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La Flèche Wallonne

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La Flèche Wallonne
Race details
DateLate April
RegionWallonia, Belgium
English nameWalloon Arrow
Local name(s)La Flèche Wallonne (in French)
CompetitionUCI World Tour
OrganiserAmaury Sport Organisation
Web sitewww.la-fleche-wallonne.be Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1936 (1936)
Editions88 (as of 2024)
First winner Philippe Demeersman (BEL)
Most wins Alejandro Valverde (ESP) (5 wins)
Most recent Stephen Williams (GBR)

La Flèche Wallonne (pronounced [la flɛʃ walɔn], French for "The Walloon Arrow")[1] is a men's professional cycle road race held in April each year in Wallonia, Belgium.

The first of two Belgian Ardennes classics, La Flèche Wallonne is today normally 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" (both races are organised by Amaury Sport Organisation). Only seven riders have achieved the "Ardennes double" by winning both races in the same year: Alejandro Valverde three times (in 2006, 2015 and 2017), Ferdi Kübler twice (in 1951 and 1952), Stan Ockers (1955), Eddy Merckx (1972), Moreno Argentin (1991) Davide Rebellin (2004) and Philippe Gilbert (2011).


The 2011 La Flèche Wallonne route

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 five Classic 'Monuments', the race is widely regarded as among the most significant spring Classics, alongside the Amstel Gold and Strade Bianche, and featured on the UCI Road World Cup and UCI ProTour. It 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), after which Mons became the starting point. From 1948, the race started at Charleroi; from 1960 the event ran in the opposite direction, starting at Liège and finishing at Charleroi (or, from 1965, Marcinelle). Some years have seen the event start and finish in the same place: Verviers (1974–1978) or Huy (1983–1985). From 1986, the race started in Spa and finished in Huy. Since 1990, the race distance has not exceeded 210 km.

Since its inception, it has been held every year except 1940, due to World War II. In 2020, it was rescheduled to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the event starts in Charleroi and heads east to Huy, where the riders do three laps of a tough circuit including the steep Mur de Huy (the Wall of Huy) climb, with several sections steeper than 15% and up to 26% on one section. The finish is at the top of the Mur after the third ascent, and ascent of 'the Mur' is considered the iconic and emblematic feature of the race.

Alejandro Valverde has won the race a record five times. Five riders have won the race three times, two of them Belgians, two Italians, and one Frenchman. Five riders have won the race in back to back years. Indeed, Belgian riders dominated the early years of the event, winning the first 11 editions of the race, and slightly less than half of the editions in total (38 victories up to and including 2011). Italians have won the event 18 times.


Year Country Rider Team
1936  Belgium Philemon De Meersman La Française
1937  Belgium Adolph Braeckeveldt Helyett
1938  Belgium Émile Masson Jr.
1939  Belgium Edmond Delathouwer Leducq-Mercier
1940 No race
1941  Belgium Sylvain Grysolle
1942  Belgium Karel Thijs
1943  Belgium Marcel Kint
1944  Belgium Marcel Kint
1945  Belgium Marcel Kint
1946  Belgium Désiré Keteleer Groene Leeuw
1947  Belgium Ernest Sterckx Alcyon–Dunlop
1948  Italy Fermo Camellini Métropole
1949  Belgium Rik Van Steenbergen Mercier–Hutchinson
1950  Italy Fausto Coppi Bianchi–Ursus
1951   Switzerland Ferdi Kübler Tebag
1952   Switzerland Ferdi Kübler Tebag
1953  Belgium Stan Ockers Peugeot–Dunlop
1954  Belgium Germain Derycke Alcyon–Dunlop
1955  Belgium Stan Ockers Elvé–Peugeot
1956  Belgium Richard Van Genechten Elvé–Peugeot
1957  Belgium Raymond Impanis Peugeot-BP
1958  Belgium Rik Van Steenbergen Elvé–Peugeot–Marvan
1959  Belgium Jos Hoevenaers Faema
1960  Belgium Pino Cerami Peugeot–BP–Dunlop
1961  Belgium Willy Vannitsen Gitane–Geminiani–Leroux–Dunlop
1962  Belgium Henri De Wolf Baratti–Milano
1963  France Raymond Poulidor Mercier–BP–Hutchinson
1964  Belgium Gilbert Desmet Wiel's–Groene Leeuw
1965  Italy Roberto Poggiali Ignis
1966  Italy Michele Dancelli Molteni
1967  Belgium Eddy Merckx Peugeot–BP–Michelin
1968  Belgium Rik Van Looy Willem II–Gazelle
1969  Belgium Jos Huysmans Dr.Mann–Grundig
1970  Belgium Eddy Merckx Faemino
1971  Belgium Roger De Vlaeminck Mars–Flandria
1972  Belgium Eddy Merckx Molteni
1973  Belgium André Dierickx Flandria–Shimano–Carpenter
1974  Belgium Frans Verbeeck Watney–Maes
1975  Belgium André Dierickx Rokado
1976  Netherlands Joop Zoetemelk Gan–Mercier–Hutchinson
1977  Italy Francesco Moser Sanson
1978  France Michel Laurent Peugeot–Esso–Michelin
1979  France Bernard Hinault Renault–Gitane–Campagnolo
1980  Italy Giuseppe Saronni Gis Gelati–Colnago
1981  Belgium Daniel Willems Capri Sonne–Koga Miyata
1982  Italy Mario Beccia Hoonved–Bottechia
1983  France Bernard Hinault Renault–Elf–Gitane
1984  Denmark Kim Andersen Coop–Hoonved
1985  Belgium Claude Criquielion Hitachi–Splendor–Sunair
1986  France Laurent Fignon Système U
1987  France Jean-Claude Leclercq Toshiba–Look
1988  Germany Rolf Gölz Superconfex–Yoko
1989  Belgium Claude Criquielion Hitachi–Merckx–Mavic
1990  Italy Moreno Argentin Ariostea
1991  Italy Moreno Argentin Ariostea
1992  Italy Giorgio Furlan Ariostea
1993  Italy Maurizio Fondriest Lampre
1994  Italy Moreno Argentin Gewiss–Ballan
1995  France Laurent Jalabert ONCE
1996  United States Lance Armstrong Motorola
1997  France Laurent Jalabert ONCE
1998  Denmark Bo Hamburger Casino–Ag2r
1999  Italy Michele Bartoli Mapei–Quick-Step
2000  Italy Francesco Casagrande Vini Caldirola–Sidermec
2001  Belgium Rik Verbrugghe Lotto–Adecco
2002  Belgium Mario Aerts Lotto–Adecco
2003  Spain Igor Astarloa Saeco
2004  Italy Davide Rebellin Gerolsteiner
2005  Italy Danilo Di Luca Liquigas–Bianchi
2006  Spain Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne–Illes Balears
2007  Italy Davide Rebellin Gerolsteiner
2008  Luxembourg Kim Kirchen Team High Road
2009  Italy Davide Rebellin Diquigiovanni–Androni
2010  Australia Cadel Evans BMC Racing Team
2011  Belgium Philippe Gilbert Omega Pharma–Lotto
2012  Spain Joaquim Rodríguez Team Katusha
2013  Spain Daniel Moreno Team Katusha
2014  Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2015  Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2016  Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2017  Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2018  France Julian Alaphilippe Quick-Step Floors
2019  France Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck–Quick-Step
2020   Switzerland Marc Hirschi Team Sunweb
2021  France Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck–Quick-Step
2022  Belgium Dylan Teuns Team Bahrain Victorious
2023  Slovenia Tadej Pogačar UAE Team Emirates
2024  Great Britain Stephen Williams Israel–Premier Tech

Multiple winners[edit]

Riders in italics are still active

Wins Rider Editions
5  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 2006, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
3  Marcel Kint (BEL) 1943, 1944, 1945
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1967, 1970, 1972
 Moreno Argentin (ITA) 1990, 1991, 1994
 Davide Rebellin (ITA) 2004, 2007, 2009
 Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) 2018, 2019, 2021
2  Ferdinand Kübler (SUI) 1951, 1952
 Stan Ockers (BEL) 1953, 1955
 Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL) 1949, 1958
 André Dierickx (BEL) 1973, 1975
 Bernard Hinault (FRA) 1979, 1983
 Claude Criquielion (BEL) 1985, 1989
 Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 1995, 1997

Wins per country[edit]

Wins Country
39  Belgium
18  Italy
11  France
8  Spain
3  Switzerland
2  Denmark
1  Australia
 Great Britain
 United States


  1. ^ "Spring Classics: How to win cycling's hardest one-day races". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 March 2015.

External links[edit]