Today the peloton returns to Belgium with 196 KM of racing for La Flèche Wallonne that will culminate with the finish on Mur de Huy.
Lotto Soudal had to make some changes to their squad for La Flèche Wallonne after the crashes they suffered during Amstel Gold Race. Pim Lighart, Marcel Sieberg, Tiesj Benoot and Jurgen Roelandts do not feature for today`s race. The first three crashed last Sunday and were not fit for today.
However, the team leaders remain unchanged as Tim Wellens, Tony Gallopin and Jelle Vanendert are the main contenders for Lotto Soudal just like in Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race. Alongside them, riders like Thomas De Gendt, Tomasz Marczynski and Tosh Van der Sande can attack or join a break.
Sport Director Herman Frison had his say on his team`s chances:
“If we get the same scenario as previous years, it will be a sprint with a large group on the Mur de Huy. We’ll do everything we can to avoid this, but it won’t be an easy task though. Riders such as Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez like it that the race ends with a
sprint on the Mur de Huy, it’s a finish which suits them very well. But we can try to attack early with Tosh, Thomas or Tomasz so the other teams need to ride at the front of the peloton. In the finale we can count on Tim, Tony and Jelle. Hopefully several other riders from other teams are able to join us and then there are a lot of possibilities for us. The team already showed in the past few races that it can ride aggressively, I’m sure that we can do this again in the coming races.”
The course for this edition has slightly changed and Herman Frison made a sum up of it:
“The course is a bit different compared to previous years indeed. The riders start in Marche-en-Famenne, therefore they’ll ride to Huy from another direction. The Côte de Solières (a climb of 4.3 kilometres with an average gradient of four per cent, LTS) is situated on the course this year but it won’t determine the race. The final lap of 29 KM will be very important, there you need to be attentive at the front all the time and it will be a nervous situation.” said Herman.
Lotto Soudal line up for La Fleche Wallone: Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin, Tomasz Marczynski, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
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