This year will start slightly differently with the flag being dropped at the Grand-Place, at the bottom of the Mur. The riders will cover a 70-km loop before entering the final circuit. Two ascents of the Côte d’Ereffe, the Côte de Cherave and the Mur de Huy or THE WALL as many people refer to it as. The final climb of the day, the decider of the race.
Anna van der Breggen has taken 4 back to back wins being the favourite going into the race arguably knowing exactly what she has to do to win this race again. If she is successful in doing so she will equal Marianne Vos’ record.
I’ve personally ridden this race a few times with a top 20 being my best result. I had the power but I believe I was too heavy to compete in the final with the climb being over 20% it really is a case of the best power to weight winning the race. Whilst positioning throughout racing is always important, Flèche Wallonne is different to the early Belgian classics where positioning could mean race over. This race is not as hectic so gives riders the chance to sit back slightly and focus on key parts of the race where the action takes place. Having said that because of the nature of the finish, positioning is key in the final however generally at this stage of the game there will only be a select few going in to race up the wall to the finish line.
“The final of fleche is i think the hardest of all races with the muur but also with the second last climb. Breakaways are possible because bit still the finish is on top of the muur so you should be able to climb. It’s crazy looking back that i won this race 4 times in a row. And i think that’s already a good record. We will try to make a good race. Amstel showed already the girls to watch for, and with a kasia in shape it will be a hard task to go for the 5 but we will see how it goes. I know the muur by now and i know how to do it. But you need to be the best to win in Fleche.” Anna van der Breggen
My predictions for the podium are:
- Annemiek van Vleuten Mitchelton-Scott
- Kasia Niewiadoma Canyon // Sram
- Ashleigh Moolman Pasio CCC-LIV