HOW OUR FLECHE WALLONNE FAVOURITES FARED
So, how did our Flèche Wallonne men get on? In our race preview we picked the top ten favourites. Are we basking in a smug glow, or wiping eggy mess off our faces? Six of our men made the top ten – our best result of the spring so far.
1 Alejandro Valverde
Finished – 21st
Not vintage Valverde, but it all seems an awful lot harder for him these days.
2 Damiano Cunego
Finished – 3rd
Was in the mix right up to the last minute but he didn’t have enough. Still the overwhelming favourite for Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
3 Robert Gesink
Finished – 4th
“If he positions himself better at the bottom of the climb than he did last year, he can make the podium,” we said. Nearly, but not quite.
4 Kim Kirchen
Finished – 1st
We weren’t discouraged by the fact he came up short at Amstel Gold. “He has at least one good ride in him this week,” we said. That was a heck of a good ride.
5 Frank Schleck
Finished – 78th
Er, nothing to see here. Let’s be moving swiftly along shall we? One Frank will want to forget, but perhaps he was saving himself for Sunday.
6 Joaquin Rodriguez
Finished – 8th
Caisse d’Epargne did a lot of work on the run up to the Mur de Huy. Clearly Rodriguez was the team leader, judging by the way he came to the front and tried to burst away from the pack.
7 Davide Rebellin
Finished – 6th
Brilliantly positioned until the last couple of hundred metres, when his legs gave up.
8 Thomas Dekker
Finished – 5th
Not as good as Robert Gesink. Is he another man more comfortable holding the bridesmaid’s posy than donning the actual wedding dress? (If you know what we mean, and we don’t mean he’s a secret cross-dresser). Basically he’s Michael Boogerd without the big smile.
9 Fabian Wegmann
Finished – 30th
Poor guy gave it everything and had the courage to get out there on the attack despite the fact he looked a right berk in his dirtied all-white German champion’s kit. To be honest, we thought he’d sit in and do his usual conservative ride and get a 10th to 15th placed-finish. We weren’t banking on him actually attacking and hitting the wall.
10 Rinaldo Nocentini
Finished – 56th
Totally overshadowed by his team-mate John Gadret. That’ll teach us for trying to be clever.
THE DARK HORSES
Cadel Evans clearly wasn’t saving it all for Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He wanted to win this. Second place – excellent practice for the Tour de France. Maxime Montfort had a dig on one of the final climbs and John Gadret was tenth, but we’ll quietly forget we ever mentioned Freire, Schumacher, Popovych, Barredo and Ricco, if it’s all the same for you.
Look out for our Liège-Bastogne-Liège preview tomorrow
Report: Kim Kirchen wins Flèche Wallonne