4.16.2013

On the Mur de Huy and more


Like many other races, la Flèche Wallonne was created by newspaper,  Les Sports in this case. It's first edition was in 1936. Route and lenght changed many times since there: "The event was first run on roads from Tournai to Liège (growing from 236 km to 300 km - its longest ever distance - in 1938), after which Mons became the starting point. From 1948, the race started at Charleroi; from 1960 the event ran in the opposite direction, starting at Liège and finishing at Charleroi (or, from 1965, Marcinelle). Some years have seen the event start and finish in the same place: Verviers (1974–1978) or Huy (1983–1985). From 1986, the race started in Spa and finished in Huy. Since 1990, the race distance has not exceeded 210 km." 
( source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Fl%C3%A8che_Wallonne)

Recently la Fleche is 199.5 km, starts in Charleroi (this year Binche) and finishes in Huy, after three laps of a tough circuit including the famous Mur de Huy (15% in many points, 26% in the steepest one). I have been there and can confirm it's hard also walking... can't imagine riding. Racing, it's a pure cycling legend. At the last passage on the line the race is usually furiously launched and the strongest riders attack just on the hardest ramp of the muer. When I was there, in 2010, Andy Schleck speeded up suddenly here preparing Frank's attack and it was as if everybody suddenly stopped. It didn't work but was something splendid. In 2009, when Andy won Liège, he went away with Rebellin who beated him only at the sprint. A sprint on a muer! can you see that? Few later Rebellin got a bann for doping in Olympics 2008 and in my opinion that victory wasn't clean too.

Belgian riders dominated the early years of the Fleche, winning the first 11 editions of the race, and slightly more than half of the editions in total (38 victories up to and including 2011). RSLT's DS Kim Andersen won it in 1984 and Kim Kirchen is the only Luxembourger who ever rose his arms in Huy (in 2008).
Three Luxembourgers wil start tomorrow in La Fleche 2013: Jempy Drucker, Andy Schleck of course and Laurent Didier. Who is RSLT's team leader? Gallopin or/and Monfort in my opinion. But I don't know. Andy is fine, training and enjoying. Yesterday it was Frank's birthday and Ardennes are close to home for them, who have family and friends to support them on the road.  Maybe Lady Luck will be gentle with my rider for a change and we will see something good. 
As far as me... I'm still waiting to know if I go and when I start for Liège. Honestly I don't feel like to go only for the race and it looks like no press conference. Maybe a press conference will be decided on wednesday, after la Fleche but it's quite last minute for me. I'm sorry, I'm looking forward to meet Andy again and talk a bit but if I go only to the race there is few or no time for that. Better watching it in tv and cover it decently. Yep: I'm a little disappointed...

START LIST
Source http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/116791022-La-Fleche-Wallonne-2013-Startlist

Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise  ARMEE Sander
  DE VREESE Laurens
  HELVEN Sander
  JACOBS Pieter
  LIETAER Eliot
  SPRENGERS Thomas
  VAN HECKE Preben
  VAN OVERBERGHE Arthur
R. DE JONGHE Kevin
R. NEIRYNCK Stijn
R. WALLAYS Jelle

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The race won't start in Charleroi this year, but in Binche. 2014 the race will start in Charleroi again, 2015 Binche again, etc.

By the way, there is a cableway from the north bank of the river Meuse in Huy to the top of the Mur de Huy, which (in recent years) costs only € 2 for a return trip on the day of the Flêche Wallonne and saves you the long and steep walk up the hill. You'll also get a great view over the town of Huy. Unfortunately last year the cableway was broken because of an accident with a helicopter, I don't know if the cableway is fixed again.

Ilaria said...

Thank you :) I think it's fixed. It was active when I went there but walking that epic climb is better (if you can!) :D

Anonymous said...

Cableway still wasn't active last wednesday.

And it seems that I was wrong, the Flêche Wallonne will start in Bastogne next year, making it more an 'Ardennes Classic' since it will also start in the Ardennes. But it'll also be more like other races in the same area such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the GP de Wallonie.