Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) will line up at Flèche Wallonne in an attempt to win a record sixth title on the Mur de Huy on Wednesday. Her initial targets were the Ardennes Classics' Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but she has been added to CCC-Liv's roster for Flèche Wallonne to race alongside teammate and contender Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio.
"We saw how strong Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Marianne Vos are in the Amstel Gold Race," said sports director Jeroen Blijlevens. "In the Waalse Pijl [Flèche Wallonne] they must again be able to participate in the prizes. Ashleigh was second here last year, Marianne has won several times. With the support of a good team, we hope to be able to finish high in the ranking."
To say that Vos or Moolman-Pasio would like to finish high in the ranking is an understatement. The pair have been contenders for nearly all of the Spring Classics, and among the leaders at the races between Strade Bianche in March and Amstel Gold Race last weekend. Vos won Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Bad luck took them both out of contention at Tour of Flanders, and Vos was third at Amstel Gold Race last weekend.
In fact, Vos is showing the best form that the cycling world has seen since her break from the sport several years ago, it would almost seem a waste not to put her on the start line at Flèche Wallonne, particularily after her previous successes. She is the only rider to have won on the Mur de Huy five times (2007-09, 2011 and 2013), and a win on Wednesday would push her record out to six wins.
While Vos' record makes her the undisputed queen of the Mur de Huy, she isn't the only rider on the start line who could break records. Defending champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) has won the last four editions and a victory for her would see her win five in a row, and equal Vos' record count.
Vos will have a strong team surrounding her that includes Moolman-Pasio, who was second in at Flèche Wallonne last year behind van der Breggen. Moolman-Pasio crashed at both Flanders and Amstel Gold, and will no doubt want to prove her top form with a result this spring at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. CCC-Liv's roster for Flèche will also include Jeanne Korevaar, Pauliena Rooijakkers, Agnieszka Skalniak and Riejanne Markus.
The women will race a total of 118.5km starting in Grand-Place square in Huy. They will race a 70km loop before reaching the final circuits where they will tackle the Ereffe-Cherave-Mur combination of climbs twice, with the finish line at the top of the second ascent of the Mur de Huy.