The French squad was without either climber in last year's edition of the race - a crash in Amstel Gold Race sidelined Vuillermoz for some time in 2016, while Bardet had opted to ride the Giro del Trentino for the past two seasons in his build-up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège instead. The strategy proved moderately successful for the Frenchman, who placed in the top 10 in Trentino and was in the mix in the Liège finale both years, but he and Vuillermoz are both set to take on La Flèche Wallonne in 2017, which has AG2R optimistic about their chances.
Vuillermoz was sixth in 2015, and was third atop the Mur de Huy in a 2015 Tour de France stage, while 2016 Tour de France runner-up Bardet would seem a natural contender on the iconic finishing climb. Carlos Betancur, now with Movistar, was AG2R's last podium finisher in the midweek Ardennes race, back in 2013.
Bardet and Vuillermoz will be joined by a number of uphill specialists on Wednesday. Promising youngster Pierre Latour, who finished inside the top 20 in his Flèche Wallone debut last year, will also make the start, as will veterans Mathias Frank and Cyril Gautier.
AG2R La Mondiale for La Flèche Wallonne: Romain Bardet, Alexis Vuillermoz, Pierre Latour, Mathias Frank, Cyril Gautier, Mickaël Chérel, Quentin Jauregui and Axel Domont.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.