This Wednesday is the 74th running of the Fleche Wallonne classic in Belgium. The route takes the 25 teams from Charleroi to Huy over a testing 198km (approx 125 miles) with the Mur de Huy and Cote d’Ereffe climbs featuring and promising to add some fast-paced excitement to the final k’s. The finishing line set up residence in Huy in 1984 to the utmost delight of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, but to the dread of the pack, who were condemned to suffer in order to tame the 19% gradient of the famous (wall of Huy) climb.
The expected teams are all entered:
Team Milram (MRM)
As we thought, the list of quality riders is long:
The Schlecks, Cunego, Cadel Evans, Gilbert, Luis-Leon Sanchez, Bradley Wiggins, (if he can get there!) Tondo of CTT, Popovych, Contador and Oscar Freire to make a few.
To single out our picks for the race we’ve considered the past week or two or racing and the past performances in this race.
In previous editions, the route – after the first climb of the “Mur” – was a sequence of two loops that made riders climb the “Chemin des Chapelles” a second and a third time. This year, the loops have been swapped so that the second climb is only a short 30 km shy of the grand finale.
So who are we tipping to win this time? After our (moderate) success with predicting the Amstel Gold result we’re not going to rock the boat and choose 3 wild-cards. Instead we’ve chosen Cadel, A. Schleck and Damiano Cunego who had a brilliant ride at the weekend (just in time for the Giro perhaps?)