La Fleche Wallonne takes place on Wednesday (April 17), the second of three hilly Ardennes Classics that kicked off with the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday and conclude with Liege-Bastogne-Liege this coming Sunday (April 21).

Twelve climbs punctuate the second section of the 205-kilometre race route from Binche to the final ascent of the Mur de Huy – the iconic climb that usually splinters what remains of any lead group. It’s a route that favours both climbers and attackers.

Last year, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) launched a stinging attack on the final ascent of the Mur de Huy to leave his rivals trailing and take the victory. However, an untimely crash in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday has left the Spaniard in less than great shape to defend his title.

Aside from Rodriguez, the start list boasts the usual selection of classics hardmen and Grand Tour riders looking to sharpen their form. Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) won the race in 2011 when he took a clean sweep of all three Ardennes Classics. This year he returns and faces Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who has been on form all season but surprisingly faded in the warm weather during Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.

Also lining up are Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte (Sky), Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Three British riders appear on the provisional start list: Josh Edmondson, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (both Sky) and Steve Cummings (BMC Racing).

La Fleche Wallonne Feminine

The women’s version of the race, La Fleche Wallonne Feminine, takes place before the men’s race and is part of the UCI World Cup. The race covers 131.5km, taking place on two punishing loops around Huy with 12 climbs in total, culminating in an ascent of the Mur de Huy

Last year, American Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) took the victory. Brit Emma Pooley won the race in 2010, and the now retired Nicole Cooke won it on three occasions.

With Stevens absent due to injury, the runaway favourite for the women’s event this year is Marianne Vos (Rabobank) – second last year but a winner on four previous occasions. Can anyone stop her?

Fleche Wallonne 2013: Route

Belgium

Wednesday, April 17

Distance: 205km

Starts: Binche

Finishes: Huy

Fleche Wallonne 2013: Climbs

Start: 0km, Binche

76.5km, Côte de Naninne (2.6km at 3.7%)

90km, Côte de Groynne (2.0km at 3.5%)

108.5km, Mur de Huy (1.3km at 9.3%)

127.5km, Côte d’Ereffe (2.1km at 5.9%)

146km, Côte de Peu d’Eau (2.7km at 3.9%)

151km, Côte de Bellaire (1.0km at 6.8%)

158.5km, Côte de Bohisseau (1.3km at 7.6%)

161.5km, Côte de Bousalle (1.7km at 4.9%)

173.5km, Mur de Huy (1.3km at 9.3%)

190km, Côte d’Amay (1.5km at 6.7%)

196.5km, Côte de Villers-le-Bouillet (1.2km at 7.5%)

Finish: 205km, Mur de Huy (1.3km at 9.3%)

Fleche Wallonne 2013: Teams

Accent.Jobs-Wanty

Ag2r-La Mondiale

Argos-Shimano

Astana

Blanco

BMC Racing Team

Cannondale

Colombia

Crelan-Euphony

Euskaltel-Euskadi

FDJ

Garmin-Sharp

IAM Cycling

Katusha

Lampre-Merida

Lotto-Belisol

Movistar

Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Orica-GreenEdge

RadioShack-Leopard

Saxo-Tinkoff

Sky

Sojasun

Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise

Vacansoleil-DCM

Fleche Wallonne 2013: TV guide

La Fleche Wallonne will be show live by digital and satellite channel British Eurosport

Wednesday April 17, 14:00-16:1, Fleche Wallonne LIVE, British Eurosport

Wednesday April 17, 18:15-19:45, Fleche Wallonne highlights, British Eurosport





Joaquim Rodriguez wins in 2012

Fleche Wallonne: Recent winners

2012 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha

2011 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto

2010 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing


2009 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Serramenti-PVC Diquigiovanni 


2008 Kim Kirchen (Lux) High Road


2007 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner


2006 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne


2005 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas


2004 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner


2003 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco


2002 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco


Fleche Wallonne: Last year’s top ten (2012)

1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 4-45-41

2. Michael Albasini (Sui) Green Edge at 4 secs

3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC

4. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto-Belisol all at st.

5. Roman Kyserlovski (Cro) Astana at 7 secs

6. Dan Martin (Ire) Garmin-Barrcauda at 9 secs

7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank

8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD all at st.

10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 11 secs

Related links



UCI WorldTour calendar 2013



Spring Classics 2013 coverage index

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