Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) rode the perfect race to claim the victory at today’s La Fleche Wallonne. The Spainard timed his final attack on the Mur de Huy to perfection as he raced past Daniel Martin (Garmin) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) with 100 meters to go.
The early racing saw 3 riders ride clear of the peloton, Jonothan Clarke (United Healthcare), Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) and Preben van Hecke (Topsport) were the escapees of the day. They would enjoy just over 9 minutes of freedom before a joint effort from a number of teams began to reel them in.
While a number of riders were eliminated after numerous crashes during the race, the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders kept out of as much of the trouble as they could and were able to arrive at the final 50km with still 5 riders left in the reduced peloton. The race would proceed to explode up the second ascent of the Mur de Huy where Linus Gerdemann made it over the top with the first group while Jaco Venter and Merhawi Kudus were in the 2nd group.
The pace would not let up from here on in as Katusha and Movistar drove the peloton all the way around and back to the foot of the final ascent of the Mur de Huy, where the final battle was had. Merhawi Kudus would be Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s first rider across the line in 74th, 5 minutes down. Linus Gerdemann and Jaco Venter would finish just a handful of seconds behind our young Eritrean.
1st – Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
2nd – Daniel Martin (Garmin)
3rd – Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – QuickStep)
74th – Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka)
Staff: Jens Zemke (Directeur Sportif), Bastian Buffel (Soigneur), Hagen Bernutz (Soigneur), Jim Bryan (Mechanic), Werrner Lenk (Mechanic),