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Moreno victorious on Mur de Huy

Barry Ryan & Susan Westemeyer

Henao, Betancur fill out Fleche Wallonne podium

There is a subtle art to mastering the nuances of the Mur de Huy, and Daniel Moreno showed that he had paid close attention to the lessons of his Katusha leader Joaquim Rodriguez over the years as he captured Flèche Wallonne with a perfectly-timed attack.

Moreno carefully bided his time on the steepest section of the climb and then accelerated off world champion Philippe Gilbert’s shoulder in the closing 200 metres. The Spaniard’s burst brought him clear of the main group and saw him overhaul late escapee Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) within sight of the line to take the win.

Sergio Henao (Sky) emerged from the carnage behind to take second place at three seconds, while Betancur at least had the consolation of holding off a rapidly-finishing Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) for the third step on the podium.

Prior to the race, all of the focus in the Katusha camp had been on defending champion Joaquim Rodriguez, who had sustained an injury in a crash at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. Although Rodriguez was still strong enough to finish the race in 6th place, he was lacking the sharpness of twelve months ago, and in the tumult of the final haul up the Mur de Huy, Moreno was handed his opportunity to chase the win.

Wisely, Moreno maintained a watching brief when Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) careered off the front with 700 metres of the fearsome wall still to go. Indeed, there was a general reluctance to take up the pursuit, but as Betancur bounded up the steepest section of the climb with a sizeable advantage, the burden of responsibility fell on the shoulders of the pre-race favourite Gilbert.

The world champion began his first tentative forcing with 500 metres to go, with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) locked on his rear wheel, and he then sought to replicate the attack that brought him victory on the Mur two years as the gradient pitched upwards still further.

While Gilbert’s acceleration ended Sagan’s challenge (he would finish 12th), he was unable to rip clear of the group in the same manner as he did in 2011. This time, Gilbert simply played his hand too early. For his part, Moreno was sizing up his opportunity and when he bounded past as the road began to flatten out slightly, a disappointed Gilbert almost ground to a halt and would finish 16th.

From there, Moreno’s victory was inevitable, as he shot past the flagging Betancur and was never threatened by Henao’s late pursuit. The quickest man over the final 200 metres was undoubtedly Dan Martin, however, and the Irishman – who had punctured 20 kilometres from the line – will rue his positioning as the climb began.

How it unfolded

After a cold spring to date, unfamiliar sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the riders as they took off on their tour of the Walloon countryside from Binche. Only 20 kilometers into the race, the first break slipped away as Gilles Devilliers (Crelan-Euphony) and Pirmin Lang (IAM) took off to build up a nice lead. Accent Job-Wanty's Jurgen Van Goolen took off in pursuit, and after a seeming eternity of dangling between the leaders and the peloton, finally caught them.

The trio quickly pushed their gap up to nearly 10 minutes at one point, but as the first of the day's twelve climbs approached, the peloton finally decided to take action, and managed to cut it to about seven minutes for the first climb of the Mur de Huy after 108.5km.

From there the gap came down steadily. BMC looked determined to place world champion Philippe Gilbert atop the podium, and took firm responsibility for the chase, throwing their whole team to the front to reel in the group.

With some 53km to go, the gap was down to one minute, and a handful of riders took off out of the peloton in pursuit. Shortly thereafter on the day's seventh climb, the Côte de Bohisseau, the trio was caught.

The next to try their luck were Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco) and Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), and that brought BMC back to the front of the chase, as they saw too much of a threat in Ten Dam. Bardet fell back on the second climb up the Mur, but Ten Dam stayed away and was joined by Argos-Shimano's Simon Geschke.

BMC continued to hold control of the field, keeping the two leaders on a short rein. Their big German Marcus Burghardt put in a particularly strong performance, pulling the field along in pursuit of the break. On the penultimate climb, an Orica-GreenEdge rider then dashed out of the group to catch Ten Dam and Geschke, and the action was over.

That was enough to drop Andy Schleck of RadioShack-Leopard, but all the favourites were still near the head of the group, including injured defending champion Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha).

As expected, a large group charged up the Mur for the final time. Blanco led the way up, with Gilbert on second wheel. Carlos Betancur was the first to jump, and Gilbert led the chase but the world champion misplayed his cards this time and jumped too early. Instead of repeating his world championship explosion on the Mur, Gilbert backfired, and was engulfed by the chasers in the final 100 metres.

Instead, the day belonged to Dani Moreno, who proved to be the perfect understudy for Joaquim Rodriguez on the steep slopes of the Mur de Huy and took an identikit victory twelve months on from his friend and teammate’s triumph.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha 4:52:33  
2 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:03  
3 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale    
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp    
5 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
6 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:00:08  
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    
8 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
10 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
11 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha    
12 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
13 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:13  
14 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
15 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:15  
16 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:17  
17 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
18 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ 0:00:21  
19 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:23  
20 Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
21 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge    
22 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling    
23 Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard    
24 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling    
25 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:30  
26 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard    
27 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:32  
28 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
29 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling 0:00:35  
30 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
31 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:38  
32 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team    
33 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:40  
34 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
35 Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia    
36 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:43  
37 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
38 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:49  
39 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:00:51  
40 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
41 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:53  
42 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
43 Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Sky Procycling    
44 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team    
45 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ 0:00:59  
46 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:01:01  
47 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
48 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
49 Dalivier Ospina Navarro (Col) Colombia 0:01:03  
50 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:01:05  
51 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 0:01:12  
52 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard 0:01:14  
53 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha    
54 Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:01:21  
55 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Sharp    
56 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Sojasun 0:01:23  
57 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:01:26  
58 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
59 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:33  
60 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
61 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:36  
62 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:39  
63 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun    
64 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ 0:01:43  
65 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ 0:01:49  
66 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:01:51  
67 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
68 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:07  
69 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    
70 Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:02:10  
71 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:15  
72 Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:02:16  
73 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team    
74 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:23  
75 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp    
76 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge 0:02:36  
77 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha 0:02:39  
78 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha    
79 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:02:41  
80 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
81 David Tanner (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:02:43  
82 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:03:23  
83 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:03:26  
84 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:03:40  
85 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:04:02  
86 Andy Schleck (Lux) RadioShack Leopard 0:04:35  
87 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:04:52  
88 Bram Tankink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:04:55  
89 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ 0:04:59  
90 Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdge    
91 Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
92 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
93 Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
94 Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
95 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
96 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha    
97 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha    
98 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun    
99 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
100 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
101 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
102 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
103 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team    
104 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ    
105 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
106 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
107 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
108 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling    
109 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:05:07  
110 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:07:02  
111 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:04  
112 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
113 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
114 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Sojasun 0:08:36  
115 Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia 0:09:47  
116 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
117 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
118 Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling    
119 Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Col) Colombia    
120 Arthur Vanoverberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
121 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
122 Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) IAM Cycling 0:09:53  
123 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony 0:09:58  
124 Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-Euphony 0:09:59  
125 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:10:02  
126 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
127 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:10:06  
128 Laurent Didier (Lux) RadioShack Leopard    
129 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
130 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp    
131 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
132 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling    
133 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
134 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team    
135 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team    
136 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
137 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
138 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team    
139 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
140 Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
141 Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
142 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty 0:10:15  
143 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
144 Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony 0:10:20  
145 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky Procycling 0:10:41  
DNF Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia    
DNF Julio Alexis Camacho Bernal (Col) Colombia    
DNF Armondo Quintero Artunduaga (Col) Colombia    
DNF Juan Pablo Valencia (Col) Colombia    
DNF Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Thomas Degand (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jérôme Gilbert (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Yann Huguet (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Will Routley (Can) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun    
DNF Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Thomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Maciej Paterski (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling    
DNF Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
DNF Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Moreno Hofland (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling    
DNF Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Sojasun    
DNF Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Sojasun    
DNF Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
DNF Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling    
DNS Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida