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On the start line at Flèche Wallonne

The 75th edition of Flèche Wallonne began outside the football stadium in Charleroi, with the riders happy to be racing in sunny and warm conditions yet again.

The atmosphere was relaxed before the start as the teams were presented to the crowd and gathered together in the sun. The racing and rivalry will come later today on the Mur de Huy.

The list of big-name favourites for victory on the steep slopes of the Mur is headed by local hero Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) Frank and Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).

Other names to watch for include Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo), Simon Gerrans (Team Sky), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank).

Click here for Cyclingnews' exclusive start line picture gallery.

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Stephen Farrand
Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.