Team News: Fleche Wallonne (Men)

Tour de France stage winner, Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) the best of the goats up the Mur de Huy as he wins Belgium classic

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Team News: Fleche Wallonne (Men)

Team Sunweb Press Release

Buoyed by brilliant performances and wins across the team since the season restart, a fantastic ride from the team at Fleche Wallonne today saw Marc Hirschi able to deliver a ferociously punchy ride up the steep slopes of the Mur de Huy to add another win to the team’s tally of 2020 victories.

Today the riders lined up for Flèche Wallonne, in an unusual autumn slot on the calendar. Thankfully the rain had cleared away as they set out from Huy, with the tough and testing parcours ahead of them and the famous finish atop the Mur de Huy. It didn’t take long for a breakaway of four riders to establish themselves at the head of the race, with the quartet quickly building up an advantage of almost eight minutes.

Alongside some other teams, Felix Gall came to the front of the bunch to help set the tempo as they attempted to slowly reel in the breakaway as the kilometres and climbs ticked by. Coming onto the Mur de Huy for the first time it was Mark Donovan and Robert Power who took over with over with 60 kilometres to go, as the pace increased even further.

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However, the breakaway put up a good fight out front and ensured that the peloton kept the speed high for the rest of the afternoon. Thymen Arensman, Michael Storer and Ilan Van Wilder helped to keep Hirschi safe as the race careered towards its conclusion and the final ascent of the Mur de Huy.

Last-man standing from the breakaway, Vansevenant, was caught inside the closing three kilometres, setting up a showdown for the win on the brutally steep slopes. Timing his effort to perfection, Hirschi waited and waited, before launching a devastating kick in the closing 100 metres to take a spectacular win; the 13th victory for Team Sunweb’s Men’s Program in 2020 and Hirschi’s second professional win.

“Today we did a perfect race I think,” explained an elated Hirschi at the finish. “We controlled it from the start onwards. There was only a break of four guys ahead and we helped to set the pace which was really good.”

“When we came onto the final laps the guys always kept me in a good position and followed the attacks. It came all together towards the last climb and I was able to to enter the climb in a good position”.

“I wanted to wait a little bit and used the other guys on the climb. With around 100 metres to go I felt that it was the right moment and started my sprint. I managed to open a gap and could take the win. It was a perfect job from the team today and I’m happy that I had the legs to finish it off. I’m proud of how the team worked today. I didn’t make any mistakes in the finish and I’m really happy to take my second pro win. I’ll enjoy the win now in the next few days before I fully focus on Sunday again.”

Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R): I’m quite pleased and satisfied as this is my first podium on a World Tour classic. We were of course working to get the victory, but a second place is also a great reward for all the work the team has done over the race. It was great to see my teammates taking the head of the bunch on the final kilometres to place both me and Alexis Vuillermoz in perfect position ahead of the Mur de Huy.

Marc Hirschi was stronger than me in the final metres. There are no excuses and no regrets: I was on his wheel and he just overpowered me. After his displays on the Tour de France and the World Championships, we knew he was one of the strongest riders of the world at this moment.

Warren Barguil (Arkea Samsic): “I wanted to attack on the last ascent of Mur de Huy a few hundred meters from the finish, but I got squeezed in the gutter by another competitor. Despite everything my goal was to reach the top without regret! I didn’t keep up when the pace picked up again. I’ve actually been there in two stages, and I’m passing Michal Kwiatowski and Dan Martin just before the finish line. There is nevertheless a little frustration to miss the podium, so little, anyway ”

“I am happy to succeed in this Flèche Wallonne, I also want to thank the entire Arkéa-Samsic team, my teammates who have done a superb job in my favor. Last year I was unable to compete in the Ardennes Classics due to an injury, and it was heartbreaking for me. I am happy to be successful this year, already on the Flèche Wallonne. ”

“I had reproduced the type of effort that a Mur de Huy type ascent can require, last week, in training, and it made me very funny to switch from a climber on the alpine passes of the Tour. puncher, and make efforts of two to three minutes at the block. The work has paid off, and it makes me feel good. I’m happy with the result here ”.

“Sunday is my favorite race of the season: Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I hope to do something good in this competition as well, indeed. Fingers crossed ”

Simon Geschke (CCC, 10th): “I am really happy with a top 10 finish here because except for finishing sixth at the Amstel Gold Race a couple of years back, it is my best result in one of the Ardennes Classics. My shape continues to be good after the Tour de France and the team did a wonderful job to bring me in position today. Unfortunately, Amstel is canceled this year but I‘m super motivated to continue like this in the next two races, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Brabantse Pijl.”

1. Marc Hirschi Team Sunweb 4:49:17
2. Benoit Cosnefroy AG2R La Mondiale
3. Michael Woods EF Pro Cycling
4. Warren Barguil Team Arkea-Samsic
5. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation
6. Michal Kwiatkowski INEOS Grenadiers
7. Patrick Konrad Bora-Hansgrohe @ 05
8. Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo @ 05
9. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 05
10. Simon Geschke CCC Team @ 10

35. Ben Tulett Alpecin-Fenix @ 40
60. Ethan Hayter INEOS Grenadiers @ 1:34
80. Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling @ 2:11
87. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 4:14
89. Mark Donovan Team Sunweb @ 4:14
96. Scott Thwaites Alpecin-Fenix @ 5:16
116. Stephen Williams Bahrain-McLaren @ 6:57

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