Today we will see the first of two Belgian Ardennes classics, La Flèche Wallonne (the Walloon Arrow) is held mid-week between the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The first of two Belgian Ardennes classics, La Flèche Wallonne (the Walloon Arrow) is held mid-week between the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. At one time, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège were run on successive days as “Le Weekend Ardennais”. The list of winners over the years include such legends as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Francesco Moser and in 2010 Cadel Evans, the reigning world champion at the time.
After seeing the men’s start last Sunday, we are going to see the women’s start. Women’s racing is still growing but you will notice the difference between the women’s and the men’s start. After the race start, we will have a picnic lunch where you can find a spot on the famous “Mur de Huy”. During the afternoon we will see the women’s race pass and their finish as well as the men’s race passing us twice before seeing the finish.
La Flèche Wallonne was created to boost the sales of a newspaper Les Sports during the 1930s and was first run in 1936. While perhaps not as revered as one of the Classic ‘Monuments’, the race is widely regarded as a Classic and became part of the UCI World Ranking calendar in 2009.
Like many cycle race events, the course has altered considerably over the years, both in route and length. The event was first run on roads from Tournai to Liège (growing from 236 km to 300 km – its longest ever distance – in 1938).
The riders have to climb the steep Mur de Huy 3 times, with several sections greater than 17%. The finish is at the top of the Mur de Huy after the third ascent.