La Fléche Wallonne with two young BORA – hansgrohe riders in the top twenty.
A race decided in the final kilometers, ends with a 16th place for BORA – hansgrohe rider Patrick Konrad, teammate Jay McCarthy finishes 19th. The second Ardennes Classic race was earmarked of high speed and many attacks.
Today the Ardennes Classics continued with “La Fleche Wallonne”. The race took the riders from Binche to Huy over 200 kilometers, the course featured 8 climbs including two laps around the “Mur de Huy”. The weather conditions were fine with sun but with only 4 degrees.
The pace was high right from the start and after some kilometers of racing a group of 6 riders built the breakaway of the day. This break group was gone for most of the stage, the gap increased to more than 5 minutes. BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the main bunch to save energy for the final climbs. With 80 kilometers to go Team Movistar took control over the main bunch and started to close the gap.
After the peloton passed the climb “Mur de Huy” for the first time, the advantage was already down to one minute and the breakaway group felt apart. With 35 kilometers remaining all escapees were finally caught.
The race went on fire on the last climbs before the finish. BORA – hansgrohe formed to help their leaders Patrick Konrad and Jay McCarthy. The team was in a good position for the last kilometers, even when Bob Jungels (Quick- Step Floors) attacked and built a gap of some seconds to the main bunch. Rafal Majka set the pace in front of the chasing group. Going into the final ascent Jungels was caught and Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) took the victory on the Mur de Huy. Best BORA – hansgrohe rider was Patrick Konrad, who finished 16th, his teammate Jay McCarthy took the 19th place.
“When Jungels was caught, I was able to keep a position near the front but unfortunately on the last 150 meters I wasn’t able to go with the best ones. The result is pretty good but I wished to finish within the top ten.” – Patrick Konrad
“We planned to race offensively, the guys presented the team colors well today. The whole team worked very well for our leaders Patrick Konrad and Jay McCarthy, Rafal tried something on the Col de Cherave. I think we can be satisfied with today´s result, both are young riders who raced Fléche for the first time. Now we are already looking forward to Liege-Bastogne-Liege, because the boys are in a good shape.” – Jens Zemke, sports director