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Flèche Wallonne: Julian Alaphilippe dethrones Primož Roglič on Mur de Huy

Alex Howes in early breakaway, Michael Woods fourth in thrilling battle.

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Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) countered a fearsome surge from Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) on the Mur de Huy to win Flèche Wallonne.

Roglič jumped with about 350m to go on the famous wall, and quickly opened a gap. Five-time winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Alaphilippe chased, and Roglič ran out of gas in the final 100m and opened the door for the world champion. Valverde crossed the line third.

“I was very motivated and wanted to show today that I had a strong head, so I gave everything when it mattered,” Alaphilippe said. “Since the start of the season I haven’t won a lot and even though that didn’t stop me from having fun, I really wanted to raise my arms again.”

Bora-Hansgrohe drove the group to the base of the Mur de Huy, and two riders tried to jump at the red kite. Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) led a big group of about 30 favorites to the lower steep pitches to unleash the real battle. Roglič pressured at the front, and jumped with 300m to go.

“Julian passed me and he was the strongest, so he deserves to win,” Roglič said. “If I had stronger legs, I would win, huh? There is no philosophy on this last climb. If you have the legs, you go, and you win. I’m happy with the shape going into Liège. You always want to win, but like I said, I am happy with my level.”

Alaphilippe and Valverde gave chase, with the world champion coming past him in the final 50m for the win. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) came through fourth.

Alex Howes on the move, Tim Wellens jumps late

Fine weather welcomed the 85th edition of La Flèche Wallonne. UAE-Emirates were a final-hour non-starter following a pair of COVID cases within the team bubble. Follow-up tests suggested a false positive, and the team was hopeful to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

That meant defending champion Marc Hirshi and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar did not race.

Also read: No regrets for Tadej Pogačar after Itzulia raid

There were plenty of other favorites, and the race spiced up going into the final hours of racing.

A group inevitably pulled clear, and it started the annual tug-of-war between the peloton and the Mur de Huy. Attrition whittled down the front group to Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix), Maurits Lammertink (Intermarché-Wanty), Sander Armée (Qhubeka-Assos), Silvan Moniquet (Lotto-Soudal), and US champion Alex Howes (EF Education-Nippo) dangled about 1 minute off the front with two climbs left to go ahead of the final charge up the Mur.

Thomas Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Phil Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) were caught up in a crash with a touch of wheels with about 27km to go, but the break saw its margin quickly dwindling under pressure from the favorites.

Ineos Grenadiers and Groupama-FDJ piled it on to finish off the break with about 10km to go and bring the leaders to the base of the Mur. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soundal) jumped on the penultimate climb, with Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) marking the wheel.

Omar Fraile (Astana-Premier Tech) jumped across to Wellens, putting pressure on the favorites’ group ahead of the Mur. Carapaz jumped again with 9.3km to go, but it was all for naught. The final dangler, Lammertink, was neutralized ahead of the final charge.

From there, the leaders turned on the rockets.

La Flèche Wallonne Results

1ALAPHILIPPE JulianDeceuninck - Quick Step4:36:25
2ROGLIČ PrimožTeam Jumbo-Visma0:00
3VALVERDE AlejandroMovistar Team0:06
4WOODS MichaelIsrael Start-Up Nation0:08
5BARGUIL WarrenTeam Arkéa Samsic0:11
6PIDCOCK ThomasINEOS Grenadiers0:11
7GAUDU DavidGroupama - FDJ0:11
8CHAVES EstebanTeam BikeExchange0:11
9CARAPAZ RichardINEOS Grenadiers0:11
10SCHACHMANN MaximilianBORA - hansgrohe0:16
11MOLLEMA BaukeTrek - Segafredo0:16
12TULETT BenAlpecin-Fenix0:16
13ARANBURU AlexAstana - Premier Tech0:16
14HERMANS QuintenIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux0:16
15KONRAD PatrickBORA - hansgrohe0:16
16MARTIN GuillaumeCofidis0:16
17FUGLSANG JakobAstana - Premier Tech0:19
18COSNEFROY BenoîtAG2R Citroën Team0:21
19HAIG JackBahrain - Victorious0:21
20YATES AdamINEOS Grenadiers0:27
21MATTHEWS MichaelTeam BikeExchange0:28
22POELS WoutBahrain - Victorious0:32
23KWIATKOWSKI MichałINEOS Grenadiers0:32
24BRENNER MarcoTeam DSM0:36
25SBARAGLI KristianAlpecin-Fenix0:36
27VANSEVENANT MauriDeceuninck - Quick Step0:36
28HENAO SergioTeam Qhubeka ASSOS0:36
29HERRADA JesúsCofidis0:40
30CONCI NicolaTrek - Segafredo0:40
31NEILANDS KristsIsrael Start-Up Nation0:42
32TEUNS DylanBahrain - Victorious0:42
33PARET-PEINTRE AurélienAG2R Citroën Team0:42
34BARCELÓ FernandoCofidis0:42
35CARR SimonEF Education - Nippo0:46
36WELLENS TimLotto Soudal0:46
37OOMEN SamTeam Jumbo-Visma0:46
38GESINK RobertTeam Jumbo-Visma0:46
39ROTA LorenzoIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux0:51
40BERNARD JulienTrek - Segafredo0:54
41ARU FabioTeam Qhubeka ASSOS0:57
42HONORÉ Mikkel FrølichDeceuninck - Quick Step1:00
43VANENDERT JelleBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB1:00
44MOLARD RudyGroupama - FDJ1:00
45CHAMPOUSSIN ClémentAG2R Citroën Team1:05
46VALGREN MichaelEF Education - Nippo1:06
47KREUZIGER RomanGazprom - RusVelo1:07
48STANNARD RobertTeam BikeExchange1:11
49SKUJIŅŠ TomsTrek - Segafredo1:15
50ARENSMAN ThymenTeam DSM1:18
51DE TIER FlorisAlpecin-Fenix1:28
52IMPEY DarylIsrael Start-Up Nation1:30
53LEKNESSUND AndreasTeam DSM1:30
54DONOVAN MarkTeam DSM1:35
55CAICEDO Jonathan KleverEF Education - Nippo1:35
56TRATNIK JanBahrain - Victorious1:37
57MOHORIČ MatejBahrain - Victorious1:37
58FRAILE OmarAstana - Premier Tech1:37
59GODON DorianAG2R Citroën Team1:47
60FERNÁNDEZ RubénCofidis1:56
61VAN WILDER IlanTeam DSM1:59
62GEOGHEGAN HART TaoINEOS Grenadiers2:12
63KNOX JamesDeceuninck - Quick Step2:13
64VERVAEKE LouisAlpecin-Fenix2:13
65CLARKE SimonTeam Qhubeka ASSOS2:13
66VERONA CarlosMovistar Team2:17
67BAKELANTS JanIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:35
68TUSVELD MartijnTeam DSM2:35
69CHERNETSKI SergeiGazprom - RusVelo2:35
70GILBERT PhilippeLotto Soudal2:39
71CATTANEO MattiaDeceuninck - Quick Step2:44
72LUTSENKO AlexeyAstana - Premier Tech2:51
73DE BOD StefanAstana - Premier Tech2:51
74BOOKWALTER BrentTeam BikeExchange2:51
75OWSIAN ŁukaszTeam Arkéa Samsic2:51
76GESCHKE SimonCofidis2:51
77MAS EnricMovistar Team3:01
78PEREZ AnthonyCofidis3:01
79LAMMERTINK MauritsIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux3:06
80DEVENYNS DriesDeceuninck - Quick Step3:11
81ARMÉE SanderTeam Qhubeka ASSOS3:17
82MONIQUET SylvainLotto Soudal3:41
83HOFSTEDE LennardTeam Jumbo-Visma3:53
84VINGEGAARD JonasTeam Jumbo-Visma4:05
85SCHELLING IdeBORA - hansgrohe4:45
86MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ4:54
87JANSSENS JimmyAlpecin-Fenix5:48
88VAN DER SANDE ToshLotto Soudal6:22
89KAMP AlexanderTrek - Segafredo6:22
90POWER RobertTeam Qhubeka ASSOS6:22
91JORGENSON MatteoMovistar Team6:22
92BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe6:22
93GRMAY TsgabuTeam BikeExchange6:22
94SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ6:32
95SPRENGERS ThomasSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:57
96ARMIRAIL BrunoGroupama - FDJ7:33
97PICHON LaurentTeam Arkéa Samsic7:33
98CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education - Nippo7:35
99HOWES AlexEF Education - Nippo8:15
100VELASCO SimoneGazprom - RusVelo8:23
101GIRMAY BiniamDELKO8:45
102LADAGNOUS MatthieuGroupama - FDJ8:45
103MERTENS JulianSport Vlaanderen - Baloise8:59
104HUYS LaurensBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB8:59
106ROSA DiegoTeam Arkéa Samsic10:09
107BENNETT SeanTeam Qhubeka ASSOS11:06
108WALSLEBEN PhilippAlpecin-Fenix11:18
109HERREGODTS RuneSport Vlaanderen - Baloise12:01
110NAKANE HidetoEF Education - Nippo12:01
111MEURISSE XandroAlpecin-Fenix12:01
112MERTZ RémyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:01
113NAESEN LawrenceAG2R Citroën Team12:01
114HOLLENSTEIN RetoIsrael Start-Up Nation12:01
115GRIGNARD SébastienLotto Soudal12:01
116EG NiklasTrek - Segafredo12:01
117DE GENDT AiméIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux12:05
118VAN MELSEN KévinIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux12:05
119WIRTGEN LucBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:16
120STRAKHOV DmitryGazprom - RusVelo12:16
121ARCAS JorgeMovistar Team12:17
122RIOU AlanTeam Arkéa Samsic12:17
123SCHÄR MichaelAG2R Citroën Team12:17
124LEDANOIS KévinTeam Arkéa Samsic12:17
125MARTENS PaulTeam Jumbo-Visma12:17
126JUUL-JENSEN ChristopherTeam BikeExchange12:17
127HOULE HugoAstana - Premier Tech12:17
128CANOLA MarcoGazprom - RusVelo12:26
129PFINGSTEN ChristophTeam Jumbo-Visma12:26
130ROWE LukeINEOS Grenadiers12:26
131PAASSCHENS MathijsBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB12:26
132CAPECCHI ErosBahrain - Victorious12:26
133PICCOLI JamesIsrael Start-Up Nation12:26
134COLMAN AlexSport Vlaanderen - Baloise13:21
135MARCZYŃSKI TomaszLotto Soudal13:30
136GAMPER PatrickBORA - hansgrohe13:30
137BOIVIN GuillaumeIsrael Start-Up Nation13:52
138JENSEN AugustDELKO13:52
139PEÁK BarnabásTeam BikeExchange13:52

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.