Race report

Puncheurs and climbers do battle on the Mur de Huy

La Flèche Wallonne

Today saw the peloton take on some midweek Ardennes action at Flèche Wallonne and its famously steep Mur de Huy finale. It was a ferocious start to the day with numerous attacks which the team were involved in before the elastic eventually snapped after 30 kilometres and an eight-rider group got clear.

With all Team DSM riders in the peloton, focus switched to saving energy for the tough finale to come. As the race entered the final 30 kilometres the bunch had thinned down but the breakaway still held onto a good advantage, which ensured a strong pace. After some good positioning work by Mark Donovan, Ilan Van Wilder put in several good attacks  on the Côte du chemin des Gueuses and briefly managed to escape in a strong trio of riders. Yet, with more counter attacks in the peloton behind, Van Wilder’s move was brought to heel and the peloton was all together as they charged towards the Mur de Huy.

As the famous climb’s stinging gradients began to bite, riders lost contact with the peloton as a strong pace was set at the head of the race. Marco Brenner rode a very well measured effort up the steep ascent, passing those who started too quickly, and being the first rider home for the team on the day; a very impressive effort for his first WorldTour race.

“We wanted to try and attack today,” explained Brenner after the finish. “Ilan was there in the final and tried to ride aggressively on the second last climb but the peloton didn’t let him get away. Then the guys positioned me and I tried to go for a result on the Mur. I wasn’t able to follow the big names but we can still be happy with how we rode today; it was a nice team effort.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Deceuninck - Quick Step 4:36:25 400
2 ROGLIČ Primož Team Jumbo-Visma ,, 320
3 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team 0:06 260
24 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 0:36 16
50 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 1:18 8
53 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 1:30 4
54 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 1:35 4
61 VAN WILDER Ilan Team DSM 1:59 -
68 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 2:35 -
1005 HAGA Chad Team DSM -04:36:25 -