The mid-week La Flèche Wallonne Femmes brings with it the toughest final of the three Ardennes Classics, sending the most powerful climbers in the world on a victory chase atop the steep slopes of the Mur de Huy on April 19.
Fabiana Luperini won the inaugural edition of Flèche Wallonne Femmes in 1998, and the race now celebrates its 26th edition as the oldest of the three women’s events in the Ardennes Classics.
If the list of previous winners tells us anything, it’s that a breakaway rarely succeeds, and the race is won and lost on the Mur de Huy.
Now-retired Anna van der Breggen holds the record for the most wins, at a remarkable seven. Marianne Vos has won five times but will not be adding to the tally this year as she is not lining, which makes 2022 winner Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Suez) the only rider who has tasted victory atop the Mur de Huy among the field.
Cyclingnews highlights some of the biggest talking points ahead of Flèche Wallonne Femmes, and you can preview the major contenders and the route details for everything you need to know about the 127.3km race from Huy to the Mur de Huy.
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Deignan’s return strengthens Trek-Segafredo
Lizzie Deignan’s early return to the peloton will strengthen an already powerful Trek-Segafredo team during the Ardennes Classics, starting at Flèche Wallonne and then onto Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The British rider returns to racing eight months following the birth of her second child. Although she had initially anticipated starting her season at Le Vuelta Feminina on May 1, Trek-Segafredo confirmed that she would start 13 days earlier than expected at Flèche Wallonne due to some riders being unavailable at the moment.
SD Worx may have had a stronghold on the Spring Classic, winning 11 races, most recently at Amstel Gold Race with Demi Vollering, but Trek-Segafredo has proven a formidable rival. Shirin van Anrooij won Trofeo Alfredo Binda and finished 3rd at Amstel Gold Race, Elisa Longo Borghini finished third at Tour of Flanders, and Elisa Balsamo second at both Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Classic Brugge-De Panne.
Deignan gave birth to her first child in 2018 and then made a successful comeback to professional cycling during the Ardennes Classics in April 2019 and went on to win…
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