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La Flèche Wallonne
La Flèche Wallonne logo.svg
Date Late April
Region Wallonia, Belgium
English name Walloon Arrow
Local name(s) La Flèche Wallonne (French)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type One-day
Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation
First edition 1936 (1936)
Editions 81 (as of 2017)
First winner  Philippe Demeersman (BEL)
Most wins  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
(5 wins)
Most recent  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)

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.

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   De Meersman, PhilemonPhilemon De Meersman (BEL) La Française
1937   Braeckeveldt, AdolpheAdolphe Braeckeveldt (BEL) Helyett
1938   Masson Jr., EmileÉmile Masson Jr. (BEL)
1939   Delathouwer, EdmondEdmond Delathouwer (BEL) Leducq-Mercier
1940 No race
1941   Grysolle, SylvainSylvain Grysolle (BEL)
1942   Thijs, KarelKarel Thijs (BEL)
1943   Kint, MarcelMarcel Kint (BEL)
1944   Kint, MarcelMarcel Kint (BEL)
1945   Kint, MarcelMarcel Kint (BEL)
1946   Keteleer, DesireDesire Keteleer (BEL) Groene Leeuw
1947   Sterckx, ErnestErnest Sterckx (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1948   Camellini, FermoFermo Camellini (ITA) Métropole
1949   Steenbergen, Rik VanRik Van Steenbergen (BEL) Mercier-Hutchinson
1950   Coppi, FaustoFausto Coppi (ITA) Bianchi-Ursus
1951   Kubler, FerdiFerdi Kubler (SUI) Tebag
1952   Kubler, FerdiFerdi Kubler (SUI) Tebag
1953   Ockers, StanStan Ockers (BEL) Peugeot-Dunlop
1954   Derijcke, GermainGermain Derijcke (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1955   Ockers, StanStan Ockers (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot
1956   Genechten, Richard vanRichard van Genechten (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot
1957   Impanis, RaymondRaymond Impanis (BEL) Peugeot-BP
1958   Steenbergen, Rik VanRik Van Steenbergen (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot-Marvan
1959   Hoevenaars, JosJos Hoevenaars (BEL) Faema
1960   Cerami, PinoPino Cerami (BEL) Peugeot-BP-Dunlop
1961   Vannitsen, WillyWilly Vannitsen (BEL) Gitane-Geminiani-Leroux-Dunlop
1962   De Wolf, HenriHenri De Wolf (BEL) Baratti-Milano
1963   Poulidor, RaymondRaymond Poulidor (FRA) Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1964   Desmet, GilbertGilbert Desmet (BEL) Wiel's-Groene Leeuw
1965   Poggiali, RobertoRoberto Poggiali (ITA) Ignis
1966   Dancelli, MicheleMichele Dancelli (ITA) Molteni
1967   Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Peugeot-BP-Michelin
1968   Looy, Rik VanRik Van Looy (BEL) Willem II-Gazelle
1969   Huysmans, JosJos Huysmans (BEL) Dr.Mann-Grundig
1970   Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Faemino
1971   De Vlaeminck, RogerRoger De Vlaeminck (BEL) Mars-Flandria
1972   Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1973   Dierickx, AndreAndre Dierickx (BEL) Flandria-Shimano-Carpenter
1974   Frans Verbeeck (BEL) Watney-Maes
1975   Dierickx, AndreAndre Dierickx (BEL) Rokado
1976   Zoetemelk, JoopJoop Zoetemelk (NED) GAN-Mercier-Hutchinson
1977   Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser (ITA) Sanson
1978   Laurent, MichelMichel Laurent (FRA) Peugeot-Esso-Michelin
1979   Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault (FRA) Renault-Gitane-Campagnolo
1980   Saronni, GiuseppeGiuseppe Saronni (ITA) Gis Gelati-Colnago
1981   Willems, DanielDaniel Willems (BEL) Capri Sonne-Koga Miyata
1982   Beccia, MarioMario Beccia (ITA) Hoonved-Bottechia
1983   Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault (FRA) Renault-Elf-Gitane
1984   Andersen, KimKim Andersen (DEN) Coop-Hoonved
1985   Criquielion, ClaudeClaude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Splendor-Sunair
1986   Fignon, LaurentLaurent Fignon (FRA) Système U
1987   Leclercq, Jean-ClaudeJean-Claude Leclercq (FRA) Toshiba-Look
1988   Golz, RolfRolf Golz (GER) Superconfex-Yoko
1989   Criquielion, ClaudeClaude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Merckx-Mavic
1990   Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Ariostea
1991   Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Ariostea
1992   Furlan, GiorgioGiorgio Furlan (ITA) Ariostea
1993   Fondriest, MaurizioMaurizio Fondriest (ITA) Lampre
1994   Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Gewiss–Ballan
1995   Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE
1996   Armstrong, LanceLance Armstrong (USA) Motorola
1997   Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE
1998   Hamburger, BoBo Hamburger (DEN) Casino–Ag2r
1999   Bartoli, MicheleMichele Bartoli (ITA) Mapei–Quick-Step
2000   Casagrande, FrancescoFrancesco Casagrande (ITA) Vini Caldirola–Sidermec
2001   Verbrugghe, RikRik Verbrugghe (BEL) Lotto–Adecco
2002   Aerts, MarioMario Aerts (BEL) Lotto–Adecco
2003   Astarloa, IgorIgor Astarloa (ESP) Saeco Macchine per Caffè
2004   Rebellin, DavideDavide Rebellin (ITA) Gerolsteiner
2005   Di Luca, DaniloDanilo Di Luca (ITA) Liquigas–Bianchi
2006   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne–Illes Balears
2007   Rebellin, DavideDavide Rebellin (ITA) Gerolsteiner
2008   Kirchen, KimKim Kirchen (LUX) Team High Road
2009   Rebellin, DavideDavide Rebellin (ITA) Diquigiovanni–Androni
2010   Evans, CadelCadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing Team
2011   Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega Pharma–Lotto
2012   Rodríguez, JoaquimJoaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2013   Moreno, DanielDaniel Moreno (ESP) Team Katusha
2014   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2015   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2016   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2017   Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team

Multiple winnersEdit

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

Winners by NationalityEdit

# of wins Country
38   Belgium
18   Italy
8   France
  Spain
2    Switzerland
  Denmark
1   Germany
  Netherlands
  United States
  Luxembourg
  Australia

ReferencesEdit

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

External linksEdit