With triumph, pride and exertion etched across his face, Bahrain Victorious’ 30 year old Belgian, Dylan Teuns, spread his arms wide and crossed the line of La Flèche Wallone several bike lengths ahead of the undisputed King of the Mur de Huy, Alejandro Valverde (MOV) & Aleksandr Vlasov (BOH).
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream that comes true to win today on the Mur in front of my fans, wife and family. It’s a super special one. I always dreamed of a classic victory and today it happens finally.”
Bahrain Victorious had shown strength in numbers earlier in the race, forcing a split when crosswinds threatened and continued to do so as more selections were made on the later climbs. First Jack Haig attacked on the Côte de Cherave, then Wout Poels went on the front just after the leaders went over the Mur for the 2nd of 3 times, and finally, Damiano Caruso put himself into the wind at the foot of the Côte d’Ereffe.
After the final 2 leaders – Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM) & Mauri Vansevenant (QST) – had been caught, Teuns, (3rd here in 2017) found himself in a large group of nearly 20 riders as the famous 800 metres of ‘The Mur’ rose like a wall ahead of them.
Leaving the current Tour de France & world champions in his wake, Teuns wove his way through the group and was left alone with Valverde at the 300 metre mark. Despite all his experience, the 5 time Fleche winner simply couldn’t keep up with the Victorious hero of the day.
Dylan’s victory is the 14th of his career, and the first in a one-day race, although it crowns a super-successful April campaign: top ten finishes in 4 from 5 classics.
“The moment I crossed the flame rouge I was really confident. I had something left in the legs and made an extra acceleration and was enough to take the victory. I’m in the shape of my life, I showed that at the Classics. Now I’m heading to Liège with big motivation.”
It takes the tally to 13 wins by Bahrain Victorious riders in 2022, and comes after Matej Mohorič’s ‘monumental’ Milan-Sanremo performance a month ago.
Gorazd Štangelj, Sports Director in Wallone, commended the entire team’s performance on the day:
“With the quality of the names on the start list I wouldn’t say we expected this result. We were fighting for a good result and we didn’t want to wait, so we tried some moves on the circuit, and kept Dylan & Wout for the finale. The best riders came to the bottom of the final climb but Dylan had incredible legs, and he showed he has that extra star quality today.”
Meanwhile in Italy, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, Santiago Buitrago & Hermann Pernsteiner all finished in the favourites’ group on stage 3 OF THE TOUR OF THE ALPS between Lana & Villabassa, meaning Bilbao retains the green leaders’ jersey, and Buitrago is the joint best young rider.
Stage 4 of 5 on Thursday sees the riders tackle 142.4kms between Villabassa and Kals am Grossglockner, and will see plenty of attacks from our rivals throughout the day, before a 13km climb to the finish line with a maximum gradient of 9.6%.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Sprintcycling @TeamBahrainVictorious)
— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com
As the cobble races have come to a close, Bahrain Victorious returns to the hillier Ardennes.
The rolling courses with short and steep climbs in this part of Belgium await the peloton this Wednesday, April 20th, when the 86th edition of ‘La Flèche Wallonne’ takes place.
Starting in the town of Blegny in East Belgium, riders will take on 202.5km before the finish that has been a feature for the past 40 years, the Mur de Huy, with a brutal 1.3km ramp and 9.6%gradient.
The iconic climb is considered one of the toughest in cycling, and riders must tackle it two other times before the finish.
The heart of the race are the three loops around the town of Huy, including two further climbs, the Côte d’Ereffe (2.1km at 5%) and the Côte de Cherave (1.3km at 8.1%), besides the above-mentioned explosive Wall of Huy, for a total of 80km. The first 120km of the 202.5 km whole route is far from pan-flat, with some challenging short climbs that will test the legs if it doesn’t make a selection.
Usually, ‘La Flèche Wallonne’ sees climbers’ participation, although the winner has traditionally favoured the puncheur. Bahrain Victorious will line up a 7-man powerful squad, including experienced riders who already performed well in this Classic race. The specialists will be Wout Poels and Dylan Teuns, who was 3rd in 2017 in his home race: “Flèche is always a special race. 5 years ago, I was on this podium. Therefore, I’m motivated to try it again”.
Poels and Teuns will have stellar support for the race with the experience of Sanchez, Caruso, Haig, Mäder and Williams.
Gorazd Stangelj, Bahrain Victorious Sports Director: “Scrolling through the names of our riders, we see that we have a strong team, although the finish up to Mur de Huy will be tricky. For this reason, we aim to make a hard race and arrive at the finale with a selected reduced group, including our leader Wout Poels, and Dylan Teuns, who will be free to play his cards. We have riders who are in great shape, such as Damiano Caruso, who will be helpful to make a tight race. That’s what we hope for, especially if it will be a windy day.”
— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com
Astana Qazaqstan Team for La Flèche Wallonne 2022
Astana Qazaqstan Team will take part in the famous classic race La Flèche Wallonne, which will be held tomorrow on April 20th.
Rider roster: Leonardo Basso (ITA), Antonio Nibali (ITA), Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Yevgeniy Fedorov (KAZ), Simone Velasco (ITA), Stefan De Bod (RSA), Andrey Zeits (KAZ).
Sports director in race: Stefano Zanini (ITA).
Race information: https://www.la-fleche-wallonne.be/en/
Photo credit: @Gettysport
— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com
After a busy weekend with the second edition of Paris-Roubaix, Team BikeExchange-Jayco women are back in action with their ‘climbing’ group, ready to tackle the final two races of the Ardennes Classics, the iconic Flèche Wallonne Femmes and prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes.
The squad will line-up with a leading trio of Ane Santesteban, Amanda Spratt and Alex Manly, after all showing good climbing form in the previous races, with Spratt a former fifth place finisher in Flèche Wallonne and second place finisher in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Joining the trio will be Georgia Williams, Urska Zigart, Chelsie Tan (Flèche only) and Jess Allen (Liège only) with the team looking to play their cards right to be attentive and in moves with an aggressive style of racing.
The two one-day races round-out the busy northern spring classics, with Wednesday’s 133km event including three ascents of the famous Mur de Huy for the first time in the women’s race. A brutal 1.3km climb averaging 9.6% percent but with a maximum gradient of over 20%.
For Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, it is a slightly bumpier and lengthier route of 142km with seven main ‘cotes,’ culminating with the Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons just 14km from the finish line.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco line-up:
Jess Allen (AUS) * Liège only
Alex Manly (AUS)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Chelsie Tan (SIN) *Flèche only
Georgia Williams (NZL)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Urska Zigart (SLO)
“Flèche is always a race I look forward to. This year I think it will be one of the toughest editions yet. We race up the Mur de Huy three times for the first time ever and the final loops have many more climbs. The inclusion of the Cherave climb again makes the final harder in my opinion.
My form has been progressing race by race. I still need more time to hit my top form again, but I still come to the race with high motivation alongside a strong team. I am especially looking forward to having the amazing crowds back this year especially up the Mur! The atmosphere there is electric.
Ane and Alex in particular, have shown really strong climbing form in the last races so they will be key riders for us, and I am just looking forward to leaving everything I have out on the road in both races.”
“We bring the climbers back into the team for Flèche Wallonne and Liège, they are both always really hard races, but we go in with confidence after seeing the riders’ performances over the last weeks. Spratty is improving every single race she does, and we saw that Alex is in good shape after her rides in the last races like Amstel and Brabantse. The racing in general has been really aggressive so we expect the same on Wednesday, and we will look to be animated and, in the moves, but like always it will be a case of who has the best legs in those final few hundred metres on the Mur de Huy.”
2022 Race Details:
Wednesday, 20th April: Flèche Wallonne Femmes – Huy to Huy, 133km
Sunday, 24th April: Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes – Bastogne to Liège, 142.1km
Photo: Chris Auld
— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com
Julien Jurdie : « Get on the podium
« Our sporting goals for the Ardennes are quite simple: with the physical condition that Benoît Cosnefroy has recently displayed, we can hope to get on the podium and why not on the top step. For the past few weeks, he has shown that he is very strong and he will be supported by a committed team to position him in the best possible conditions. It is a complicated task but it is the right year to shine. He is capable of climbing onto the Flèche Wallonne podium again and he can confirm the good sensations he had at la Doyenne two years ago.
Mentally and physically, Benoît is equipped to succeed in these races. »Julien
With Benoît Cosnefroy, Paul Lapeir, and Mikaël Chérel, three riders who come from the Manche department will be at the start of the two Ardennes races.
— Kévin Bottin to ag2rcitroenteam.com