News: Ardennes Classics for the Climbers

Now the Flemish classics are done and dusted, coming soon are Ardennes Classics for the climbers in the peloton

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News: Ardennes Classics for the Climbers

Riders who excel in the Ardennes classics are for the most part all-rounders who can climb. It will be their turn on Wednesday, April 22 in the Flèche Wallonne, the race where the most explosive champions in the peloton take centre stage. A few days later, on Sunday, April 26, Liège–Bastogne–Liège will bring the spring classics season to a close.


A new era has dawned. In judo terms, the riders who will race the next few events are an average of two to three weight classes below the stars of the Flemish campaign. However, strength and vigour are not a matter of sheer size in cycling. The power players of the Ardennes week are every bit as good in their speciality as cobble-gobblers are in theirs.

Having spent the last few weeks building up towards their goals in different places, the pretenders to the crown of the puncher’s festival now know what the Ardennes have in store for them. Wednesday’s race will feature a double whammy, with the 79th edition of La Flèche Wallonne doubling up as the most competitive explosiveness contest of the season and as a dress rehearsal for the third stage of the Tour de France.


Come July 6, the first stage finish ever atop the Mur de Huy will provide a clear picture of how the favourites are faring. Those who race in La Flèche will get some extra attention… and score early points.

The time when no ladies dared tackle the Mur de Huy is a distant memory. Nowadays, just like for the men, it has become one of the season highlights, and the fireworks in the final kilometre of the 121 km women’s race are just as spectacular. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (pictured) is back, clad in the rainbow jersey and ready to defend the title her calves won her last year. No flying under the radar this time!

People sometimes refer to Liège–Bastogne–Liège as “The Old Lady”, but it takes on its big role as the climax of the spring classics. La Doyenne may have celebrated its 100th edition in 2014, but both the race and its trophy are as appealing as ever.

This time round, the war of attrition will stretch over 253 kilometres, particularly on the return trip from Bastogne, which will feature the lion’s share of the climbs. The fearsome Wanne-Stockeu-Haute-Levée sequence, followed by the climbs of Rosier, Maquisard and La Redoute, will break some legs and could even produce the final selection.

One thing is for sure: those who shine in the last few kilometres owe nothing to luck. The top three riders in the hundredth edition, Gerrans, Valverde and Kwiatkowski, also monopolised the World Championship podium half a season later.

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