La Fleche Wallone is the 2nd classic of the Ardennes races and the 196km UCI World Tour event takes place tomorrow. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will start the 80th edition of La Fleche Wallone with ambitions to animate the race.
When you talk about La Fleche Wallone, automatically the conversation becomes centered around the Mur de Huy. While the Huy is only 1.3km in length, the famed climb averages 9.6% in gradient with a maximum pitch of 25%. Riders will have to climb the hill on two occasions (km 101, km 167) before they reach the Mur de Huy for the third and final climb up to the finish line.
While the Mur de Huy is certainly the centre piece of La Fleche Wallone, there are a total of 12 noted climbs throughout the race, ensuring that only the strongest riders will contest for the victory. Our African Team will start with a strong climbing squad led by Serge Pauwels, who already showed some good signs at the weekend’s Amstel Gold Race.
As the short and steep Mur does not typically suit the climbing characteristics of Pauwels, the Belgian will be joined by Steve Cummings, Natnael Berhane, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Youcef Reguigui, Omar Fraile and Igor Anton to increase our African Teams chances of achieving a top result.
Natnael Berhane – Rider
I have done this race once before and I look forward to competing again. The Mur is a really tough climb and you must have good legs and be in a good position to do well. We have a strong team and we will ride for the strongest rider on the day. We must deliver him to a good position for the Mur otherwise you don’t really have a chance. In some years, the riders walk up the Mur and then there is no way through so it is important to start in the front.