Moreno victorious on Mur de Huy

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) TeamResult
1Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha4:52:33 
2Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling0:00:03 
3Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale  
4Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp  
5Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
6Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha0:00:08 
7Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
8Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
9Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
10Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
11Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha  
12Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
13Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:13 
14Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
15Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:15 
16Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard0:00:17 
17Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
18Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ0:00:21 
19Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp0:00:23 
20Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
21Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge  
22Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling  
23Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard  
24Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling  
25Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:00:30 
26Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard  
27Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:32 
28Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
29Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling0:00:35 
30Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
31Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:38 
32Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team  
33Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:00:40 
34Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
35Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia  
36Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:00:43 
37Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
38Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:00:49 
39Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:51 
40Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
41José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:53 
42Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
43Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Sky Procycling  
44Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
45Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ0:00:59 
46Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:01 
47Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
48Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
49Dalivier Ospina Navarro (Col) Colombia0:01:03 
50Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:01:05 
51Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard0:01:12 
52Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard0:01:14 
53Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha  
54Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:01:21 
55Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Sharp  
56Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Sojasun0:01:23 
57Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:01:26 
58John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
59Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team0:01:33 
60Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
61Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:01:36 
62Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:39 
63Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun  
64Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ0:01:43 
65Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ0:01:49 
66Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:51 
67Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
68Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:02:07 
69Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team  
70Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge0:02:10 
71Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:02:15 
72Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:02:16 
73Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
74Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:02:23 
75Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
76Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge0:02:36 
77Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha0:02:39 
78Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha  
79Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:02:41 
80Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
81David Tanner (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:02:43 
82Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:03:23 
83Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:03:26 
84Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:03:40 
85Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:04:02 
86Andy Schleck (Lux) RadioShack Leopard0:04:35 
87Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:04:52 
88Bram Tankink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:04:55 
89Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ0:04:59 
90Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdge  
91Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
92Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
93Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
94Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
95Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
96Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha  
97Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha  
98Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun  
99Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
100Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
101Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
102Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
103Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
104Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ  
105Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
106Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
107Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
108Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
109Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:05:07 
110Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:07:02 
111Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:04 
112Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
113Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
114Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Sojasun0:08:36 
115Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia0:09:47 
116Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp  
117Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
118Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling  
119Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal (Col) Colombia  
120Arthur Vanoverberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
121Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
122Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) IAM Cycling0:09:53 
123Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony0:09:58 
124Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-Euphony0:09:59 
125Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:10:02 
126Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
127Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:10:06 
128Laurent Didier (Lux) RadioShack Leopard  
129Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
130Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp  
131Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
132Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling  
133Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
134Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team  
135Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
136Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
137Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
138Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team  
139Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
140Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
141Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
142Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:10:15 
143Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
144Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony0:10:20 
145Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky Procycling0:10:41 
DNFMaurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRuben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFMatteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFEdwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia  
DNFJulio Alexis Camacho Bernal (Col) Colombia  
DNFArmondo Quintero Artunduaga (Col) Colombia  
DNFJuan Pablo Valencia (Col) Colombia  
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFThomas Degand (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJérôme Gilbert (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFWarren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFJohannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFYann Huguet (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFThierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFGilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFChristophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKlaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFFrédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFWill Routley (Can) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFKlaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFThomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFMaciej Paterski (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFThomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
DNFAlex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFMikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFPatrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFMiguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFJean Marc Marino (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFYannick Talabardon (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFMassimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFCédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ  
DNFDirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto Belisol  
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFStijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNSDaniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida  


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