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Julian Alaphilippe wins Fleche Wallonne

Valverde misses out on fifth consecutive victory as Frenchman takes win

Joe Robinson
18 Apr 2018

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) broke the Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) grip winning the 2018 Fleche Wallonne. The Frenchman managed to outclimb his opponents on the Mur de Huy to take his first victory in the race. 

Expectation on Valverde was high as he looked to secure his fifth consecutive victory at the one-day classic however he was unable to match the acceleration of Alaphilippe on the final ascent to the line.

Valverde eventually finished second while Jelle Vandendert (Lotto-Soudal) managed to hold on from an early attack to take the final spot on the podium ahead of Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb).

This is Alaphilippe's biggest win to date as the Quick-Step man finally manages to come out on top in the Ardennes. He will now head in to Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege among the hot favourites for the Monument title.

Speaking at the finish, Alaphilippe spoke of his delight to finally get off the mark at Fleche Wallonne.

'It’s the third time I’ve ridden it, and the third time I’ve been on the podium — but this time as a winner. I thought each time that I could do it. I worked really, really hard.' said winner Alaphilippe.

This continues the Belgian team's stranglehold on the Spring Classics following victory at most of the cobble one-day races in March, most notably that of the Tour of Flanders with Niki Terpstra.

The final move, as usual, was left to the final ascent of the Mur de Huy. Alaphilippe followed an attack from Vandendert distancing Valverde by a bike length. By the time he had open up the gaskets, Alaphilippe had managed to gain enough of a gap to ride over the line alone.

Before the Huy with 5.5km to go, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) tried his luck from a smaller group with Tangel Kangert and Jack Haig following. They managed to work to a gap of 20 seconds but were ultimately caught before the final kilometre.

It seems as if the professional peloton had finally figured out the way to beat Valverde up the Huy with long range attacks and better positioning. Ultimately, it was Julian Alaphilippe who came out on top.

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