: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: 8am 10am
Location: Wells Overlook Park
Distance: 0.86 mile climb
Date: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: 11am 7pm
Location: Clinton Lake State Park
Distance: 1.2 mile loop
Date: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Time: 9am 4pm
Location: Thompsonville Park @ Perry Lake
Distance: 29 mile loop (1 or 2 loops, depending on category; Jrs 10-12 7 miles out & back)
USA Cycling Road Development Race Series (RDRS)
Come enjoy some stage racing in beautiful Lawrence, KS (less than 5 hours away). Not many opportunities to do actual timed stage races like this. Rob White will be announcing the crit. Look forward to seeing many of the STL teams. Lets make this into one of the biggest race weekends in the region.