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2018 La Fleche Wallonne

Page 3 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jul 16, 2010
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Tonton said:
In the '70s and '80s, GW and FW were every bit as important as LBL. The monument thing has redistributed the cards in many minds, and for the younger fans, that's all they know. Nothing wrong with that, it's today's reality and there's no arguing about it. But this exchange needs some prospective IMO. Having FW called a semi-classic is not right. It makes my stomach sick, I'm going to pull a Dumoulin. Come on Pistolero...

For me a classic must be over 230KM long at least. And races that take place during workdays are obviously far less important than races that take place during the weekend, that's just common sense. Even in GTs they often put the most anticipated stages during weekends (and the Tour is the most important GT, partially because it takes place during the Summer when a lot of people have time off).

These days FW has fallen below even relatively young races like Strade Bianche and E3 Harelbeke.
 
Re: Re:

Durden93 said:
El Pistolero said:
Leinster said:
El Pistolero said:
Pantani_lives said:
I can understand that a climber wants to save energy and wait for the final climb. However last year they made it too easy for Valverde. The others should work together to form a small group in the final, instead of launching some pointless solo attacks. I like the explosive uphill finish, but last year I was disappointed that even on the Mur de Huy they didn't go hard. Even on the steepest part the favorites were still watching each other and Valverde had an easy sprint in the last 200m. They should at least go full in the final 500m.

Most of them probably see FW as just a training ride for LBL.
I’m pretty sure everyone sees it as a classic in its own right, and a top 10 at Flèche is a career result for a lot of them. It’s just so hard to beat Valverde.

How much of a lead would anyone guess that a break (be it a group or a solo) would need at the foot of the Mur to succeed? Entirely hypothetical obviously, but I feel like we’ve seen minute+ advantages wiped out in the <5 minutes it takes to get to the top.

It depends on the rider. I'm always infuriated that only one rider gets away (like Jungels last year, or Wellens the year before). If a group of 3 or 4 strong riders could get away then a minute or even less would probably be enough. Teams have been reduced to seven riders as well, hopefully it will have some impact. For me the perfect team size for a classic would be 6 however.

Depends on the class of the rider. Every team except movistar sure try to get a man up the rode before the Mur. I think if you have riders at the foot with 30 seconds it’s possible, so probably around 1:30 after descending the St Nicholas. Wellens and Jungels both blew up early, but they also put a lot of work in on the early flat + climb. If you have a small group they can save themselves some energy and 30 seconds might do it.


Jungles had about a 30 second lead last year when he hit the bottom of the Mur de Huy and got caught fairly quickly on the climb. A group probably still needs a little more than 30 seconds at the bottom of the Mur de Huy.
 
El Pistolero said:
Tonton said:
In the '70s and '80s, GW and FW were every bit as important as LBL. The monument thing has redistributed the cards in many minds, and for the younger fans, that's all they know. Nothing wrong with that, it's today's reality and there's no arguing about it. But this exchange needs some prospective IMO. Having FW called a semi-classic is not right. It makes my stomach sick, I'm going to pull a Dumoulin. Come on Pistolero...

For me a classic must be over 230KM long at least. And races that take place during workdays are obviously far less important than races that take place during the weekend, that's just common sense. Even in GTs they often put the most anticipated stages during weekends (and the Tour is the most important GT, partially because it takes place during the Summer when a lot of people have time off).

These days FW has fallen below even relatively young races like Strade Bianche and E3 Harelbeke.
I hear you and agree. And I blame the organizers at large for the current situation. Not the race, not the riders who win it. '84 TdF stage 21, 320 km hilly stage. The day before a 51 km ITT. Frank Hoste wins it. Stage 9 was 338 km from Nantes to Bordeaux, Jan Raas won. The same year, the FW was 246 km long.

The standards, the sport, everything has changed. So while I agree with your point for the most part, I can't blame the race or its winner. And I don't mean to swing my cane and regret the good old times. Cycling has changed, not always for the better. That's that.
 
Five years ago Valverde had a lot more opposition in this race. I agree with others in that this race has gone backwards in prestige compared to some of the newer ones. It is too predictable and also relatively short and the route never seems to break up the field. Still I will watch it to see if Valverde can be beaten but the odds are against it.
 
Re:

Jungle Cycle said:
If Krueziger+Gaspa can do it at AGR the kids will do it at FW..
hope Gaudu, Oomen, Latour, Martinez, Latour, Mas, some of them to surprise the favourites and top10..
wish Bernal was here too...


AGR has a flat finish. Fleche Wallone has a climb up a wall for a finish. Basically if you aren't a puncheur you'd better about close to a 2 minute lead when you hit the bottom of the final climb up the Mur de Huy or you aren't going to hold on. We're talking a climb that is as steep as 20% in some areas and you have to measure your climbing. Also remember a climb with that type of gradient you don't get any help by sitting on wheels. Valverde prefers to control the final climb from the front.
 
Sep 6, 2016
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Tonton said:
El Pistolero said:
Tonton said:
In the '70s and '80s, GW and FW were every bit as important as LBL. The monument thing has redistributed the cards in many minds, and for the younger fans, that's all they know. Nothing wrong with that, it's today's reality and there's no arguing about it. But this exchange needs some prospective IMO. Having FW called a semi-classic is not right. It makes my stomach sick, I'm going to pull a Dumoulin. Come on Pistolero...

For me a classic must be over 230KM long at least. And races that take place during workdays are obviously far less important than races that take place during the weekend, that's just common sense. Even in GTs they often put the most anticipated stages during weekends (and the Tour is the most important GT, partially because it takes place during the Summer when a lot of people have time off).

These days FW has fallen below even relatively young races like Strade Bianche and E3 Harelbeke.
I hear you and agree. And I blame the organizers at large for the current situation. Not the race, not the riders who win it. '84 TdF stage 21, 320 km hilly stage. The day before a 51 km ITT. Frank Hoste wins it. Stage 9 was 338 km from Nantes to Bordeaux, Jan Raas won. The same year, the FW was 246 km long.

The standards, the sport, everything has changed. So while I agree with your point for the most part, I can't blame the race or its winner. And I don't mean to swing my cane and regret the good old times. Cycling has changed, not always for the better. That's that.

While I mostly agree with you I disagree with the idea that we need obsurdly long races in order for them to be exciting or to create a tough test for the riders. Milan San Remo is nearly 300km and it is almost always decided in the last 10km. With modern training methods, radios and power meters the riders can gauge their efforts quite well so the days of long solos are mostly gone.
 
Re: Re:

Koronin said:
Jungle Cycle said:
If Krueziger+Gaspa can do it at AGR the kids will do it at FW..
hope Gaudu, Oomen, Latour, Martinez, Latour, Mas, some of them to surprise the favourites and top10..
wish Bernal was here too...


AGR has a flat finish. Fleche Wallone has a climb up a wall for a finish. Basically if you aren't a puncheur you'd better about close to a 2 minute lead when you hit the bottom of the final climb up the Mur de Huy or you aren't going to hold on. We're talking a climb that is as steep as 20% in some areas and you have to measure your climbing. Also remember a climb with that type of gradient you don't get any help by sitting on wheels. Valverde prefers to control the final climb from the front.

unquestionably Bala is the reference.. Moreno lead in 2015 at 500m was a shoore thing to me and then...
i just feel this new generation is very feisty and aggressive enough to try it if they are there at the final and if they do i hope it pays off for at least a top 10...
 
Re: Re:

Durden93 said:
El Pistolero said:
Leinster said:
El Pistolero said:
Pantani_lives said:
Most of them probably see FW as just a training ride for LBL.
I’m pretty sure everyone sees it as a classic in its own right, and a top 10 at Flèche is a career result for a lot of them. It’s just so hard to beat Valverde.

How much of a lead would anyone guess that a break (be it a group or a solo) would need at the foot of the Mur to succeed? Entirely hypothetical obviously, but I feel like we’ve seen minute+ advantages wiped out in the <5 minutes it takes to get to the top.

It depends on the rider. I'm always infuriated that only one rider gets away (like Jungels last year, or Wellens the year before). If a group of 3 or 4 strong riders could get away then a minute or even less would probably be enough. Teams have been reduced to seven riders as well, hopefully it will have some impact. For me the perfect team size for a classic would be 6 however.

Depends on the class of the rider. Every team except movistar sure try to get a man up the rode before the Mur. I think if you have riders at the foot with 30 seconds it’s possible, so probably around 1:30 after descending the St Nicholas. Wellens and Jungels both blew up early, but they also put a lot of work in on the early flat + climb. If you have a small group they can save themselves some energy and 30 seconds might do it.


Jungles had about a 30 second lead last year when he hit the bottom of the Mur de Huy and got caught fairly quickly on the climb. A group probably still needs a little more than 30 seconds at the bottom of the Mur de Huy.

I think what is needed is a group of 7 riders and included in that group is 2 riders from the same team with one of those 2 doing as little work as possible. Getting to the base of the Mur in an escape group one has to have some degree of fuel left in their tank and about 45 seconds. A solo rider will blow up on those slopes having burned all their matches just trying to stay away and make it to the Mur. The idea is to sit at the back of that group and convincingly looking like you are about as close to death on a bike as one can look. Saliva slobbering from your mouth, labored breathing, a little dark mascara smeared beneath your eyes prior to donning your sunglasses before the race start, expertly taken off at the right time to expose the ghoulish gaze would have your fellow escapees feeling sorry for you up until the point where you tear their legs off as you gingerly accelerate away to victory! :)
 
Re: Re:

Angliru said:
Durden93 said:
Leinster said:
El Pistolero said:
Pantani_lives said:
Most of them probably see FW as just a training ride for LBL.
I’m pretty sure everyone sees it as a classic in its own right, and a top 10 at Flèche is a career result for a lot of them. It’s just so hard to beat Valverde.

How much of a lead would anyone guess that a break (be it a group or a solo) would need at the foot of the Mur to succeed? Entirely hypothetical obviously, but I feel like we’ve seen minute+ advantages wiped out in the <5 minutes it takes to get to the top.

It depends on the rider. I'm always infuriated that only one rider gets away (like Jungels last year, or Wellens the year before). If a group of 3 or 4 strong riders could get away then a minute or even less would probably be enough. Teams have been reduced to seven riders as well, hopefully it will have some impact. For me the perfect team size for a classic would be 6 however.

Depends on the class of the rider. Every team except movistar sure try to get a man up the rode before the Mur. I think if you have riders at the foot with 30 seconds it’s possible, so probably around 1:30 after descending the St Nicholas. Wellens and Jungels both blew up early, but they also put a lot of work in on the early flat + climb. If you have a small group they can save themselves some energy and 30 seconds might do it.


Jungles had about a 30 second lead last year when he hit the bottom of the Mur de Huy and got caught fairly quickly on the climb. A group probably still needs a little more than 30 seconds at the bottom of the Mur de Huy.

I think what is needed is a group of 7 riders and included in that group is 2 riders from the same team with one of those 2 doing as little work as possible. Getting to the base of the Mur in an escape group one has to have some degree of fuel left in their tank and about 45 seconds. A solo rider will blow up on those slopes having burned all their matches just trying to stay away and make it to the Mur. The idea is to sit at the back of that group and convincingly looking like you are about as close to death on a bike as one can look. Saliva slobbering from your mouth, labored breathing, a little dark mascara smeared beneath your eyes prior to donning your sunglasses before the race start, expertly taken off at the right time to expose the ghoulish gaze would have your fellow escapees feeling sorry for you up until the point where you tear their legs off as you gingerly accelerate away to victory! :)[/quote]


You'd need at least a group that large and at least 2 members being from one team and one of those members being at least a decent climber. However, I'd be surprised if Movistar would let a group that large get away without at least one rider from their team in it who will just sit on and refuse to do any work. Most likely candidate would be Betancur like he did last year. Landa most likely will be the last rider with Valverde at the base of the Mur de Huy.
 
Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
Only the ones who aren’t proper puncheurs and so probably can’t win treat it as training for LBL. The proper puncheurs really, really want it. It’s a bigger deal to the likes of Alaphilippe, Martin, Teuns etc than Gent Wevelgem is to the cobble specialists. To the cobble guys every race other than the two monuments is a prep race. To the puncheurs, FW isn’t significantly behind the lesser of their two monuments, Lombardia.
I think as was mentioned, the fact that there aren't as many races in the Ardennes is a factor. Counting Le Samyn and Scheldeprijs, there are 9 cobbled races going. There are only 4 in the "Ardennes," and of those Brabantse Pijl has some cobbled climbs, and a lot of riders only focus on 2 of them.

If you have a chance in FW, you need to take it, because you might not get to in Liege.
 
Re:

movingtarget said:
Five years ago Valverde had a lot more opposition in this race. I agree with others in that this race has gone backwards in prestige compared to some of the newer ones. It is too predictable and also relatively short and the route never seems to break up the field. Still I will watch it to see if Valverde can be beaten but the odds are against it.

Prestige is the same, but the opposition is weaker I agree. We don't have Purito, Dani Moreno anymore, Gilbert in his best climbing days, old master Rebellin... But I have to point out that Valverde is in his prime at the steep stuff, he never was in this kind of form before (pre-2014)
 
Re: Re:

Angliru said:
I think what is needed is a group of 7 riders and included in that group is 2 riders from the same team with one of those 2 doing as little work as possible. Getting to the base of the Mur in an escape group one has to have some degree of fuel left in their tank and about 45 seconds. A solo rider will blow up on those slopes having burned all their matches just trying to stay away and make it to the Mur. The idea is to sit at the back of that group and convincingly looking like you are about as close to death on a bike as one can look. Saliva slobbering from your mouth, labored breathing, a little dark mascara smeared beneath your eyes prior to donning your sunglasses before the race start, expertly taken off at the right time to expose the ghoulish gaze would have your fellow escapees feeling sorry for you up until the point where you tear their legs off as you gingerly accelerate away to victory! :)
I approve of this scenario.
 
Re:

Jungle Cycle said:
If Krueziger+Gaspa can do it at AGR the kids will do it at FW..
hope Gaudu, Oomen, Latour, Martinez, Latour, Mas, some of them to surprise the favourites and top10..
wish Bernal was here too...

It's a shame another old timer, Albasini, doesn't seem to have recovered from his sickness in the Basque country, judging by his performance at AGR.

Not saying he would beat AVV, but he's normally a top ten here so maybe could have sprung a surprise.
 
Re: Re:

Orbit501 said:
Jungle Cycle said:
If Krueziger+Gaspa can do it at AGR the kids will do it at FW..
hope Gaudu, Oomen, Latour, Martinez, Latour, Mas, some of them to surprise the favourites and top10..
wish Bernal was here too...

It's a shame another old timer, Albasini, doesn't seem to have recovered from his sickness in the Basque country, judging by his performance at AGR.

Not saying he would beat AVV, but he's normally a top ten here so maybe could have sprung a surprise.

Albasini is a bit frustrating to watch. So many near misses. Sometimes he is caught near the front too close to the finish. Tactics often cost him.
 
Sep 6, 2016
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Koronin: Jungles lead wasn’t 30 seconds at the foot of the Mur. I just watched the final climb and he had about 15 seconds (which was wiped away in about 45 seconds).
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Re: Re:

Blanco said:
movingtarget said:
Five years ago Valverde had a lot more opposition in this race. I agree with others in that this race has gone backwards in prestige compared to some of the newer ones. It is too predictable and also relatively short and the route never seems to break up the field. Still I will watch it to see if Valverde can be beaten but the odds are against it.

Prestige is the same, but the opposition is weaker I agree. We don't have Purito, Dani Moreno anymore, Gilbert in his best climbing days, old master Rebellin... But I have to point out that Valverde is in his prime at the steep stuff, he never was in this kind of form before (pre-2014)
If the competition is weaker than the prestige is obviously not the same anymore. Froome was second on the Mur de Huy stage in the Tour yet he can't be arsed to start here. I also just read Dan Martin's interview and he's the perfect example as to why I have lost all respect for hilly classic "specialists".
 
Apr 1, 2013
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Re: Re:

El Pistolero said:
Blanco said:
movingtarget said:
Five years ago Valverde had a lot more opposition in this race. I agree with others in that this race has gone backwards in prestige compared to some of the newer ones. It is too predictable and also relatively short and the route never seems to break up the field. Still I will watch it to see if Valverde can be beaten but the odds are against it.

Prestige is the same, but the opposition is weaker I agree. We don't have Purito, Dani Moreno anymore, Gilbert in his best climbing days, old master Rebellin... But I have to point out that Valverde is in his prime at the steep stuff, he never was in this kind of form before (pre-2014)
If the competition is weaker than the prestige is obviously not the same anymore. Froome was second on the Mur de Huy stage in the Tour yet he can't be arsed to start here. I also just read Dan Martin's interview and he's the perfect example as to why I have lost all respect for hilly classic "specialists".

exactly (to the competition/prestige part) .... however I don't agree with the "respect for "hilly classics specialists" part ...
I guess the point is, that many of the "hilly classic specialists" are contenders for GTs and winning a GT is certainly more prestigious than winning LBL, let alone Flèche W .... what I don't quite understand is, why "second tier" GT contenders (Bardet, Barguil, Henao, Pinot, Mollema, Roglic, Uran the Yates brothers, Zakarin and some others), who are highly unlikely of winning a GT, don't put more efforts into the Ardennes Classics ... I would put winning L-B-L still ahead of winning something like Tour de Romandie or Basque Country or even a simple podium at Giro or Vuelta ....
 
what I don't quite understand is, why "second tier" GT contenders (Bardet, Barguil, Henao, Pinot, Mollema, Roglic, Uran the Yates brothers, Zakarin and some others), who are highly unlikely of winning a GT, don't put more efforts into the Ardennes Classics ...

Bardet is always there or thereabouts in Liege. His worst result there is 13th. Barguil, Mollema and Henao all have top 10s in Fleche and LBL, and that’s only the ones on your list I have time to look upI think a lot of those riders do contest the Ardennes, but there are difficulties to them. Uran was hoping for a good ride at Amstel this year but ended up nowhere. Just because you work towards a race, doesn’t mean you’ll be on the podium.

I guess after 260kms, as good as these guys are, they just aren’t quite as good as Valverde, Martin, Kwiatkowski, Rui Costa in those last km all-out efforts.
 
Mollema has often, no, almost always, rode the Ardennes with the goal of doing well / peaking in them even. But never achieved more than some top 10's. So it's not true it's not their focus. They are, more often than not, not explosive enough vs real classic specialists.
 
Re: Re:

El Pistolero said:
Blanco said:
movingtarget said:
Five years ago Valverde had a lot more opposition in this race. I agree with others in that this race has gone backwards in prestige compared to some of the newer ones. It is too predictable and also relatively short and the route never seems to break up the field. Still I will watch it to see if Valverde can be beaten but the odds are against it.

Prestige is the same, but the opposition is weaker I agree. We don't have Purito, Dani Moreno anymore, Gilbert in his best climbing days, old master Rebellin... But I have to point out that Valverde is in his prime at the steep stuff, he never was in this kind of form before (pre-2014)
If the competition is weaker than the prestige is obviously not the same anymore. Froome was second on the Mur de Huy stage in the Tour yet he can't be arsed to start here. I also just read Dan Martin's interview and he's the perfect example as to why I have lost all respect for hilly classic "specialists".
What did Dan Martin say?
 
Re:

Dekker_Tifosi said:
Mollema has often, no, almost always, rode the Ardennes with the goal of doing well / peaking in them even. But never achieved more than some top 10's. So it's not true it's not their focus. They are, more often than not, not explosive enough vs real classic specialists.
Mollema isn't really a dude who's very good outside his peak GTs, and he's simply not that good. That plays more of a role. Bardet is up there in Liege and he's about as pure a climber as they come.
 
Re: Re:

Red Rick said:
El Pistolero said:
Blanco said:
movingtarget said:
Five years ago Valverde had a lot more opposition in this race. I agree with others in that this race has gone backwards in prestige compared to some of the newer ones. It is too predictable and also relatively short and the route never seems to break up the field. Still I will watch it to see if Valverde can be beaten but the odds are against it.

Prestige is the same, but the opposition is weaker I agree. We don't have Purito, Dani Moreno anymore, Gilbert in his best climbing days, old master Rebellin... But I have to point out that Valverde is in his prime at the steep stuff, he never was in this kind of form before (pre-2014)
If the competition is weaker than the prestige is obviously not the same anymore. Froome was second on the Mur de Huy stage in the Tour yet he can't be arsed to start here. I also just read Dan Martin's interview and he's the perfect example as to why I have lost all respect for hilly classic "specialists".
What did Dan Martin say?
He said he wants Fleche to end in an uphill sprint.