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74th La Flèche Wallonne - Pre-Race Comments
By Staff
Date: 4/20/2010
74th La Flèche Wallonne - Pre-Race Comments

74th La Flèche Wallonne - Pre-Race Comments
Omega Pharma Rider Change, Luis León Sánchez,  Lampre-Farnese Vini, Quick Step, HTC - 'No Leader', Cervélo TestTeam, Ag2r la Mondiale, Katusha, Team Sky & more...

Omega Pharma-Lotto
Bakelants and De Greef at the Ardennaises

That Icelandic volcano has influenced the Omega Pharma - Lotto selections. Jan Bakelants and Francis De Greef have interrupted their pre-Giro training, and they will race the Ardennaises..

They will replace Olivier Kaisen and Jurgen Van Goolen for Flèche Wallonne as well as for Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Marc Sergeant
"We shall end the spring time races with Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the latter race having been especially marked on Phil's programme. It has always been has dream to climb on the highest step of the podium in his native area, and this year more than ever. Our leader will start the 260 kilometres of "la Doyenne" through the Ardennes without undue pressure, without having to fear anyone. His native Remouchamps is awaiting the local hero; over 10.000 fans are expected on the ramps of the local "Redoute".

Philippe will also Flèche Wallonne on coming Wednesday, as well as our French revelation Jean-Christophe Péraud. Jean-Christophe has done very well at all races till now, and he certainly has a place amongst the outsiders for the final climb at Mur de Huy.

Flèche Wallonne
Selection Omega Pharma -

• Aerts Mario
• Bakelants Jan
• Brandt Christophe
• De Greef Francis
• Gilbert Philippe
• Moreno Fernandez Daniel
• Péraud Jean-Christophe
• Van den Broeck Jurgen
Directeur Sportifs: Redant Hendrik & De Wolf Dirk

Luis León Sánchez comes back in the Classics
Luis León Sánchez, arrived yesterday morning in Liège after a long travel by car from Murcia, trained today on the route of the Flèche Wallonne which  starts tomorrow from Charleroi and finishes a few hours later at the top of the Mur of Huy.

Luis León Sánchez in the Netherlands

" It is a pity we could not take part in the Amstel Gold Race but at least we are in Liège now,  and the only thing we have to do is concentrate on the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, two of the most beautiful races on the world calendar,"  explained the Caisse d’Epargne rider.

“On Sunday we made a long training session before we got in the car to travel to Belgium. Now we are here, very motivated to start in the race tomorrow.”

“The first hour will be very important in tomorrow race to know how we recovered from that long journey. I hope everything will be all right and I will for sure be at the start with the intention of achieving a great race together with team-mate Alejandro Valverde.”

Luis Leon Sanchez with two school pupils cycling Mula
Photo courtesy Prensa Luis Leon Sanchez

“It won’t be easy for us because riders like Gilbert, Cunego, the brothers Schleck, and others who did very well in the Amstel are more favorites than we are because they already have the rhythm of the Dutch classic in the legs. We nevertheless will be there in front fighting on a new route that will make the race more nervous and selective.”

 Lampre-Farnese Vini
Preparing for Fleche Wallone

Two hours and thirty minutes of training was today's program for Lampre-Farnese Vini in team on the Limburg roads to prepare for tomorrow's of Fleche Wallone.

Damiano Cunego in Amstel Gold    Photo © 2010 Lampre/Farnese Vini

Damiano Cunego (photo) will be the captain of the team directed by Brent Copeland; the Italian cyclist on Sunday was 6th in Amstel Gold Race and he was on the podium of the last two edition of Fleche Wallone.

With Cunego there will be team mates Matteo Bono, Francesco Gavazzi, David Loosli, Manuele Mori, Daniele Pietropolli, Daniele Righi and Alessandro Spezialetti.

D.S. Brent Copeland...
"The approach to this appointment is going well. On Monday we rested in order to recover our energy after the long journey from Italy and after the efforts of Amstel Gold Race, on Tuesday we performed a good training under a beautiful sun. In Fleche Wallone Cunego showed that he could be competitive: the after effects of gastroenteritis are decreasing and his  morale is high after the good performance in Amstel Gold Race. I think that the whole team is ready for a good race, Gavazzi's too".

Damiano Cunego...
"I'm satisfied about my performance in Amstel Gold Race. I knew my fitness was not at the top, but the grinta was the one necessary to battle in the lead of the race. Two days have passed and I feel better, my morale is increasing, also thanks to the support by my team mates. Fleche Wallone is a charming but very tough race: Mur de Huy doesn't give you a chance if your legs are not full of energy. There will be many opponents that could aim to the victory, I hope that I'll be able to realize an interesting performance".

Team Primed for a "ough Day in the Office" at Fleche Wallone.

HTC-Columbia is prepared for a much tougher course than usual in Wednesday's edition of the Fleche Wallone race, the first of the Ardennes Classics in Belgium.

"It's going to be very different because the second-last ascent of the Mur De Huy climb is much closer to the finish than in previous years," explained  HTC-Columbia's sports director Valerio Piva. "That means breakaways will have a much better chance of getting away on the second time up the Mur de Huy climb and staying away. We won't have 50 riders at the foot of the climb for the third and final ascent liike we've seen in other years. For HTC-Columbia's riders, that's good because they'll be trying to get in a long-distance attack."

No Chosen Leader
HTC-Columbia will not be racing with one specific leader, "rather everybody will have their chance. We'll be trying to play out all sorts of options," added Piva.

The recent closure of many European airports has seen some HTC-Columbia riders taking on long-distance drives in order to reach the race. "Rasmus [Guldhammer] has driven up from Italy and Craig [Lewis] came up by car from Spain. It's been quite a trip for both of them, but they'll have one day to rest before the race itself."

HTC-Columbia for Fleche Wallone:
Michael Albasini (Swi)
Rasmus Guldhammer (Den)
Craig Lewis (USA)
Maxime Monfort (Bel)
Marco Pinotti (Ita)
Martin Velits (Svk)
Peter Velits (Svk).

Team Saxo Bank
Spring Classics coming to an end...

All things come to an end and time is running out for the spring classics where Team Saxo Bank has dominated the French and Belgian roads with aggressive riding and beautiful victories. Wednesday 21st of April, the calendar presents the second to last in the series of major one-day races when Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck, Jens Voigt, Jakob Fuglsang, Nicki Sørensen, André Steensen, Laurent Didier and Jonas Aaen Jørgensen are on the start line to take on the La Flèche Wallonne.

The 74th edition of the race is a stretch of 198 kilometers between Charleroi and Huy where the finish line is at the top of the feared climb, Mur de Huy and with an average gradient of 9.3 per cent over 1.3 km, the final climb is a crucial one. The dreaded hill is located on the circuit which the field passes three times and before the pack in many ways hit the wall for the last time they have crawled across several other hurdles of the same type as Mur de Huy.

After Philippe Gilbert's (Lotto) unique demonstration of raw power during Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, he is naturally among the absolute favorites for Wednesday's showdown. But the Katusha duo, Sergio Ivanov and Alexandre Kolobnev will inevitably play a key role when the last watts are forced through the pedals over the steep uphill finish with thousands of Belgian supporters on each side of the road. But the Team Saxo Bank brothers, Andy and Frank Schleck will definitely try to interfere in the always exciting finale in Huy.

Team Katusha
Tomorrow Team Katusha will be at the Flèche-Wallonne with the following riders:

Rodriguez, Ivanov, Kolobnev, Kirchen (He returns to the race after his recent under-saddle problems), Mazzanti, Klimov, Vorganov and Vandenbergh.

“We have a strong Team will try to do well” said sport director Serge Parsani “we did a good Amstel Gold Race where we were only missing a little bit of good-luck. Tomorrow we try it again”.

Team Sky
After a tough day in the saddle at the Amstel Gold Race, many of the same riders will be making the short trip down to Belgium for more punishment on the second of three quickfire Ardennes Classics - La Flèche Wallonne.

Sky Roster
Indeed, four of the eight-man Team Sky contingent that battled it out in Holland will be on hand again with Kjell Carlström, Chris Froome, Simon Gerrans and Lars-Petter Nordhaug joining forces with Sylvain Calzati, Steve Cummings, Thomas Löfkvist and Bradley Wiggins.

Although not quite as long or as undulating as its predecessor, the 'Walloon Arrow' still poses a number of gruelling sections, with three trips up the fabled Mur de Huy just before the finish as hard-hitting as anything the others can muster.

TV Coverage: Live on British Eurosport and Eurosport HD between 1300-1530 with highlights at 2200-2300. Viewers can also watch live online at

Ag2r la Mondiale
Flèche Wallonne & Liège-Bastogne-Liège
La composition de l’équipe AG2R LA MONDIALE.

Flèche Wallonne &  Liège-Bastogne-Liège

· Nicolas ROCHE
· Dimitri CHAMPION
· Maxime BOUET
· Blel KADRI
· Christophe RIBLON
· Hubert DUPONT
Directeurs sportifs
· Julien JURDIE
· Vincent LAVENU (Liège-Bastogne-Liège)

Cervélo TestTeam
A Week of Racing and then Some...

In the last week we’ve seen Theo Bos’ (NED) great performance at the Vuelta a Castilla y León and the women’s team primed for the next World Cup event that takes place this week with the La Fléche Wallonne Femmes. Carlos Sastre (ESP) will not compete in La Flèche Wallonne as he couldn’t arrive early enough for the optimal preparation in Belgium due to the flight problems. He will now be focused on Liège-Bastogne-Liège and hoping that the flight problems will be solved by then.

Cervélo TestTeam starts the week tomorrow with “La Fléche Wallonne”, the first of the two Ardenne classics in Belgium. The event starts traditionally in Charleroi and heads east to Huy, where the riders do three laps of a tough circuit including the famous and very steep Mur de Huy climb, with several sections steeper than 15%. The finish is at the top of the Mur after the third ascent.

The Flèche Wallonne is followed by Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 25, often called La Doyenne (the oldest) because of its status as one of the five monuments of the European professional road cycling calendar. The course follows a straightforward 95 km route from Liège to Bastogne, and then a winding 163 km course back to Liège. The second half contains most of the climbs such as Côte de Stockeu, Côte de la Redoute and Côte de Saint-Nicolas before finishing in the northern Liège suburb of Ans. In both competitions, Cervélo TestTeam will be at the start with a strong team including Xavier Tondo (ESP) and Xavier Florencio (ESP).

Tour de Romandie Squad
Following the last Ardenne race, the men’s team participates in the Tour de Romandie (April 27-May 2) in the western part of Switzerland.

”All in all, from what I’ve seen, it will be a hard race with a lot of climbs,” explained Marcello Albasini, sports director. “Davide Appollonio (ITA) will be our key rider in the sprint stages. The two last stages will be pretty hard and for these, we will support Stefan Denifl (AUT). Stefan could be also our wild card for a good overall result, depending on the time trial result. For a couple of our riders, the Tour de Romandie will be the last race for them to prepare and to get themselves into great shape for the Giro d’Italia.”

Cervélo TestTeam Squads
 La Flèche Wallonne (BEL) HIS

Davide Appollonio (ITA)
Philip Deignan (IRL)
Xavier Florencio (ESP)
Volodimir Gustov (UKR)
Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU)
Xavier Tondo (ESP)
Marcel Wyss (SUI)Sports Director Jens Zemke (GER)
Philippe Mauduit (FRA)

 Liège - Bastogne - Liège (BEL) HIS
Philip Deignan (IRL)
Xavier Florencio (ESP)
Volodimir Gustov (UKR)
Ted King (USA)
Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU)
Xavier Tondo (ESP)
Carlos Sastre (ESP)
Marcel Wyss (SUI)
Sports Director Jens Zemke (GER)
Philippe Mauduit (FRA)

Tour de Romandie (SUI) UPT
Davide Appollonio (ITA)
Iñigo Cuesta (ESP)
Stefan Denifl (AUT)
Volodimir Gustov (UKR)
Roger Hammond (GBR)
Joaquín Novoa (ESP)
Oscar Pujol (ESP)
Marcel Wyss (SUI)
Sports Director Marcello Albasini (SUI)
Philippe Mauduit (FRA)

Team Quick Step
Recon Fleche Wallone

Today the  riders from Team Quick Step carried out a reconnaissance training on the Flèche Wallonne route scheduled for Wednesday.

“We decided to do this recon since the race route has been changed as of this year - explains Sport Director Rik Verbrugghe, winner of the 2001 Flèche-Wallonne - "We’ll perform a round of the final circuit with the climb on the wall of Huy. It was a good opportunity for the riders to familiarise themselves with the route and get a handle on this legendary climb.”

All the Team Quick Step riders selected for this race will take part in the training, except for Francesco Reda who will join the rest of the team tomorrow evening due to the noted air traffic problems caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash.

Belgian Dries Devenyns will also be a part of the group. “The consequences of the fall during Amstel Gold Race seem to be less dire than predicted. I’m still a little sore in my neck and shoulders but it’s just muscular pain that shouldn’t compromise my participation in the Flèche-Wallonne”, explains Dries Devenyns.

Quick Step Riders Fleche Wallone
Carlos Barredo
Dario Cataldo
Dries Devenyns
Addy Engels
Jerôme Pineau
Francesco Reda
Kevin Seeldraeyers
Jurgen Van De Walle
Reserve: Kevin De Weert
D.s.: Rik Verbrugghe

Alejandro Valverde
Preparing for Fleche and Liege
launches a new forum and newsletter service in his website

On the eve of the Flèche Wallonne, his next objective, Alejandro Valverde trained this morning together with his Caisse d’Epargne team-mates.

“We went to reconnoitre the last seventy kilometers of the new route of the Flèche Wallonne. With the second passage on the top of the Mur of Huy at only 30 km from the finish and the Ereffe hill at 11, the race should be harder and most selective than the previous years. I believe this is a good point for our team”, when he was back at his hotel close to Liège.

Alejandro Valverde thought the Belgian classics were a good opportunity to launch a new formula for the “Fan’s corner” available on his official website

His fans will now be able to participate more actively in the forum, download exclusive documents and receive a newsletter which will inform them each time a new information is available on the website: news, picture, multimedia, videos, articles in the blog, etc.

Alejandro Valverde lanza un nuevo foro y servicio de newsletter en su página web
En vísperas de la Flecha Valona, próximo objetivo del corredor murciano, Alejandro Valverde entrenó por la mañana acompañado por sus compañeros de Caisse d’Epargne.

“Hemos reconocido los últimos setenta kilómetros del nuevo recorrido de la Flecha Valona. Con el segundo paso por el Muro de Huy a solo unos 30 km de meta y la cota de Ereffe a 11, la carrera es más dura y más selectiva que los años anteriores. Creo que esto es un elemento a favor de nuestro equipo”, comentó Alejandro a la vuelta en su hotel situado en las afueras de Lieja.

Alejandro Valverde quiso aprovechar su estancia en Bélgica para lanzar un nuevo “Rincón del fan” en su página oficial

En él sus seguidores podrán disfrutar del foro, de la descarga de archivos exclusivos y de un nuevo servicio de newsletter, donde podrán ser los primeros en enterarse de las últimas noticias, fotos, especiales del Multimedia, vídeos, artículos del blog, etc.

Alejandro Valverde lance un nouveau forum et un service de newsletter sur son site internet
A la veille de la Flèche Wallonne, son prochain objectif, Alejandro Valverde s’est entraîné pendant la matinée en compagnie de ses coéquipiers de la Caisse d’Epargne.

Nous avons reconnu les soixante-dix derniers kilomètres du nouveau parcours de la Flèche Wallonne. Avec le second passage au sommet du Mur de Huy à une trentaine de kilomètres seulement de l’arrivée et la côte d’Ereffe à onze bornes, la course devrait être plus dure et plus sélective que les années précédentes. Cet élément devrait jouer en faveur de notre équipe”, a expliqué Alejandro en rentrant à son hôtel situé dans la périphérie liégeoise.

Alejandro Valverde a voulu profiter de sa présence en Belgique pour lancer un nouveau “Coin du supporter” sur son site officiel

Ses supporters pourront tout en continuant à utiliser le forum également télécharger des documents exclusifs et recevoir une newsletter qui leur permettra d’avoir accès en exclusivité aux dernières nouvelles, photos, multimédia spécial, vidéos, articles du blog, etc.

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