Moreno jets clear on final climb of Mur de Huy to win Flèche Wallonne
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Moreno jets clear on final climb of Mur de Huy to win Flèche Wallonne

by Shane Stokes at 11:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Race Reports and Results, Flèche Wallonne
 
Katusha rider beats Henao, Betancur and Martin to summit, Gilbert cracks in sight of the line

Dani MorenoTaking up the reins from his injured team-mate Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha’s Dani Moreno darted to the biggest win of his career today when he blasted up the Mur de Huy and won Flèche Wallonne. The Spanish rider was clearly the strongest on the wall-like climb, reaching the line an impressive three seconds ahead of Sergio Henao (Sky).

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) had attacked early on the climb but, as is almost always the case with those who strike out before the steepest part, wilted in the final 200 metres. A concerned world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) had taken up the chase and ate into his advantage, but was powerless to go with Moreno and then Henao when they surged.

“I’m very happy about this victory,” said Moreno. “Fleche Wallonne is my favourite competition, both because of its importance and also for its parcours, which is very suitable to me, especially the climbing finale. It was my dream to take a win here, and finally I achieved it.”

He explained about getting the nod to play his own card. “Purito [Rodriguez] wasn’t at his top shape due to the crash in Amstel Gold Race, and we’ve already talked about doing a joint race until the end. I knew I was in a great shape instead: Joaquim, in fact, predicted I would have won today.”

Betancur just about held on to third, being passed by a fast-finishing Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) immediately after the line. Martin had suffered a mechanical issue with 21 kilometres left and while he got back onto the peloton, had burned up important energy which seemed to hamper him in terms of the early part of the final climb.

Fifth went to Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) while last year’s champion Rodriguez took sixth; he wasn’t in his best shape today, thanks to his Amstel Gold Race crash, but should be on course to content in Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

As for Gilbert, he cracked in sight of the line and was passed by a number of riders, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bauke Mollema (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) and Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) bumping him out of the top ten.

That will be disappointing for the former winner but, like the others who missed out today, he will try again in La Doyenne on Sunday.

Meanwhile Moreno insisted that he would maintain a sense of perspective. “I don’t think this victory is going to change my status as a rider: I’ve already taken prestigious victories in the Critérium du Dauphiné, or even the Vuelta a Espana.

“Of course, I’m improving year after year and my results prove this. But I’m alright like this, I’m glad to help Rodriguez. I can’t stand the pressure like he does. I will have my chance as a leader in the Tour de Romandie, but then in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana I’ll be happy to help him in general classification.

“I’ll just take advantage of the chances I’ll have, just like today,” he added.

How it played out:


Being a midweek event, Flèche Wallonne is shorter than the Amstel Gold Race and next Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but the race is nevertheless a very tough one indeed. The riders would face three ascents of the dauntingly-steep Mur de Huy, a 1.3 kilometre wall-like climb with the finish line at the summit.

In addition to that, they would face nine other climbs, with the Côte de Naninne and the Côte de Groynne coming before the first ascent of the Mur de Huy, then being followed by the Côtes d'Ereffe, de Peu d'Eau, de Bellaire, de Bohisseau and de Bousalle.

Once up the Huy for the penultimate time, the riders were set to clash on the Côte d'Amay and the Côte de Villers-le-Bouillet in the last fifteen kilometres prior to the big showdown the third time on the Mur de Huy.

A total of 196 riders lined out and after several unsuccessful attacks, Pirmin Lang (IAM) and Gilles Devilliers (Crelan Euphony) got clear twenty kilometres after the drop of the flag. Jurgen van Goolen (Accent Jobs Wanty) set off in pursuit but thirty kilometres after the start, he was one minute and five second back, and was in turn the same distance ahead of the peloton.

The Dutchman continued chasing hard and managed to bridge across five kilometres later. They had four and a half minutes over the peloton by that point and managed to increase that gap up to over nine minutes by the fifty kilometre mark.

The bunch started to respond, yet the trio still had nine minutes on the Côte de Naninne, where Devilliers was first to the top. They pushed on over the Côte de Groynne and then on the Mur de Huy, where their advantage was down to six minutes fifteen seconds at the line.

The BMC Racing Team of world champion Philippe Gilbert was doing much of the chasing behind and reduced the gap below three minutes with 65 kilometres remaining. It continued to fall and when it dropped under a minute, this prompted a number of riders to attack and try to bridge.

The move was caught with 45 kilometres left and straight away Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco Pro Cycling) and Roman Bardet (Ag2r la Mondiale) clipped away. The duo opened an advantage of over thirty seconds with 41 kilometres left. The peloton was fighting back, though, and the gap was down to ten seconds as they raced onto the Mur de Huy for the second time.

Tussle for positions:


As the slopes kicked up, Ten Dam dropped Bardet with 31.3 kilometres remaining, pushing on ahead in a bid to try to hold off the peloton. However the bunch was just behind him and it looked like a matter of time before he would be hauled back.

Simon Geschke (Argos Shimano) jumped clear and bridged up to the Dutchman, going past him before the summit and crossing the line approximately six seconds ahead.

Behind, Rigoberto Uran (Sky) was prominent in leading the chase, but the bunch had not yet hit the gas. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) had punctured before the climb and while he got a wheel from Thomas Dekker, he was at the rear of the peloton by the summit, gaps opening around him, and facing a lot of work to get back to the front.

Geschke continued on alone and held a gap of eleven seconds over the top. Digging deep, Ten Dam managed to get back up to him, thus making it two out front. However there was plenty of racing behind and other riders tried to get clear.

Those chasers were brought back and with 25 kilometres remaining the two leaders were nine seconds ahead and working hard to try to eke out more time. Given the difficulty of the Mur de Huy, they knew they’d need a lot more than that, and were battling a hard-chasing BMC Racing Team intent on putting Philippe Gilbert in a position to win.

Garmin-Sharp had already one setback with Hesjedal’s problem and with 21 kilometres remaining, the team’s other leader Dan Martin also had to stop and change a wheel. He got going again quickly and, making his way back through the cavalcade, latched onto the back of the bunch eighteen kilometres from the line. He still had to chase back up to the front and was certain to lose some of the energy he hoped to keep for the finale.

Geschke and Ten Dam hit the Côte d'Amay with a lead of 22 seconds. The BMC Racing Team kept the pressure on the climb, stretching out the peloton.

Although Ten Dam had been out front much longer that Geschke, he did most of the work on that climb, leading the duo past the fifteen kilometre to go banner. Behind, Richie Porte (Sky) was surprisingly dropped from the bunch. Meanwhile Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) was still there, showing what seemed to be signs of improving condition.

Final battle rages on Mur de Huy:


Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil DCM) jumped clear after the fifteen kilometre to go banner and drew a Katusha rider clear with him. That acceleration chomped away much of the leading duos’ advantage and the two chasers got across. Meanwhile Schleck had a go, although the BMC Racing Team got him back and moved back up to the front again.

Into the final ten kilometres, the gap was six seconds. The break was finally caught on the Côte de Villers-le-Bouillet and with nine kilometres remaining, Travis Meier (Orica GreenEdge) jumped clear on those slopes. He didn’t get far, but the acceleration was enough to put Schleck out the back.

At that point the defending champion Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was well placed, sitting near the front as the bunch hurtled towards the finish. The Catalan had played down his chances due to the crash he suffered in the Amstel Gold Race, but was looking good at that point.

Jermoe Pineau (Omega Pharma Quick Step) took up the pace and stretched things out going over the top of that climb with 8.2 kilometres to go. He was unable to break the elastic and everything was still together with four kilometres remaining.

The Astana team took over for a time, but the rush for positions started heading into the final kilometre. Ag2r La Mondiale’s Carlos Betancur struck out early, opening a big gap. Gilbert was concerned and took up the chase, but was unable to respond when Dani Moreno (Katusha) blasted clear and raced on to nab the biggest win of his career.

Sergio Henao (Sky) came through for second, while Betancur barely held off a very fast-finishing Dan Martin for third. Gilbert cracked badly in the final 100 metres and slipped outside the top ten. His spring Classic hopes are now pinned on Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, his home race.


La Flèche Wallonne, Belgium (WorldTour)


1, Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Katusha) 205 kilometres in 4 hours 52 mins 33 secs
2, Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Sky Procycling) at 3 secs
3, Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (AG2R La Mondiale)
4, Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp)
5, Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
6, Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha) at 8 secs
7, Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar Team)
8, Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
9, Bauke Mollema (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
10, Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)
11, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)
12, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
13, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) at 13 secs
14, Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
15, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) at 15 secs
16, Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard) at 17 secs
17, Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
18, Arthur Vichot (FDJ) at 21 secs
19, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) at mins 23 secs
20, Paul Martens (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
21, Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge)
22, Rigoberto Uran Uran (Sky Procycling)
23, Ben Hermans (RadioShack Leopard)
24, Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling)
25, Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) at 30 secs
26, Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (RadioShack Leopard)
27, Georg Preidler (Team Argos-Shimano) at 32 secs
28, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida)
29, Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) at 35 secs
30, Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team)
31, Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana Pro Team) at 38 secs
32, Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Movistar Team)
33, Alberto Contador Velasco (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 40 secs
34, Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge)
35, Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Colombia)
36, Andriy Grivko (Astana Pro Team) at 43 secs
37, Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
38, Chris Anker Sörensen (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 49 secs
39, Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) at 51 secs
40, Bart De Clercq (Lotto Belisol)
41, José Rujano Guillen (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) at 53 secs
42, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
43, Joshua Edmondson (Sky Procycling)
44, Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team)
45, Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) at 59 secs
46, Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling) at 1 min 1 secs
47, Maxime Vantomme (Crelan-Euphony)
48, Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida)
49, Dalivier Ospina Navarro (Colombia) at 1 min 3 secs
50, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) at 1 min 5 secs
51, Maxime Monfort (RadioShack Leopard) at 1 min 12 secs
52, Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard) at 1 min 14 secs
53, Eduard Vorganov (Katusha)
54, Dominik Nerz (BMC Racing Team) at 1 min 21 secs
55, Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Sharp)
56, Fabrice Jeandesboz (Sojasun) at 1 min 23 secs
57, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) at 1 min 26 secs
58, John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale)
59, Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar Team) at 1 min 33 secs
60, Wesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEdge)
61, Jérôme Pineau (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) at 1 min 36 secs
62, Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale) at 1 min 39 secs
63, Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun)
64, Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ) at 1 min 43 secs
65, Laurent Pichon (FDJ) at 1 min 49 secs
66, Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 1 min 51 secs
67, Jon Izagirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
68, Simone Ponzi (Astana Pro Team) at 2 mins 7 secs
69, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
70, Travis Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) at 2 mins 10 secs
71, Karsten Kroon (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 2 mins 15 secs
72, Dennis Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) at 2 mins 16 secs
73, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team)
74, Simon Geschke (Team Argos-Shimano) at 2 mins 23 secs
75, Michel Kreder (Garmin-Sharp)
76, Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) at 2 mins 36 secs
77, Alberto Losada Alguacil (Katusha) at 2 mins 39 secs
78, Angel Vicioso Arcos (Katusha)
79, Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) at 2 mins 41 secs
80, Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
81, David Tanner (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) at 2 mins 43 secs
82, Damiano Caruso (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 3 mins 23 secs
83, Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 3 mins 26 secs
84, Nicki Sörensen (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 3 mins 40 secs
85, Amaël Moinard (BMC Racing Team) at 4 mins 2 secs
86, Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) at 4 mins 35 secs
87, Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) at 4 mins 52 secs
88, Bram Tankink (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) at 4 mins 55 secs
89, Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) at 4 mins 59 secs
90, Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge)
91, Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
92, Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
93, Gaetan Bille (Lotto Belisol)
94, Julien Vermote (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
95, Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
96, Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha)
97, Yury Trofimov (Katusha)
98, Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun)
99, Rory Sutherland (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
100, Lars Petter Nordhaug (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
101, Oliver Zaugg (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
102, Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
103, Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana Pro Team)
104, Sandy Casar (FDJ)
105, Sébastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale)
106, Simone Stortoni (Lampre-Merida)
107, Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
108, Salvatore Puccio (Sky Procycling)
109, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team) at 5 mins 7 secs
110, Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing Team) at 7 mins 2 secs
111, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) at 8 mins 4 secs
112, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge)
113, Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
114, Alexis Vuillermoz (Sojasun) at 8 mins 36 secs
115, Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia) at 9 mins 47 secs
116, Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp)
117, Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge)
118, Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling)
119, Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Colombia)
120, Arthur Vanoverberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
121, Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale)
122, Alexandr Pliuschin (IAM Cycling) at 9 mins 53 secs
123, Sébastien Delfosse (Crelan-Euphony) at 9 mins 58 secs
124, Egidijus Juodvalkis (Crelan-Euphony) at 9 mins 59 secs
125, Jurgen Van De Walle (Lotto Belisol) at 10 mins 2 secs
126, Jurgen Van Goolen (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
127, Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) at 10 mins 6 secs
128, Laurent Didier (RadioShack Leopard)
129, Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida)
130, Peter Stetina (Garmin-Sharp)
131, Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
132, Richie Porte (Sky Procycling)
133, Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
134, Imanol Erviti Ollo (Movistar Team)
135, Pablo Lastras Garcia (Movistar Team)
136, Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
137, Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
138, Stephen Cummings (BMC Racing Team)
139, Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol)
140, Eliot Lietaer (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
141, Gregory Habeaux (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
142, Nicolas Vogondy (Accent Jobs-Wanty) at 10 mins 15 secs
143, Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
144, Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony) at 10 mins 20 secs
145, Vasil Kiryienka (Sky Procycling) at 10 mins 41 secs

Did not finish:

Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp)
Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Movistar Team)
Armondo Quintero Artunduaga (Colombia)
Cédric Pineau (FDJ)
Christophe Premont (Crelan-Euphony)
Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida)
Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol)
DNS Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida)
Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Colombia)
Frédéric Amorison (Crelan-Euphony)
Gilles Devillers (Crelan-Euphony)
Jean Marc Marino (Sojasun)
Jérôme Gilbert (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Johannes Fröhlinger (Team Argos-Shimano)
Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun)
Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia)
Julio Alexis Camacho Bernal (Colombia)
Klaas Lodewyck (BMC Racing Team)
Klaas Sys (Crelan-Euphony)
Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Maciej Paterski (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
Massimo Graziato (Lampre-Merida)
Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale)
Maurits Lammertink (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
Miguel Minguez Ayala (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Mikel Landa Meana (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Moreno Hofland (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Patrick Schelling (IAM Cycling)
Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling)
Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Stijn Neirynck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
Thierry Hupond (Team Argos-Shimano)
Thomas Degand (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Thomas Dekker (Garmin Sharp)
Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack Leopard)
Tim De Troyer (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Belisol)
Warren Barguil (Team Argos-Shimano)
Will Routley (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
Yann Huguet (Team Argos-Shimano)
Yannick Talabardon (Sojasun)


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