On the final brutal ascent of the Mur de Huy, it was Movistar Team’s Alejandro Valverde who proved the strongest to take a historic victory for Canyon at Flèche Wallonne.
Following wins in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, Canyon bikes have now triumphed four times on the trot at the Ardennes Classic, in an unprecedented run of success.
With gradients well in excess of 20%, watching the legendary finish up the Mur de Huy resembles a super-slow-motion bunch sprint – few other races in the world provide such a vivid impression of the riders’ effort. To succeed, the winner has to time their effort to perfection – go too early and you’ll fade away, wait too long and it’s too late.
Valverde, who also triumphed in the race back in 2006, proved to have the legs and the experience as he built a gap over a select group of uphill specialists on his Ultimate CF SLX just after the steepest section of the climb.
Having notched up his eighth victory of the year, the Spaniard becomes the most successful rider so far in 2014 and will go into Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège as the man to watch. The race marks the climax of the Ardennes Week and could be the perfect birthday present for Valverde, who turns 34 on Friday.