The Côte de la Redoute will feature on the route of the 2018 Flèche Wallonne as part of race organiser ASO’s bid to make the early part of the race more demanding ahead of the traditional finale atop the Mur de Huy.
As per tradition, La Redoute will also feature on the course of Liège-Bastogne-Liège four days later, some 35 kilometres from the finish in Ans. The route of La Doyenne, which was also unveiled by ASO on Thursday, will feature 11 climbs, including the Côte de Bonnerue and the Côte de Mont-le-Soie – which did not feature on last year’s parcours.
Last year’s Ardennes Classics were dominated by two riders, with Anna van der Breggen winning La Flèche Wallonne Féminine and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, and Alejandro Valverde also doubling up in the men’s races.
The 2018 edition of Flèche Wallonne takes place on Wednesday, April 18 and the men’s race will start from Seraing for the first time. The Côte de la Vecquée and La Redoute, two climbs more readily associated with Liège-Bastogne-Liège feature in the opening 82 kilometres. The ascents of the Côte de Mont and the Côte d’Amay follow before the first of three ascents of the Mur de Huy after 140 kilometres.
The finale again features two laps of a finishing circuit over the Côte d’Ereffe, Côte de Cherave and Mur de Huy, with the finish to come atop the mighty wall after 198.5 kilometres of racing.
The women’s Flèche Wallonne takes place on the same day, and will again start from Huy. The 118.5km race features the Côte de Warre ahead of two laps of the same Ereffe, Cherave and Mur de Huy finishing circuit as the men’s race.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège is fixed for Sunday, April 22, and the men’s peloton will follow a more direct route to the turning point at Bastogne in 2018, with the Côte de Bonnerue the only obstacle on the outward leg.
The Côte de Saint-Roch comes after 109 kilometres, followed by the Côte de Monte-le-Soie after 152 kilometres, but the real difficulties commence at the 170km mark, with the tough trio of the Côte de Pont, Côte de Bellevaux and the Côte de la Ferme Libert.
The longer ascents of the Col du Rosier and the Col du Maquisard follow as the peloton traverses the Ardennes, ahead of the arduous concluding trio of the Côte de la Redoute, Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.
The summit of the Saint-Nicolas is 5.5 kilometres from the finish, which, as has been the case since 1992, is situated at the top of the stiff uphill drag to Ans.
The second edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes sees a replica of last year’s route. The 135km race will feature the Côte de la Vecquée ahead of the same final 35 kilometres as the men, with the Côte de la Redoute, Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons and Côte de Saint-Nicolas preceding the final climb to Ans.
ASO also announced the seven wildcard invitations for each of the men’s races on Thursday morning. Cofidis, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise, Fortuneo – Samsic, Vital Concept Cycling Club, WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic and Wanty – Groupe Gobert have been invited to Flèche Wallonne.
Aqua Blue Sport and Direct Energie have been invited to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, together with Cofidis, Sport Vlaanderen, Baloise, Fortuneo-Samsic, WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic and Wanty – Groupe Gobert.
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