World Champion well supported by his six team-mates, resists with top puncheurs until final ascent to the Mur as Julian Alaphilippe (DQT) claims back-to-back victories.
Following a difficult Amstel Gold Race, where the legs didn’t go the way the World Champion wanted, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) showed signs of improvement at the Flèche Wallonne, one of the races where he’s built his legend, by staying with the top contenders until the final of three climbs of the Mur de Huy.
The work by the Telefónica-supported squad was solid from start to finish. Jaime Castrillo worked in pursuit of the early breakaway; Imanol Erviti kept his old friend sheltered against the strong wind gusts during the race; Carlos Verona did a good job into the climbs and joined a dangerous, 15-man move after the second Huy climb; and Anacona, Amador and Betancur kept the moves under control at the zones most exposed to the winds to keep Valverde safe.
At the tough final climb to Huy, Valverde had to stay content with an 11th place behind back-to-back victor Julian Alaphilippe (DQT). A return to fine results for the World Champion -who turns 39 on Thursday- before tackling Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race he’s won four times, on Sunday.
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto
- 01 Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck - Quick Step 4h55'14"
- 02 Jakob Fuglsang Astana Pro Team "
- 03 Diego Ulissi UAE Team Emirates +6"
- 11 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +11"
- 33 Carlos Betancur Movistar Team +1'47"
- 43 Carlos Verona Movistar Team +2'29"
- 56 Winner Anacona Movistar Team +6'24"
- 58 Andrey Amador Movistar Team "
- — Imanol Erviti Movistar Team DNF
- — Jaime Castrillo Movistar Team DNF