Volta a Catalunya stage winner Esteban Chaves climbed to eighth place up the Mur de Huy in today’s Flèche Wallonne as the peloton arrived together as a large group into the base of the final climb.
With a fast pace all day and the remaining breakaway riders only reeled in in the final kilometres, the race concluded with a fierce charge into Huy, with positioning crucial as the 193.6km race came down to a battle in the last kilometre. Chaves entered the climb in a good position and from then on it was every man for himself, as a drag race up the steep 26% slopes ensued.
It all came down to the final 300 metres with Julian Alaphilippe sprinting ahead to take the 2021 victory, while Chaves battled his way into the top-10.
Esteban Chaves – 8th place
“It is my third time here and eighth is not a bad result, of course I wanted a bit more, especially today because the team did an awesome job.
We rode as a team and it doesn’t just mean ride in this jersey, it means we are committed together to achieve a result and I want to thank the boys for that today.
We rode all day in a really good position, myself and [Michael] Matthews and we really rode well today as a team and we need to be happy and proud of that. I just did what I could, I was a bit blocked, but I don’t think the result would change.“
Mat Hayman – Sport Director
“We knew it was going to be difficult against those top three guys, we had Chaves who prefers longer climbs and Matthews who prefers slightly easier finishes.
It was a very hard race; it may not have looked like it at times, but the boys said the pace was high all day. So, it was really hard for anybody to move, there were no real attacks or counter attacks, and everybody was willing to wait for the final climb and we were forced into doing the same. Chaves today confirmed that he is in good shape and Matthews was around the mark as well.“
2021 La Flèche Wallonne Results:
1. Julian Alaphilippe 4:36:25
2. Primoz Roglic ST
3. Alejandro Valverde +0:06
8. Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) +0:11
Photo courtesy of Getty Sport