Albasini's consistency continues at Fleche WallonneWed 19 Apr 2017
Two-time podium placer Michael Albasini has continued his run of consistent performances at Fleche Wallonne, climbing to fifth place today.
The 36-year-old finished one second behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who took his fifth victory at the race. The result gives the Albasini his eighth top-ten finish on the famous Mur de Huy.
“The boys rode incredibly well today and as always Alba has put in a great performance in the finale here,” sport director Matt White said. “The only person more consistent than him at this race is Valverde.”
“Alba was actually a bit unlucky, he was hit with 250m to go by a rider pulling off the front of the bunch and had to restart again, then he blew at 50m to go. He was second on the road at that point and still managed fifth.”
ORICA-SCOTT committed to chase down two leaders in the final 50km to racing, a decision made on the road when the team still had numbers to play with.
“Everyone had a point they needed to arrive at throughout the race,” White explained. “We were ahead of schedule and had extra guys still available to help out later in the race.”
“With one of the favourites in the team we had nothing to lose by committing to the chase and giving him our full support.
“Once you are on the Mur de Huy there is not much you can do so it’s better to use guys when they are useful.”
How it happened:
An early group of three quickly grew to six as the first breakaway of the day formed.
As the peloton made its way through the flatter roads from the start in Binchi towards the local laps around Huy, their advantage remained consistent at around five minutes.
By the time they reached the first climbs the gap had reduced to under three minutes.
Inside the final 50km the counter attacks began from behind with ORICA-SCOTT’s Chris Juul-Jensen covering the moves. Ahead, the breakaway was splitting on the slopes of the Mur de Huy.
The race came back together with 35km to go, before more attacks launched shortly after. Bob Jungles (Quickstep) was the final rider left out in front but he was caught inside the final five kilometres.
As expected, the race came down to the Mur de Huy. Albasini’s good position was jeopardised when a rider swung off the front and into his path. Meanwhile, Valverde timed his move to perfection to take yet another victory.
La Fleche Wallonne - Results
1. Alejandro Valverde (MOV) 5:15:37
2. Daniel Martin (QST) +0:01
3. Dylan Tuens (BMC) +0:01
5. Michael Albasini (ORS) +0:01