Valverde from Movistar Team -world-leading eight victories in 2014- conquers second career Flèche Wallonne after splendid final attack through the Mur de Huy.

(Brief) Alejandro Valverde was eager to claim a top victory to crown an impressive start to his 2014 season. Today, at the Flèche Wallonne, the Movistar Team's leader took a splendid job by all his team-mates to fruition in the final meters of the Mur de Huy, the last of eleven climbs in a 199km parcours starting at Bastogne.

The telephone squad kept the same working style they showed three days earlier in the Amstel Gold Race. Iván Gutiérrez, firstly, and Imanol Erviti, into the final loop, added the pace into the climbs needed to make the race harder, before leaving room for a sensational Jesús Herrada, whose continuous accelerations lasted even until the end of the penultimate ascent, Ereffe, with about fourth riders in the main field. Valverde kept full focus on reaching the start of the final Huy passage up-front -he reached the foot within the first ten of the bunch-, and after getting slightly boxed in into the hardest slopes, jumped away with all strength at the 150m banner to comfortably beat Dan Martin (GRS) and Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQ), second and third respectively.

It's Valverde's eight victory of 2014 -the most winning rider so far in the pro scene- and his 81th in cycling's top tier. Movistar Team increases their tally to thirteen, and will go for another chance in four days' time, with the 100th Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Sunday, 263km) marking the oldest of the WorldTour spring classics.

INITIAL REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: "I'm really happy. This victory means a lot to me and the rest of the team. The Ardennes were resisting to me in the last few years - always getting podium places, but no victories. I was coming here a bit furious. The team worked well, practically until the very end. I didn't want to get myself boxed in - I had to get in very, very good position into the final climb. I was next to the barriers with 300m to go and couldn't get past, but as soon as I saw a gap, I followed it, I jumped away and managed to make a gap. Sunday's Liège is a race I liked, where I have already won and where we will go on full steam, but more calm thanks to today's victory".

Picture (c): ASO

Flèche Wallonne

Results

23/4/2014

Riders overall

  • 1st    Valverde   (MOV)   4.36.45
  • 2nd    Martin   (GRS)   0.03
  • 3rd    Kwiatkowski   (OPQ)   0.04
  • 4th    Mollema   (BEL)   m.t.
  • 5th    Slagter   (GRS)   0.06

Movistar Team overall

  • 1st    Alejandro Valverde   4.36.45
  • 22nd    Gorka Izagirre   0.32
  • 41st    Jesús Herrada   1.14
  • 52nd    John Gadret   1.40
  • 71st    Ion Izagirre   4.12
  • 121st    Beñat Intxausti   5.59
  • ABN    Imanol Erviti   
  • ABN    Iván Gutiérrez