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Gallery: A look back at La Flèche Wallonne

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Zulle, Pantani and Bartoli go head-to-head in 1997

Zulle, Pantani and Bartoli go head-to-head in 1997 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong looks beastly on his way to his 1996 win.

Lance Armstrong looks beastly on his way to his 1996 win. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval - Prodir)

Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval - Prodir) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Aleksandr Sheffr finished third for Saeco in 2003

Aleksandr Sheffr finished third for Saeco in 2003 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) in 2003

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) in 2003 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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2003 and Carlos Sastre (CSC) leads the peloton

2003 and Carlos Sastre (CSC) leads the peloton (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Jan Ullrich chats alongside Alexander Vinokourov

Jan Ullrich chats alongside Alexander Vinokourov (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bartoli was past his best in 2004 but here he leads Tyler Hamilton (Phonak)

Bartoli was past his best in 2004 but here he leads Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) in 2003

Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) in 2003 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Bartoli looks before the 1997 start

Michele Bartoli looks before the 1997 start (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong with Axel Merckx

Lance Armstrong with Axel Merckx (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong with Axel Merckx

Lance Armstrong with Axel Merckx (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong signed for Cofidis before being diagnosed with cancer.

Lance Armstrong signed for Cofidis before being diagnosed with cancer. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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1997 Paris Roubaix winner, Guesdon, with Armstrong at the start of the race

1997 Paris Roubaix winner, Guesdon, with Armstrong at the start of the race (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Frank Vandenbroucke spent the 2004 season with Fassa

Frank Vandenbroucke spent the 2004 season with Fassa (Image credit: Sirotti)
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A young Marco Pinotti on the attack in 2004

A young Marco Pinotti on the attack in 2004 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Thomas Dekker in his old Rabobank colours (2006

Thomas Dekker in his old Rabobank colours (2006 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador before he'd won the Tour. The year, 2006

Alberto Contador before he'd won the Tour. The year, 2006 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert in FDJ colours in 2006

Philippe Gilbert in FDJ colours in 2006 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Garzelli and Voeckler ride side by side in 2006

Garzelli and Voeckler ride side by side in 2006 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Santiago Botero riding for Phonak in 2005

Santiago Botero riding for Phonak in 2005 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Jens Voigt in 2005

Jens Voigt in 2005 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The main contenders line up in 2011

The main contenders line up in 2011 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The 2011 Fleche Wallonne podium

The 2011 Fleche Wallonne podium (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) finishes in 2011

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) finishes in 2011 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins the 2011 edition of the race

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins the 2011 edition of the race (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) in 2004

Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) in 2004 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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A young Jurgen Van Den Broeck in US Postal colors in 2004

A young Jurgen Van Den Broeck in US Postal colors in 2004 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong made an appearance in 1997 when still for Cofidis. He would never race for the French team

Lance Armstrong made an appearance in 1997 when still for Cofidis. He would never race for the French team (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong made an appearance in 1997 when still for Cofidis. He would never race for the French team

Lance Armstrong made an appearance in 1997 when still for Cofidis. He would never race for the French team (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong made an appearance in 1997 when still for Cofidis. He would never race for the French team

Lance Armstrong made an appearance in 1997 when still for Cofidis. He would never race for the French team (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Zulle, Pantani and Bartoli go head-to-head in 1997

Zulle, Pantani and Bartoli go head-to-head in 1997 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Marco Pantani at the start of the race in 1997

Marco Pantani at the start of the race in 1997 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) becomes the second winner of the race in 2006

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) becomes the second winner of the race in 2006 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Bartoli (MG) in 1997

Michele Bartoli (MG) in 1997 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Francisco Mancebo in his pre-Puerto days

Francisco Mancebo in his pre-Puerto days (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Niki Sörensen driving on the front for CSC in the Ardennes.

Niki Sörensen driving on the front for CSC in the Ardennes. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) makes his signature move on the Mur.

Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) makes his signature move on the Mur. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Maxime Monfort at the front for HTC in last year's race.

Maxime Monfort at the front for HTC in last year's race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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You really tend to feel the Mur in your legs on the third ascent of 'The Wall'.

You really tend to feel the Mur in your legs on the third ascent of 'The Wall'. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Rebellin wins in 2009 for Selle-Italia.

Rebellin wins in 2009 for Selle-Italia. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Arroyo fights with Rodriguez in the finale.

Arroyo fights with Rodriguez in the finale. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Igor Astarloa won one of the fastest editions of the arrow in history.

Igor Astarloa won one of the fastest editions of the arrow in history. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andy Schleck rode well in the Ardennes before his breakout in the Giro.

Andy Schleck rode well in the Ardennes before his breakout in the Giro. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Is it possible? Kirchen grabs the biggest win of his career as Evans goes into the red behind.

Is it possible? Kirchen grabs the biggest win of his career as Evans goes into the red behind. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Yarolslav Popovych leads Cadel Evans up the start of the Mur as eventual winner Kim Kirchen sits ready to pounce.

Yarolslav Popovych leads Cadel Evans up the start of the Mur as eventual winner Kim Kirchen sits ready to pounce. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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In case you forget the climb you're on...

In case you forget the climb you're on... (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mattias Kessler at the finish in 2008 - it would prove to be one of the last races for the German rider.

Mattias Kessler at the finish in 2008 - it would prove to be one of the last races for the German rider. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Davide Rebellin blasts away on his way to winning in 2008.

Davide Rebellin blasts away on his way to winning in 2008. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Who else but Bartoli, this time for CSC, gapping the field behind him.

Who else but Bartoli, this time for CSC, gapping the field behind him. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michael 'Boogie man' Boogerd tries to keep the wheel of Bartoli on the Mur.

Michael 'Boogie man' Boogerd tries to keep the wheel of Bartoli on the Mur. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Former world champion Cadel Evans makes his breakthrough classics win in 2010.

Former world champion Cadel Evans makes his breakthrough classics win in 2010. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Three now extinct teams - T-Mobile, Liberty-Seguros and Gerolsteiner - make the final infamous turn on the Mur.

Three now extinct teams - T-Mobile, Liberty-Seguros and Gerolsteiner - make the final infamous turn on the Mur. (Image credit: AFP)
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Bartoli pushing for the finish in the race he loved.

Bartoli pushing for the finish in the race he loved. (Image credit: AFP)
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The colours of the peloton seem far more resplendent come Spring.

The colours of the peloton seem far more resplendent come Spring. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Team High Road rider Kim Kirchen wins in 2008 with a dominant sprint in the final 200m. This win helped the then sponsorless team continue.

Team High Road rider Kim Kirchen wins in 2008 with a dominant sprint in the final 200m. This win helped the then sponsorless team continue. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde dispatched his rivals in 2006.

Alejandro Valverde dispatched his rivals in 2006. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca wins a damp edition of La Flèche Wallonne in '05.

Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca wins a damp edition of La Flèche Wallonne in '05. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong in his Cofidis colours just before the Texan began his treatment for cancer.

Lance Armstrong in his Cofidis colours just before the Texan began his treatment for cancer. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tyler Hamilton makes a face for the camera.

Tyler Hamilton makes a face for the camera. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Swiss rider Alex Zulle contends with Michele Bartoli and Marco Pantani in 1997.

Swiss rider Alex Zulle contends with Michele Bartoli and Marco Pantani in 1997. (Image credit: Sirotti)

The 2012 edition of La Flèche Wallonne should be a cracker with no clear favourite for Wednesday's race. The infamous Mur de Huy will undoubtedly create carnage for some tired legs after the hilly parcours and whoever wins will have to time their move perfectly.

The team at Cyclingnews has put together a gallery of some of the great images of the past 16 years. It gives some perspective to the history of the race - and to the legends who have made the race great in the past.

There were animators like Michele Bartoli, who despite only winning the race once in 1999, could always be counted on to make the racing exciting.

There's plenty more in there so have a look, and enjoy all of Cyclingnews coverage of La Flèche Wallonne by clicking here.