The routes and wildcards have been announced for the 2016 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallonne. During a presentation in the Palais des Princes-Évêques in Liege, race organisers ASO reveled the details and profiles of the two Ardennes Classics that will be held on April 20 and 24.
The 2016 Liege-Bastogne-Liege will see yet more climbs packed tightly together in the finale. The Cote de Stockeu at the 175km mark has been removed and in its place will be the Cote de la Rue Naniot. The narrow, cobbled street averages more than 10 per cent and will be sandwiched between the Cote de Saint-Nicolas and the final, unclassified, climb up to Ans.
Along with the WorldTour teams, seven Pro Continental outfits have received wildcards for the race. French teams Cofidis, Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Direct Energie have all been selected, as have Roompot Oranje Peloton, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Bora-Argon 18 and Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
There have been several changes to the Fleche Wallonne route, with the race start moving from Waremme to Marche-en-Femenne for 2016. That move means that the climb of the Cote des 36 Tournants has fallen by the wayside. A new climb has been added to the finishing circuit through Huy and the surrounding areas. Between the Cote de Bohissau and the Mur de Huy, the riders will take on the 4.3km Cote de Solieres.
On the final lap, rather than take on the Solieres, the route will once again head up the Cote de Cherave. The short 1.3km ascent was introduced last year and saw a number of riders attempt to breakaway ahead of the final climb of the Mur de Huy. Despite the additional climb compared to last year, the route is almost 10 kilometres shorter.
The wildcards for Fleche Wallonne are similar to those at Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Delko Marseille Provence KTM and Team Stoelting Service Group will ride Fleche, instead of Direct Energie and Bora-Argon 18.
WorldTour teams for Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallonne: AG2R-La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing, Cannondale Pro Cycling, Dimension Data, Etixx-QuickStep, FDJ, IAM Cycling, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha, LottoNL-Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff, Trek-Segafredo.
Wildcards for Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Bora-Argon 18, Cofidis, Direct Energie, Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Roompot Oranje Peloton, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
Wildcards for Fleche Wallonne: Cofidis, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Roompot Oranje Peloton, Team Stoelting, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty-Groupe Gobert.