Alejandro Valverde times Mur de Huy attack to perfection
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has won his second La Flèche Wallonne title after beating Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in a decisive attack near the top of the Mur de Huy. Valverde initially appeared to be boxed in near the left hand barrier but eventually found a gap around the right and accelerated away in a perfectly timed move.
The race was always going to come to select bunch at the bottom of the Mur, Fleche Wallonne has been won that way for ten years or more and this year was to be no exception. There was some chaos about three kilometres from the finish when Lampre-Merida’s Damiano Cunego touched wheels with his team mate and World Champion Rui Costa, Cunego went down taking another four riders with him including Frank Schleck. Costa’s race was also done with a buckled rear wheel. Philippe Gilbert and Daniel Moreno were slowed by the crash as well which effectively ended their chances for another win.
On to the Mur and the running was all made by Martin, Kwiatkowski, Bauke Mollema and Jelle Vanendert until Valverde made his move with 150m to go. This was Valverdes eighth win for the year and if he wasn’t already the favourite for Liege-Bastogne-Liege then he will be now.
This victory means a lot to me and the rest of the team. The Ardennes were resisting to me in the last few years – always getting podium places, but no victories Valverde
Results 2014 Fleche Wallonne 199km
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4-36-45
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 3 secs
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 4 secs
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at same time
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 6 secs
6. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at same time
7. Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-GreenEdge at 8 secs
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at same time
9. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 11 secs
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing at 15 secs
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot wins 2014 Flèche Wallonne Femmes
Frances Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabobank-Liv) won the women’s road race after Linda Villumsen (Wiggle-Honda) led with a 35 second lead to the bottom of the Mur, as Villumsen was caught Lizzie Armitstead, Evelyn Stevens and Ferrand-Prévot went clear of the rest of the bunch with Ferrand-Prévot too strong for Armistead in the sprint for the finish.
Results 2014 Fleche Wallonne Femmes
1. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Fra) Rabobank-Liv, 3:26:43
2. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, + 00:01
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products, + 00:04
4. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon, + 00:07
5. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Hitec Products, + 00:11
6. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv, + 00:13
7. Emma Pooley (GBr) Lotto-Belisol, s.t.
8. Linda Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle Honda, + 00:21
9. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Liv-Shimano, + 00:24
10. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, + 00:28
Watch the closing stages of the women’s road race
Photo: courtesy of Movistar
Race report by TBL – The Bike Lane