Over the past four years, Dan Martin has come close to victory at Flèche Wallonne on three occasions, finishing fourth (2013), second (2014) and third (2016). A specialist on the type of punchy climb used at the end of the race – the Mur de Huy – the 30-year-old, who so far this season has racked up a stage win at Volta ao Algarve and a top three overall at the prestigious Paris-Nice, will look to be once again up there with the very best and try to become the first ever Irishman to claim the victory in the race run for the first time eight decades ago.
One of cycling’s most steepest and punishing finishes, the 1300m-long Mur de Huy has welcomed the riders since 1983 and has become the race’s main point of reference, witnessing all kinds of winners, from riders who attacked early on the climb to those who waited for the final 300 metres, just after its famous S-bend, which usually sees the hopes of many contenders take a big blow.
Averaging 9.6%, but ramping up to 25% in some sections, the Mur de Huy will come at the end of a 204.5km-long race which will set off from Binche and have the riders take on a total of nine climbs, including Côte de Cherave (1300 meters, 8.1%), which comes just before the Mur and can bring a twist in the race, as it could inspire some riders to throw caution to the wind and surprise the peloton with an attack.
If such a move won’t go all the way to the line and everything will come back together by the foot of the iconic Mur de Huy, positioning in the bunch and a perfectly-timed attack will be paramount for those vying for the win.
Gianluca Brambilla, Laurens De Plus, Dries Devenyns, Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels, Maximilian Schachmann, Brabantse Pijl runner-up Petr Vakoc and Martin Velits will round out Quick-Step Floors’ team for the mid-week classic, the penultimate World Tour one-day race of the month of April.
Quick Step Floors team for La Flèche Wallonne (BEL) 1.UWT
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Laurens De Plus (BEL)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Bob Jungels (LUX)
Daniel Martin (IRL)
Maximilian Schachmann (GER)
Petr Vakoc (CZE)
Martin Velits (SVK)