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Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig: Everyone knows Mur de Huy is a death climb

Fleche Wallonne 2020 Anna van der Breggen beats Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
Fleche Wallonne 2020 Anna van der Breggen beats Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Image credit: Getty Images)

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig has revealed that La Flèche Wallonne Feminine is one of her favourite races of the Spring Classics. The FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope leader says she will, once again, fight for the victory on steep slopes of the Mur de Huy on Wednesday.  

"Flèche is so epic and you don’t, by coincidence, win Flèche Wallonne, it’s because you are the strongest," said Uttrup Ludwig, who finished second to Anna van der Breggen in last year's edition.

"It’s such an epic finish up a mega, mega hard climb, and everyone knows that it’s a death climb. It’s a love-hate relationship with that climb."

La Flèche Wallonne Feminine marks the second installment of the Ardennes Classics after Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) opened the three-race series with victory at Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition on Sunday. 

Organisers of La Flèche Wallonne Feminine offer a much more challenging finale to its mid-week event, with the race traditionally finishing on the Mur de Huy and where Van der Breggen has won a record six consecutive titles.

Uttrup Ludwig finished second behind Van der Breggen in last year’s edition, which was moved to October due to COVID-19 health concerns and restrictions last spring. The Danish all-rounder has been hunting her first victory on the Women’s WorldTour and is hoping to, once again, be part of the finale on the Mur de Huy.

The women’s race is 130km and starts in Huy with one large loop that includes three categorised climbs before reaching the final decisive local circuit back in Huy.

What’s left of the peloton will enter the local circuits at the 90.7km mark, and contest the first passage up the Mur de Huy (98.5km). They will race along one full circuit that will take them up the final ascents; Côte d'Ereffe (111.1km) and Côte du Chemin des Gueuses (120.6km), before reaching the base of the final 1.3km climb to the finish line on the Mur de Huy.

The Mur de Huy is steep 1.3km ascent that starts with a run-in along the Avenue du Condroz before reaching the first righthand bend at a 10 per cent grade. The climbs steepens to 12 per cent, then 14 per cent, and after a hard left turn it hits its steepest section at 19 per cent with 400 metres to go. The grade ever-so-slightly eases off to 13 per cent, and then 9 per cent in the final 100 metres to the finish line.

Uttrup Ludwig has a strong team to support her efforts ahead of the Mur de Huy with riders like Marta Cavalli, Stine Borgli, Eugenie Duval, Emilia Fahlin and Evita Muzic.

"The Mur de Huy … it’s so epic. I want to be up there and if you want it, I think you can make it happen." 

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.