La Flèche Wallonne

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La Flèche Wallonne
2018 La Flèche Wallonne
La Flèche Wallonne logo.svg
Race details
Date Late April
Region Wallonia, Belgium
English name Walloon Arrow
Local name(s) La Flèche Wallonne (in French)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type One-day
Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation
History
First edition 1936 (1936)
Editions 82 (as of 2018)
First winner  Philippe Demeersman (BEL)
Most wins  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) (5 wins)
Most recent  Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)

La Flèche Wallonne (pronounced [la flɛʃ walɔn], French for "The Walloon Arrow")[1] is a major 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 Kubler twice (in 1951 and 1952), Stan Ockers (1955), Eddy Merckx (1972), Moreno Argentin (1991) Davide Rebellin (2004) and Philippe Gilbert (2011).

History[edit]

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 Classic 'Monuments', the race is widely regarded as a Classic, 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.

Today, the 199.5 km 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.

Alejandro Valverde has won the race a record five times. Four riders have won the race three times, two of them Belgians, and two Italians. 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.

Winners[edit]

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

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
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
38  Belgium
18  Italy
9  France
8  Spain
2  Denmark
  Switzerland
1  Australia
 Germany
 Luxembourg
 Netherlands
 United States

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]