Strong Julian Alaphilippe conquers the Fleche Wallonne
Apr 18 2018 04:27 pm CET

Strong Julian Alaphilippe conquers the Fleche Wallonne
Strong Julian Alaphilippe conquers the Fleche Wallonne
Photo of Julian Alaphilippe (c)Sigfrid Eggers

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) has won the Fleche Wallonne. The Frenchman was the strongest on the last climb, beating Alejandro Valverde and Jelle Vanendert.

The Ardennes classic was 198.5 kilometres long between Seraing and Huy. Early on the day a group of eight men that included Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Patrick Müller (Vital Concept) escaped from the peloton and got a lead of more than three minutes.

With 46 kilometres to go, the escapees were reeled back in by the pack and soon a new attack was launched by Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Strong riders like Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe), Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), Simon Geschke (Sunweb) and Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) followed the Italian and soon got away from the second part of the peloton.

The climbs and the pace made the front group slimmer until only six riders remained. Haig, Roux, Nibali, Cesare Benedetti (Bora-hansgrohe), Tanel Kangaert (Astana) and Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) got an advantage of almost a minute over a reduced pack led by Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) and Mikel Landa (Movistar).

After the 4-kilometre mark, the escapees dropped one by one until only Haig and Schachmann remained. At the start of the last ascent of the Mur of Huy, Nibali and Tangaert were caught and Haig and Schachmann soon faced the same fate. Lotto-Soudal's Jelle Vanendert set a good pace in front and was followed by Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The Frenchman showed to have the better legs in the last part of the climb and crossed the finish line ahead of Valverde and Vanendert.

This is Alaphilippe's first win in a classic after four second places, including two in the Fleche Wallonne.



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