Bastogne to host la Flèche Wallonne start in 2014 in Battle of the Bulge 70th anniversary year
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bastogne to host la Flèche Wallonne start in 2014 in Battle of the Bulge 70th anniversary year

by Ben Atkins at 8:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Flèche Wallonne
 
Walloon provinces to share Semi-Classic start; finish to remain on Mur de Huy

daniel morenoThe 2014 edition of la Flèche Wallonne will start in Bastogne in 2014, race organiser ASO announced last night on several of its race’s Twitter feeds. So far no other details have been announced, but the move does coincide with the 70th anniversary year of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, which centred around the south Wallonia town.

Bastogne was besieged by German forces in December 1944 after an offensive - which was effectively Hitler’s last throw of the dice in the west - sought to split the American and British forces. Largely thanks to the American forces in Bastogne holding out during one of the coldest winters in memory the offensive failed.

The town serves as the turning point in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race, which is also owned by ASO.

The race - whose name translates as the “Walloon Arrow” - has had various start and finish points in its 77-year history, with the city of Charleroi hosting the start between 1998 and 2012. Nearby Binche was the start town in 2013, but this arrangement - it now transpires - was only for one year.

According to French-speaking Belgian newspaper la Derniere Heure, it is ASO’s intention to rotate the start location around the various various Walloon provinces. What is not to change, however, is the finish atop the fearsome Mur de Huy; the race finale has been fought out on the up-to 25% slopes since 1983, and is set to do so until at least 2018.

No announcement has been made about the women’s edition of the race - won for a fifth time this year by World champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) - which has started at the top of the Mur de Huy since its inception in 1998, and will presumably continue to do so.

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