A year after Joaquim Rodriguez's victory at the Fleche Wallonne, his Katusha team mate Daniel Moreno gave the Russian side yet another success on the Belgian classic. Like on the previous editions, the race was decided in the final climb up the Mur de Huy. After a first attack from Carlos Betancur, Daniel Moreno managed to power away from the pack, catch up the Colombian and fly to the biggest victory of his career. This 2013 edition will enter the history books with two Colombians finishing on the podium: Henao in second spot and Betancur, third.
Three in early break
After taking off from the city of Binche for the very first time in the race's history, the 196 riders of the 77th edition of the Fleche Wallonne officially took off on the 205km course just after noon under a bright sunshine in perfect weather conditions. After twenty kilometres of riding, two riders managed to breakaway from the pack: Gilles Devillers (CRE) and Pirmin Lang (IAM). Fifteen kilometres later the front two were caught up by a third man, Jurgen Van Goolen (AJW). Their advantage reached a maximum 9'30 at km 53 when team Sky and BMC Racing decided to really take on the chase, helped out by Blanco and Saxo-Tinkoff.
Vanendert bites the dust
Just before the climb up the Cote de Groynne, a crash occurred in the pack sending one of the race favourites Jelle Vanendert (LTB) to the ground. Nothing too serious however for the Belgian while the leaders could still enjoy an 8'40 advantage at the top of the hill. The gap dropped down gradually all the way to the Cote de Bellaire (km 151) where the front men could only enjoy 40” on a small group of ten counter-attackers and 50” over the pack.
Van Goolen last to survive
Eventually, Van Goolen was the last to remain clear of the pack going up the Cote de Bohisseau. After a 138 km breakaway, he was finally caught while Romain Bardet (ALM) and Laurens Ten Dam (BLA) took off. On the second climb up the Mur de Huy, Bardet failed to keep up with the pace of Ten Dam. The Dutchman caught up by Simon Geschke just before the top, continued his effort at the front of the race. The leading two could still enjoy a 15” lead with 20 kilometres to go.
Just before the top of the penultimate climb, the Cote de Villers-le-Bouillet, the leading riders were caught by the hungry pack. The peloton remained bunched at a very fast pace, preventing any rider from giving it a go. With just over 600m to go on the frightening Mur de Huy, Carlos Betancur (ALM) managed to power away. A very impressive and explosive move that allowed the Colombian to enjoy a decent gap. Behind, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) made his move taking with him Sagan (CAN) and Moreno (KAT).
Moreno in style
While Betancur fought his way to the line, he was finally caught and dropped by Moreno with under 100m to go. Daniel Moreno eventually crossed the line clear from any rival. A few seconds later, Sergio Henao (SKY) had to settle for second spot just ahead of his compatriot Betancur. A year after Rodriguez, another Katusha rider claims the Fleche Wallonne joined on the podium by two Colombians for the first time in the race's history. Moreno adds this Fleche Wallonne to the two stage successes he captured on last year's Dauphiné.