Open main menu

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.

La Flèche Wallonne
La Flèche Wallonne logo.svg
DateLate April
RegionWallonia, Belgium
English nameWalloon Arrow
Local name(s)La Flèche Wallonne (in French)
DisciplineRoad
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeOne-day
OrganiserAmaury Sport Organisation
Web sitewww.la-fleche-wallonne.be Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1936 (1936)
Editions83 (as of 2019)
First winner Philippe Demeersman (BEL)
Most wins Alejandro Valverde (ESP) (5 wins)
Most recent Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)

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).

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
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.

WinnersEdit

Rider Team
1936   Philemon De Meersman (BEL) La Française
1937   Adolphe Braeckeveldt (BEL) Helyett
1938   Émile Masson Jr. (BEL)
1939   Edmond Delathouwer (BEL) Leducq-Mercier
1940 No race
1941   Sylvain Grysolle (BEL)
1942   Karel Thijs (BEL)
1943   Marcel Kint (BEL)
1944   Marcel Kint (BEL)
1945   Marcel Kint (BEL)
1946   Desire Keteleer (BEL) Groene Leeuw
1947   Ernest Sterckx (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1948   Fermo Camellini (ITA) Métropole
1949   Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL) Mercier-Hutchinson
1950   Fausto Coppi (ITA) Bianchi-Ursus
1951   Ferdi Kubler (SUI) Tebag
1952   Ferdi Kubler (SUI) Tebag
1953   Stan Ockers (BEL) Peugeot-Dunlop
1954   Germain Derijcke (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1955   Stan Ockers (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot
1956   Richard van Genechten (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot
1957   Raymond Impanis (BEL) Peugeot-BP
1958   Rik Van Steenbergen (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot-Marvan
1959   Jos Hoevenaars (BEL) Faema
1960   Pino Cerami (BEL) Peugeot-BP-Dunlop
1961   Willy Vannitsen (BEL) Gitane-Geminiani-Leroux-Dunlop
1962   Henri De Wolf (BEL) Baratti-Milano
1963   Raymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1964   Gilbert Desmet (BEL) Wiel's-Groene Leeuw
1965   Roberto Poggiali (ITA) Ignis
1966   Michele Dancelli (ITA) Molteni
1967   Eddy Merckx (BEL) Peugeot-BP-Michelin
1968   Rik Van Looy (BEL) Willem II-Gazelle
1969   Jos Huysmans (BEL) Dr.Mann-Grundig
1970   Eddy Merckx (BEL) Faemino
1971   Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) Mars-Flandria
1972   Eddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1973   Andre Dierickx (BEL) Flandria-Shimano-Carpenter
1974   Frans Verbeeck (BEL) Watney-Maes
1975   Andre Dierickx (BEL) Rokado
1976   Joop Zoetemelk (NED) GAN-Mercier-Hutchinson
1977   Francesco Moser (ITA) Sanson
1978   Michel Laurent (FRA) Peugeot-Esso-Michelin
1979   Bernard Hinault (FRA) Renault-Gitane-Campagnolo
1980   Giuseppe Saronni (ITA) Gis Gelati-Colnago
1981   Daniel Willems (BEL) Capri Sonne-Koga Miyata
1982   Mario Beccia (ITA) Hoonved-Bottechia
1983   Bernard Hinault (FRA) Renault-Elf-Gitane
1984   Kim Andersen (DEN) Coop-Hoonved
1985   Claude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Splendor-Sunair
1986   Laurent Fignon (FRA) Système U
1987   Jean-Claude Leclercq (FRA) Toshiba-Look
1988   Rolf Golz (GER) Superconfex-Yoko
1989   Claude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Merckx-Mavic
1990   Moreno Argentin (ITA) Ariostea
1991   Moreno Argentin (ITA) Ariostea
1992   Giorgio Furlan (ITA) Ariostea
1993   Maurizio Fondriest (ITA) Lampre
1994   Moreno Argentin (ITA) Gewiss–Ballan
1995   Laurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE
1996   Lance Armstrong (USA) Motorola
1997   Laurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE
1998   Bo Hamburger (DEN) Casino–Ag2r
1999   Michele Bartoli (ITA) Mapei–Quick-Step
2000   Francesco Casagrande (ITA) Vini Caldirola–Sidermec
2001   Rik Verbrugghe (BEL) Lotto–Adecco
2002   Mario Aerts (BEL) Lotto–Adecco
2003   Igor Astarloa (ESP) Saeco Macchine per Caffè
2004   Davide Rebellin (ITA) Gerolsteiner
2005   Danilo Di Luca (ITA) Liquigas–Bianchi
2006   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne–Illes Balears
2007   Davide Rebellin (ITA) Gerolsteiner
2008   Kim Kirchen (LUX) Team High Road
2009   Davide Rebellin (ITA) Diquigiovanni–Androni
2010   Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing Team
2011   Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega Pharma–Lotto
2012   Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2013   Daniel Moreno (ESP) Team Katusha
2014   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2015   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2016   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2017   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2018   Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Quick-Step Floors
2019   Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Deceuninck–Quick-Step

Multiple winnersEdit

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
  Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) 2018, 2019

Wins per countryEdit

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

ReferencesEdit

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

External linksEdit