Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) took another top result at Fleche Wallonee yesterday where he finished in third, as his team-mate Julian Alaphilippe claimed second spot behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
As usual, the decisive moves came on the last ascent of the Mur de Huy. The Irishman launched his attack and forced the others to chase, before Alaphilippe – who was second last season at Flèche Wallonne – came to the forefront and accelerated as a response to the attack of Alejandro Valverde.
Despite putting in a brave and solid effort, Alaphilippe finished runner-up once again, just ahead of his teammate, making Etixx – Quick-Step the first team in 13 years to place two riders on the podium of the Belgian one-day race.
For the second time in the top three of Flèche Wallonne, Daniel Martin talked about the team’s strategy on Wednesday and tried to see the bright side of things: “We wanted to go for the victory, but second and third on the podium is still a great result for the team. We knew that we can’t beat Alejandro on the last 100 meters, so we tried to anticipate with 300 meters to go.”
“We rode aggressively and the tactic was for Julian to stay in the wheel of Valverde, while I tried to go a little bit from afar. I have a very good relationship with Julian and we work very well together. We have to be happy, but we’re also a bit sad, because we came here to get the win.”
“I felt good throughout the day, rode with confidence and stayed close to Dan during the race,” said Alaphilippe afterwards.
“Our tactic was to have Dan start his effort early, because he has the power for such an attack, while I waited behind Valverde. Dan was really incredible and did a fantastic job on the climb.”
“My legs were in pain after a really hard race, always up and down, without any respite. Of course, I am disappointed not to take the victory, but I’m also satisfied to come again on the podium at my second participation and especially to see how the team made the race on the Mur de Huy”, said Alaphilippe, who notched his best result of the season.