Dan Martin finished runner-up at Flèche Wallonne for the second time in his career today, and afterwards said that the result left him optimistic ahead of Sunday’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège which he won in 2013. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), emerged victorious today taking a record fifth win at the Belgian classic.
Before the riders tackled the legendary Mur de Huy for the third and final time on Wednesday’s race, Bob Jungels animated the race, attacking as the peloton crested the iconic climb for the second time and bridging to lone leader Alessandro De Marchi (BMC).
After leaving Côte d’Ereffe behind, the 24-year-old Luxembourger put his time trial skills to work and dropped the Italian on the descent, opening a 50-second gap on the bunch.
Jungels , who was prominent also during last Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, won by teammate Philippe Gilbert, put in a valiant effort as he gave his best to bring the race to life and make the peloton work hard in order to catch him halfway up the Mur de Huy.
On the 1300m-long hill averaging 9.6%, it was a waiting game until 250 meters to go, when David Gaudu (FDJ) made a move, which drew a response from defending champion Alejandro Valverde who then surged clear to take the win.
Dan Martin was the best of the rest at the top of the Mur de Huy, coming one second behind the winner and notching up his sixth top-3 finish at a World Tour one-day race.
“This year’s Flèche Wallonne was strange, because we had a strong headwind on the Mur and the peloton was very nervous,” said Martin. “That made for a messy finish and as a result I didn’t have the best position on the climb, where my plan was to take Alejandro’s wheel. Although things weren’t perfect and I didn’t have good legs today, I managed to come back and grab second place at the end of the race, and this makes me look with optimism to Liège–Bastogne–Liège.”