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Some absolutely brutal footage of Mattias Skjelmose freezing at Flèche Wallonne

Some absolutely brutal footage of Mattias Skjelmose freezing at Flèche Wallonne

Mattias Skjelmose had to abandon Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday due to the absolutely frigid temps–and the video of him is brutal to watch.

The pro men began racing in rainy and chilly temps–barely above freezing–with most riders wearing rain capes and leg warmers. Israel-Premier Tech’s Stephen Williams triumphed over the formidable Mur de Huy to secure victory in the Walloon Arrow. Similar to Tom Pidcock’s recent triumph in the Amstel Gold Race, Williams becomes the inaugural British champion of this race, marking a pinnacle moment in the Welshman’s professional journey.

It all comes down to the final climb

The course featured four 32-km finishing circuits, each incorporating the challenging Cote d’Ereffe (2.1 km at 5.4 percent) and the iconic Mur de Huy. Traditionally, the focus of this race lies in the intense showdown on the Mur de Huy—a 1.3-km ascent with an average gradient of 9.3 percent, peaking at a staggering 26 percent in one of its bends. Although the day commenced with fair weather, conditions gradually worsened as the race progressed.

As snowflakes began to descend, the pace at the front of the peloton was set by UAE-Emirates and Ineos, but EF Education-Easypost assumed control upon reaching Cote d’Ereffe II. Drenched riders struggled to maintain pace, gradually falling behind both the breakaway and the main field. The breakaway group was reeled in before the second ascent of Mur de Huy, where Groupama-FDJ dictated the tempo. Notably, Amstel Gold Race champion Tom Pidcock and runner-up Marc Hirschi began to lose ground.

Worsening weather

Søren Kragh Andersen seized an opportunity on the third lap.

In the midst of this, a majority of Lidl-Trek riders opted out of the punishing conditions to avoid the risk of hypothermia. Skjelmose can be seen at the side of the road, totally frozen, shivering violently. He couldn’t walk, let alone pedal. His team had to carry him to the car.

As the peloton approached Cote d’Ereffe, Andersen maintained a slender lead. In the trailing 35-rider group, Uno-X and Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale boasted…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…