|Pic by Jo Saenen
Km 76.5 - Côte de Naninne - 2.6 km climb to 3.7 %
Km 90.0 - Côte de Groynne - 2.0 km climb to 3.5 %
Km 108.5 - Mur de Huy - 1.3 km climb to 9.3 %
Km 127.5 - Côte d'Ereffe - 2.1 km climb to 5.9 %
Km 146.0 - Côte de Peu d'Eau - 2.7 km climb to 3.9 %
Km 151.0 - Côte de Bellaire - 1.0 km climb to 6.8 %
Km 158.5 - Côte de Bohisseau - 1.3 km climb to 7.6 %
Km 161.5 - Côte de Bousalle - 1.7 km climb to 4.9 %
Km 173.5 - Mur de Huy - 1.3 km climb to 9.3 %
Km 190.0 - Côte d'Amay - 1.5 km climb to 6.7 %
Km 196.5 - Côte de Villers-le-Bouillet - 1.2 km climb to 7.5 %
Km 205.0 - Mur de Huy - 1.3 km climb to 9.3 %
You feel them in your legs at the end and unfortunately the end is a true 'wall'.
After several attacks and about 25 Km two riders -Devilliers and Lang - managed to break-away. Van Goolen joined. The break was on. They quickly gained till 10'. Then, on the Côte de Bellaire, RSLT opened the dances. Two riders attacked and selected a small group. It didn't work but RSLT's riders kept attacking and were very active at the front. The situation was very fluid and - caught the break - Ten Dam and Bardet excaped together but the peloton never allowed more than 20''. The serious move was by the young Colombian rider Betancur (AG2R) on the last ascent to Huy. After him Gilbert, Sagan, Henao, Moreno, Martin, Mollema...
Moreno joined and passed Betancur in that unreal sprint uphill so typical in La Fleche Wallone. The young rider looked a little surprised and also Henao outsprinted him. Just on the line he was side by side with Dan Martin but he was 3rd at the photofinish. I'm glad because he had been the bravest if not the strongest. He will win in Huy in few years, no doubt. Gilbert and moreover Sagan got dropped in the last meters. Maybe Sagan still has got something to learn... but there is all the time.
Andy Schleck finished 86 at 4'35''. He was looking good, pedaling in the middle of the peloton, sometimes apearing in front. He didn't try to break-away and didn't work to chase. He didn't got dropped on the last climb but slightly earlier, 8 km to go. He was in a group of 5 riders, they eventually reached the back of the peloton but only when the gruppetto was forming and he remained there, smiling and chattering.
Now: I'm very happy he didn't crash and finished the race. I'm also glad he had fun. But I'm disappointed he didn't try to finish in the main group. Not in the front group - there was Gallopin: 16th - but with the large group at 1' or 2'. In my opinion it was important. It wasn't about the race but about dignity. When you are exhausted and far behinde I understand you let it go but that wasn't the case today. Was he saving his legs for Sunday? I don't think he's going to fight for a top 5 results so it was better to show something here.
Finally, I see there is no press conference - because there is nothing to tell, I agree. So I stay at home. Quite angry at the moment. Have I got the right to get angry? ah no, I lost it a few years ago. I'm just angry with myself.