Albasini to lead Mitchelton-SCOTT in his final appearance at La Flèche WallonneMon 28 Sep 2020
39-year-old Michael Albasini will lead a strong Mitchelton-SCOTT squad at La Flèche Wallonne this Wednesday, as he uses his experience of tackling the the Mur de Huy to try and claim the team’s first victory; in what will be his 17th and final appearance at the one-day Classic race.
Albasini is no stranger to the podium having finished runner-up in 2012 and in third place in 2015 along with three other top 10 finishes. For 2020, the Swiss veteran will have a mixed team around him with older experienced riders Daryl Impey, Jack Bauer and Tsgabu Grmay, plus the talented youth of Barnabas Peak, and Nick Schultz.
Starting in Autumn in Herve for 2020, the peloton will follow a simple route on the way to Huy with just one categorised climb coming in the first 100km of racing.
The undulating roads around the area will be sure to make it a long day in the saddle, but the main climbs and action, as always, come inside the final 80km of the race. The riders enter the finishing circuit ready for three 32km local laps after already racing 117km and face three tough climbs each lap; the Cote d’Ereffe, Cote du Chemin des Gueuses and the iconoc and steep Mur de Huy.
For 2020 the Australian team are hoping for better luck after six of the seven starters crashed out of contention during the race last year.
The team has never quite been able to clinch a victory but have been close with Albasini finishing inside the top-10 of five occasions and twice on the podium.
"Firstly, I'm really happy that I have a chance to race again this year and I enjoy every race. I'm still focused on racing and not thinking to much about the fact that that it is the last time that I'm doing the races. It will probably be the same with Flèche because once I finish Flèche I'll have to think directly about Liège and after Liège there is Amstel.
"It will be my 17th time and I'm sure it will be like any other, of course I hope to get it right like other years before. Even though I have had many good results before in Flèche, I don't actually feel a special relationship to this race. Actually I like Liège and Amstel more than Flèche, but it seems to be that I have figured out how to get up the Mur de Huy quickly somehow.
"I hope it will be a good race once more for me. I feel in good shape at the moment and the worlds will have helped to get the feeling for these coming big one-dayers."
Dave McPartland – Sport Director
“Albasini will be our leader first and foremost, it will be his last Flèche Wallonne and it is a race that he has done really well in in the past, so we will have full support around him.
"We are coming in with two riders coming from the Tour de France and four riders coming off the one-day programme, so it is a good team and were going all in for a good result.
“It is different heading into the Ardennes this year with it being at the very end of September but there’s still a lot of the main favourites going to be there, with the likes of Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) and newly crowned world champion Julian Alaphillipe (Deceuninck-Quickstep). It will be a couple of weeks after the Tour de France which is probably enough time for those guys to have recovered enough and be really strong."
La Flèche Wallonne Race Details:
Wednesday, 30th September: La Flèche Wallonne – Herve to Huy, 202km
Photo courtesy of Getty Images