T-Mobile is hoping to finally crack one of the Classics at Fleche Wallone and will have a team of mostly climbers spearheaded by Matthias Kessler and Alexander Vinokourov. Kessler was third last year and expects the repeated short sharp climbs of the Ardennes to be as big a test as ever, with the infamous hairpinned, 25 percent Mur de Huy, which the race ascends three times, as the crux.
"The Mur is nearly always the decisive point in the race," said Kessler. "That's where you really have to grit your teeth. Or you will be dropped."
Kessler's team-mate Steffen Wesemann will be riding his first Fleche Wallone and is enthusiastic about it. "I am keen to find out about what's in store for me," said Wesemann. However, his focus will be mostly on Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "The parcours there suits me better," he says.
Vinokourov is also treating Fleche Wallone as a warm up for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, saying, "Liège-Bastogne-Liège profile is more to my liking".
The full T-Mobile roster for Fleche Wallone is: Rolf Aldag (36), Giuseppe Guerini (35/Italy), Andreas Klöden (29), Matthias Kessler, (25), Oscar Sevilla (28/Spain), Alexander Vinokourov (31/Kazakhstan), Christian Werner (25), Steffen Wesemann (34).
The Rabobank team has announced its line-up for tomorrow's Fleche Wallone. Hoping no doubt to avenge Sunday's Amstel Gold disaster, the team will field Erik Dekker, Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Oscar Freire, Gerben Löwik, Michael Rasmussen, Rory Sutherland, and Remmert Wielinga with reserves Ronald Mutsaars, and Niels Scheuneman.
Team Illes Balears - Caisse D'Epargne will field José Luis Arrieta, Chente García, Cayetano Julià, Francisco Mancebo, Vicente Reynés, Alejandro Valverde, Xabier Zandio, and Aitor Osa.