The Fleche Wallonne gets underway tomorrow and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are excited to be starting this great Ardennes Classic. The World Tour event will see the finish being placed atop the infamous Mur de Huy but only after 205km of racing.
Fleche Wallonne is the 2nd of the three Ardennes Classic races and the one which brings out the best explosive climbers in the world. The likes of Alejandro Valverde, Michal Kwiatkowski and Chris Froome are all expected to start. The Mur de Huy, a climb that is 1.3km long with a gradient averaging at 9.3% will be completed no less than 3 times, with the final ascent being the deciding climb to the finish-line. The total number of climbs, or cotes as they are referred to, in the race total at 11 with the majority coming in the final 90km of the race.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung don’t have a specialist for the race but will be looking to be a major player in the race nonetheless. Steve Cummings will headline our team with Jacques Janse van Rensburg looking to perform well too. Kristian Sbaragli, Serge Pauwels, Youcef Reguigui have all shown good form of late and will hope to be in contention for the finale.
Jay Thomson, Andreas Stauff and Songezo Jim will provide the muscle for our African team and the chances of one of the three riders being in the break are also pretty high. The action will be live on SuperSport channel 208 from 14:20 and the boys are keen to show off our colours at the front of the race so be sure to tune in.
Steve Cummings – Rider
I think the team needs to continue racing aggressively and try to be represented in the breakaway. This gives us more options for later in the race. Fleche normally comes to a sprint up the final climb and the gradient favours the lighter riders. Physically I feel good and I hope to deliver the best team performance we can.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
Fleche Wallonne is an exciting race with big names in the palmares. The atmosphere on the final climb is amazing and the race becomes even more important this year as the Mur will feature in the Tour de France this year. We want our African talents to continue showing improvement and if our performance can be similar to that of Amstel, I will be happy. We are not far away from the top of European cycling.