Cycling News

Stephen Williams triumphs in miserably cold La Flèche Wallonne

Stephen Williams triumphs in miserably cold La Flèche Wallonne

Wednesday’ miserably wet and cold 88th running of La Flèche Wallonne saw the favourites washed away in the rain, and Israel-Premier Tech’s Stephen Williams conquer the mighty Mur de Huy to win the Walloon Arrow. Like Tom Pidcock in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, he’s the first British winner of the race. It’s the biggest victory

Nasty conditions at the Walloon Arrow.

The Course
The only sub-200-km race of Ardennes Week, La Flèche Wallonne contained four 37.5-km finishing circuits, each with Cote d’Ereffe (2.1 km of 5.4 percent) and the Mur de Huy. This race tends to be about the final clash on the Mur de Huy, a 1.3-km wall that averages 9.3 percent, but ramps up to 26 percent in one bend. The day started with decent weather but deteriorated.

The Riders

There was no Mathieu van der Poel starting in Charleroi and Tadej Pogačar wouldn’t defend his title. Amstel Gold Race victor Tom Pidcock was on the start line.

Michael Woods, who came third in 2020, fourth last season and in 2019, and sixth in 2021, missed the race for the first time since 2015.

The cold rain started soon before six breakaways entered the circuits with over a three-minute gap. By the second circuit, the fugitives’ lead was 1:30.

Snow started to fall. After a lot UAE-Emirates and Ineos work on the front of the peloton, EF Education-Easypost took over on Cote d’Ereffe II. Sodden riders dropped off the back of the breakaway and the field. The escapees were brought back before Mur de Huy II. There, with Groupama-FDJ at the controls. Amstel Gold Race winner Tom Pidcock and runner-up Marc Hirschi faded back.

Søren Kragh Andersen tried his luck on the third lap.

Meanwhile, most of Lidl-Trek left the sufferfest to avoid hypothermia.

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