Key moments

Stage summary23.04.2014Valverde triumphs again, eight years after

Already a winner in 2006, Alejandro Valverde triumphed again at the top of the Mur de Huy. The Spaniard claims a second Fleche Wallonne beating Daniel Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski to the line. Since his last triumph, he had entered the Top 10 of the event on three occasions. Valverde made the best of his climbing abilities and the hard work of his Movistar squad throughout the day. A team that first did the necessary to catch the three escapees of the day, before helping their leader...

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interview23.04.2014Alejandro Valverde: «Not a revenge»

Is this victory a revenge after the Amstel Gold Race?
“It isn't a revenge. I just wanted to win this race. I was already feeling good at the Amstel Gold Race when I finished fourth. To win is always difficult whether it's two times or not.
At the Amstel it was tough to beat Gilbert. He was motivated here too but so was I.

How do you compare your shape with 2006 when you won the Fleche a first time?
I have had great legs for the...

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Newsflashes (Local time)

15:39Top 5

1- Valverde (MOV)

2- Martin (GRS)

3- Kwiatkowski (OPQ)

4- Mollema (BEL)

5- SLagter (GRS)    

15:38Second success for Valverde

After winning in 2006, Alejandro Valverde triumphs again at the top of the Mur de Huy.

15:37Alejandro Valverde wins the Fleche Wallonne

Victory goes to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) beating Daniel Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski.

15:35Kwiatkowski, Valverde and Vanendert well placed

Kwiatkowski, Valverde and Vanendert lead the pack with 500m to go.

15:34Bardet attacks at beginning of climb

Romain Bardet (AGR) takes off in the first moments of the climb of the Mur. A vain effort, he's been caught.

15:33Bunched pack before final climb

The bunched pack is going through Huy and heading to final climb up the Mur. 1.5kms to go.

15:32Over for Roy

With 3kms to go, Jeremy Roy (FDJ) has been caught. Meanwhile a crash occurred in the pack involving Cunego. A crash only just avoided by F. Schleck and Rui Costa.

15:28Roy in the lead

Another French attempt in the lead. This time Jeremy Roy (FDJ.fr) takes off. He leads with a 50m lead over the pack. 5kms to go.

15:23Bardet and Wellens in lead

Romain Bardet and Tim Wellens give it a go at the front and reach top of the Cote d'Ereffe clear from the pack. But both are caught back on the descent. Pack is bunched again led by Kolobnev. Under 10kms to go.

15:20All over for front men

Ramunas Navardauskas and Preben Van Hecke have just been caugh by the pack after a 167-km breakaway effort. Pack bunched with 12kms to go.

15:19Navardauskas struggling

On the penultimate climb of the day, the Côte d'Ereffe (2.2kms at 5.9%), Ramunas Navardauskas seems to be struggling. He was dropped for a few moments and is now back with Van Hecke. Gap is now 15".

15:16Rodriguez at back of the pack

Flache Wallonne winner in 2012 Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT) is currently in the last position of the pack and completely isolated. His team mates are focused on chasing and working hard for Daniel Moreno.

15:1160 riders left in the pack

With under 20kms to go, around 60 riders remain in the main pack. Katusha lead the chase with five men at the front.

15:10Still 30" with 20kms to go

Ramunas Navardauskas and Preben Van Hecke are managing quite a performance. Despite the increasing pressure of the top teams at the front of the pack, the escapees still have a 30" lead with 20kms to go.

15:08Gautier caught

After taking off on a counter-attack at the top of the Mur de Huy. Frenchman Cyril Gautier has just been caught back. Still two in lead and 21kms to go.

15:05Gautier leads the pack

Behind Van Hecke and Navardauskas, still in the lead with a 30" advantage, Cyril Gautier (EUC) leads the pack at the top of the Mur de Huy. Also well placed are Caruso and Kolobnev (both Katusha)

15:04Favourites in front positions

While Jesus Herrada still leads the pack at a very impressive pace, alongside Gautier, the main favouritrs have moved to the front of the pack: Van Den Broeck, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski, Faria and Moreno...

14:5925kms to go

While the front two have entered Huy and are about to take on the climb of the Mur for the second time, the pack carries on moving closer. The gap is now 1'35 with 25kms to go.

14:55Mathias Frank suffers a puncture

Tough times for Mathias Frank (IAM). The Swiss rider, second of the last Criterium International has just suffered a puncture at a very bad moment. He was helped out by team mate and is fighting his way back to the pack.

14:52Rolland and Bakelants give it a go.

With 31kms to go, Pierre Rolland (EUC) and Jan Bakelants (OPQS) have tried to take off on a counter-attack. But they were immediately chased and caught by the pack.

14:50Herrada chasing hard

Spanish champion Jesus Herrada (Movistar) has taken command of the chase at the front of the pack. The gap has dropped down to 2" with just over 30kms to go.

14:46Clarke back in pack

After failing to follow the pace of his breakaway companions, Jonathan Clarke has just been caught by the pack after a 140-km effort.

14:41Now two in the lead

Only two riders remain in the lead with under 40kms to go: Navardauskas (GRS) and Van Hecke (TSV). Clarke has indeed been dropped.

14:36Van Hecke virtual winner of Hills Prize

Again first at the top of the Côte de Bousalle (1.7kms at 4.9%), Preben Van Hecke has captured enough points to win the Hills Prize. He however still has to finsh the race.

14:33Pack at top of Côte de Bohisseau

After Van Hecke made it first, again, at the top of the Côte de Bohisseau, the gap over the pack drops down to 3'25.

14:32Pauline Ferrand-Prevot win Ladies' Fleche Wallonne

In the ladies' Fleche Wallonne, victory goes to Pauline Ferrand-Prevot who wins this edition ahead of Lizzy Armitstead and Elisa Longo Borghini. The last time a French rider won was back in 2004 when Sonia Huguet.

14:18One more climb for Van Hecke

Again, Preben Van Hecke has made it first to the top of the Côte de Bellaire (1km at 6.8%). Meanwhile the pack appears to have seriously started chasing. Gap has dropped down to 5' with just over 50kms to go.

14:08Jeannesson quits after crash

After suffering a first crash early in the race, Arnold Jeannesson was forced to quit after biting the dust a second time. “Nothing too serious”, according to FDJ.fr directeur sportif, Frank Pineau. The Frenchman appears to have injured his shoulder. “We'll now be counting on riders like Vaugrenard and Roy”, explained Pineau to letour.fr.

14:0243.1 km/h after three hours

The front three men (Navardauskas, Van Hecke, Clarke) have covered 38.9kms during the third hour of racing. The average speed after three hours is now 43.1km/h.

13:56Movistar and Lotto join the chase

After Katusha and BMC, riders from teams Movistar (of Valverde) and Lotto-Bellisol (of Vanendert) have moved to the front of the pack and are chasing. Gap is now 6'10 at km 124.5.

13:54Van Hecke, King of the climbs

Like on the three previous climbs, Preben Van Hecke has reached the top of the Côte d'Ereffe (2.2kms at 5.9%) in first position. He still neads to make it first at the top of the two next ascents to win the hill prize.

13:39Pack at top of Mur

The pack led by Warbasse (BMC) has reached the top of the Mur de Huy (first time up) with a 5'50 deficit on the front riders.

13:33Philippe Gilbert (BMC): ??Same top 10, only positions will change?

Speaking to Belgian daily La DH, Philippe Gilbert has his opinion on the favourites for the Ardennes Classics. “The first ten of the Amstel Gold Race will also be the first ten of the Fleche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Only the positions will change.”

 

13:31Van Hecke at top of the Mur

The front three riders have just reached the top of the first of three climbs up the Mur de Huy. Preben Van Hecke again makes it first at top.

13:27Crash for Jeannesson

Frenchman Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ.fr) has just suffered a crash at km 106. A pretty serious one indeed. He's currently being treated by the medical staff.

13:15Van Hecke first at top of 2nd climb

Like on the first climb, Preben Van Hecke makes it first at the top of the Côte d'Ahin (2.1kms at 5.9%). Meanwhile, the pack is 6'55 adrift.

13:0145.250km/h after two hours

The front riders have covered 41.1kms during the second hour of racing. After two hours the average speed drops down to 45.250km/h (first hour: 49.4km/h)

12:56Pack at top of climb

The gap has dropped down to 6'40 as the pack led by Katusha and BMC reaches the top of the first climb (km 84). Still Navardauskas, Van Hecke and Clarke in the front group.

12:51First climb of the day

The front three riders have taken on the climb up the Côte de Bellaire (1km at 6.8%), first difficulty of the day. First man at top was Preben Van Hecke (TSV).

12:48Philippe Mauduit (TCS): ??Not a race for Kreuziger?

Letour.fr spoke to Tinkoff-Saxo directeur sportif on the Fleche Wallonne, Philippe Mauduit who reflects about his leader Roman Kreuziger and ythe different options he has in his squad. “Roman Kreuziger has planned to be at his peak for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, so he's feeling rather good. The Fleche Wallonne isn't quite a race for him. The final climb requires explosiveness, it suits little riders. He'll still be aiming at a Top10. Our other option could be Chris Anker Sorensen if a...

12:38BMC join the chase

Alongside the Katusha riders, men from BMC Racing have joined the chase at the front of the pack. Tha gap has dropped down to 7'30.

12:31Gap stabilizes

The pack seems to be controlling the situation. At km 65, the gap has stabilized. Now: 7'40.

12:22Chase is on!

Led by the riders from team Katusha, the pack is now really chasing. After enjoying a maximum 8'45 lead, the front three men (Navardauskas, Van Hecke, Clarke) now have a 7'50 lead.

12:17Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT): ??Afraid of Mur de Huy?

Winner of the Flèche Wallonne back in 2012, Joaquim Rodriguez looked to be back in contention for another triumph at the top of the Mur de Huy. The crash that forced him to quit the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday has however changed his plans. On the official Katusha website, the Catalan talks about his foinal preparation before the Belgian Classic. “I spent a good and long night and our osteopath treated me very well, that's why I decided to do this test. The first 30 minutes were very...

12:07Gap close to 9'

The gap carries on growing for the front three riders. It has now reached 8'40 at km 53. Now riding at the front of the pack are the men from Team Katusha.

12:00Crazy pace so far!

The front three men have covered the impressive distance of 49.4kms during the first hour of racing.

11:53Chase not on yet

The pack is taking it fairly easy for the moment. Good news for the three escapees (Navardauskas, Van Hecke and Clarke). The gap has indeed reached 6'30.

11:51Navardauskas first man to attack

Ramunas Navardauskas was the first man to attack at km 20 taking with him Van Hecke and Clarke. The Lithuanian from Garmin-Sharp is currently riding his first ever Fleche Wallonne. He however knows the area rather well having won Liège-Bastogne-Liège U-23 in 2010. He's currently in a fairly good shape having claimed the Circuit de la Sarthe a few weeks ago.

11:38Gap grows

While most of the riders of the pack stopped for natural reasons, the gap has obviously increased considerably. The front three can now enjoy a 2'20 at km 29.

11:31Van Hecke, like at Amstel

Among the escapee group is Preben Van Hecke. The Topsport Vlaanderen leader was already in the long breakaway at the Amstel Gold Race. He was actually the last to survive with Christophe Riblon, caught with 9kms to go. Lastest gap is 1'10

11:25Three men in lead

Three riders have managed to break away from the pack at km 20: Navardauskas (GRS), Van Hecke (TSV) and Clarke (UHC). They have a 20" lead over the pack. 

11:17Moreno among riders in first crash

Among the riders caught in the early crash of the day was title holder Daniel Moreno. He's now back in the pack but that's certainly a bad start to his Fleche. Pack is bunched at km 14. 

11:12Jelle Vanendert (LTB): ??I almost can??t ride?

Second of the Amstel Gold Race, Jelle Vanendert looked to be among the clear favourites for this Flèche Wallonne. His crash however in the Netherlands has seriously troubled his ambitions, as he explained in Belgian daily La Meuse: “I still feel big pain in my knee and I almost can't ride. I'll be at the start but don't quite know what to expect. I'm certainly not at my best for the Flèche Wallonne”.

11:09Crash in the pack

At km 5.5, several riders suffered a crash. All are back on their bikes and riding.

11:08Hills on the course

Km 84: Côte de Bellaire (1km at 6.8%)

Km 101: Côte d'Ahin (2.1kms at 5.9%)

Km 111.5: Mur de Huy (1.3kms at 9.3%)

Km 124.5: Côte d'Ereffe (2.2kms at 5.9%)

Km 143.5: Côte de Bellaire (1km at 6.8%)

Km 151: Côte de Bohisseau (1.3kms at 7.6%)

Km 154: Côte de Bousalle (1.7kms at 4.9%)

Km 165: Côte d'Ahin (2.1kms at 5.9%)

Km 175.5: Mur de Huy (1.3kms at 9.3%)

Km 188.5: Côte...

11:02RIDERS ARE OFF

198 riders have officiailly started this 78th edition of the Fleche Wallonne. 199kms of riding to go.

10:54WELCOME TO LA FLECHE WALLONNE

Welcome to our live coverage of the 78th edition of the Fleche Wallonne. The riders are due to start at 10:50 taking off from the city of Bastogne for a 199-km ride to the final climb up the famous Mur de Huy.

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