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Valverde wins La Fleche Wallonne 2015

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Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement)

Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge)

Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Steve Morabito (FDJ)

Steve Morabito (FDJ)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge)

Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pierre Rolland (Europcar)

Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) on the Mur de Huy

Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) on the Mur de Huy
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium in third place

Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium in third place
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.
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At the start in Waremme

At the start in Waremme
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michał Gołaś (Etixx-Quick Step)

Michał Gołaś (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was one of the Tour de France GC men riding Fleche this year

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was one of the Tour de France GC men riding Fleche this year
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Davide Frattini (UnitedHealthcare)

Davide Frattini (UnitedHealthcare)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Europcar riders on the Mur de Huy

Europcar riders on the Mur de Huy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Angelo Tulik (Europcar)

Angelo Tulik (Europcar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Kévin Reza (FDJ) was one of the many riders to crash today

Kévin Reza (FDJ) was one of the many riders to crash today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nico Roche (Team Sky)

Nico Roche (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fränk Schleck (Trek)

Fränk Schleck (Trek)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar)

Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Danilo Wyss (BMC)

Danilo Wyss (BMC)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)

Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde Michele Scarponi and Daniel Moreno.

Alejandro Valverde Michele Scarponi and Daniel Moreno.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Tim Wellens and Fabio Felline.

Tim Wellens and Fabio Felline.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome climbs toward the finish.

Chris Froome climbs toward the finish.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julien Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Albasini.

Julien Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Albasini.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julien Alephilippe (Etixx-QuickStep)

Julien Alephilippe (Etixx-QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Daniel Moreno (Team Katusha)

Daniel Moreno (Team Katusha)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Dylan Teuns (BMC) finishes.

Dylan Teuns (BMC) finishes.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rinaldo Nocentini.

Rinaldo Nocentini.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pierre Rolland (Europcar).

Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde Michele Scarponi and Daniel Moreno.

Alejandro Valverde Michele Scarponi and Daniel Moreno.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Gianluca Brambilla on the Mur de Huy.

Gianluca Brambilla on the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde checks behind as he approaches the finish.

Alejandro Valverde checks behind as he approaches the finish.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde at the line.

Alejandro Valverde at the line.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde celebrates his win.

Alejandro Valverde celebrates his win.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wilco Kelderman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) finished 10th.

Wilco Kelderman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) finished 10th.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wilco Kelderman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) finished 10th.

Wilco Kelderman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) finished 10th.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Spectators cheer on a Lotto rider.

Spectators cheer on a Lotto rider.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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orica-GreenEdge made a run at the finale, with Michael Albasani finishing third.

orica-GreenEdge made a run at the finale, with Michael Albasani finishing third.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Julien Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Albasani on the podium.

Julien Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Albasani on the podium.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Julien Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Albasani on the podium.

Julien Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Albasani on the podium.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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: The peloton rides through the Belgian countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.

: The peloton rides through the Belgian countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.
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The pack climbs the Mur de Huy (Huy Wall) during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.

The pack climbs the Mur de Huy (Huy Wall) during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.
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The pack rides through the countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.

The pack rides through the countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.
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Julian Alaphilippe rides during the 2015 La Fleche Wallonne.

Julian Alaphilippe rides during the 2015 La Fleche Wallonne.
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 The peloton rides through the Belgian countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.

The peloton rides through the Belgian countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.
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 The peloton rides through the Belgian countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.

The peloton rides through the Belgian countryside during the 79th La Fleche Wallonne.
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The pack rides during the 2015 La Fleche Wallonne. For the second year in a row and third in total, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) triumphed atop the brutal Mur de Huy climb to win.

The pack rides during the 2015 La Fleche Wallonne. For the second year in a row and third in total, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) triumphed atop the brutal Mur de Huy climb to win.
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The Mur de Huy awaits the peloton.

The Mur de Huy awaits the peloton.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The pack climbs during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.

The pack climbs during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The pack climbs during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.

The pack climbs during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The pack climbs the Mur de Huy during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.

The pack climbs the Mur de Huy during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The pack climbs the Mur de Huy during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.

The pack climbs the Mur de Huy during Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep).

Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r).

Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Julien Alaphilippe climbs the Mur de Huy.

Julien Alaphilippe climbs the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders tackle the Mur de Huy.

Riders tackle the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Racing's Amael Moinard.

BMC Racing's Amael Moinard.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Michael Albasani (Oric-GreenEdge) approach the finish on Mur de Huy.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Michael Albasani (Oric-GreenEdge) approach the finish on Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Gianpaolo Caruso (Team Katusha).

Gianpaolo Caruso (Team Katusha).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome climbs the Mur de Huy followed by an ambulance.

Chris Froome climbs the Mur de Huy followed by an ambulance.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Pieter van Speybrouck climbs the Mur de Huy.

Pieter van Speybrouck climbs the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) climbs the Mur de Huy.

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) climbs the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski on the Mur de Huy.

Michal Kwiatkowski on the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on the Mur de Huy.

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pieter Serry (Etixx-QuickStep).

Pieter Serry (Etixx-QuickStep).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r) and Tom Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin).

Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r) and Tom Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Ben Hermans (BMC Racing).

Ben Hermans (BMC Racing).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing).

Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r).

Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky).

Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Romain Guillemois (Europcar).

Romain Guillemois (Europcar).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing).

Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin).

Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tiago Machado (Team Katusha).

Tiago Machado (Team Katusha).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen and Samuel Sanchez.

BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen and Samuel Sanchez.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali on the attack late in the race.

Vincenzo Nibali on the attack late in the race.
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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A damaged Chris Froome climbs toward the finish.

A damaged Chris Froome climbs toward the finish.
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Vincenzo Nibali on the attack late in the race.

Vincenzo Nibali on the attack late in the race.
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) finsihes with torn shorts after a crash.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) finsihes with torn shorts after a crash.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde jumps away on the Mur de Huy.

Alejandro Valverde jumps away on the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Tim De Waele/CSC)
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A late crash knocked Chris Froome from his bike.

A late crash knocked Chris Froome from his bike.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the finish after his crash.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates his second consecutive Fleche Wallonne win.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates his second consecutive Fleche Wallonne win.
(Image credit: Tim De Waele/CSC)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates his second consecutive Fleche Wallonne win.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates his second consecutive Fleche Wallonne win.
(Image credit: Tim De Waele/CSC)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha).

Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha).
(Image credit: Tim De Waele/CSC)
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Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step)

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step)
(Image credit: Tim De Waele/CSC)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) catches his breath after winning 2015 Fleche Wallonne.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) catches his breath after winning 2015 Fleche Wallonne.
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the line during his second consecutive win at Fleche Wallonne.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the line during his second consecutive win at Fleche Wallonne.
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Alejandro Valverde with his stage trophy.

Alejandro Valverde with his stage trophy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Team Astana).

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Team Astana).
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) makes his winning move.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) makes his winning move.
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Reinier Honig (Orange Cycling Team Roompot) - Mike Teunissen (Team LottoNL - Jumbo).

Reinier Honig (Orange Cycling Team Roompot) - Mike Teunissen (Team LottoNL - Jumbo).
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with the Fleche trophy.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with the Fleche trophy.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde and women's winner Anna van der Breggen.

Alejandro Valverde and women's winner Anna van der Breggen.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the 2015 Fleche Wallonne podium.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the 2015 Fleche Wallonne podium.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge).

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge).

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge).
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing)

Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing)
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Nicolas Roche (Team Sky)

Nicolas Roche (Team Sky)
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Team Sky working for Chris Froome

Team Sky working for Chris Froome
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) returns to racing at La Fleche Wallonne

Chris Froome (Team Sky) returns to racing at La Fleche Wallonne
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The men's La Fleche Wallonne

The men's La Fleche Wallonne
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The 2015 Flèche Wallonne

The 2015 Flèche Wallonne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2015 Flèche Wallonne

The 2015 Flèche Wallonne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep)

Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2015 Flèche Wallonne

The 2015 Flèche Wallonne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The 2015 Flèche Wallonne

The 2015 Flèche Wallonne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The early stages of La Fleche Wallonne

The early stages of La Fleche Wallonne
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Movistar and Team Sky on the front in La Fleche Wallonne

Movistar and Team Sky on the front in La Fleche Wallonne
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Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing)

Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing)
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Former race winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing)

Former race winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing)
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Trek Factory Racing at La Fleche Wallonne

Trek Factory Racing at La Fleche Wallonne
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) meets the fans

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) meets the fans
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Albasini and Yates at the start of La Fleche Wallonne

Albasini and Yates at the start of La Fleche Wallonne
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Katusha set the pace in the early stages of La Fleche Wallonne

Katusha set the pace in the early stages of La Fleche Wallonne
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Katusha set the pace in the early stages of La Fleche Wallonne

Katusha set the pace in the early stages of La Fleche Wallonne
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La Fleche Wallonne 2015

La Fleche Wallonne 2015
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La Fleche Wallonne 2015

La Fleche Wallonne 2015
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The 2015 Flèche Wallonne

The 2015 Flèche Wallonne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The two Fleche Wallone winners, Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

The two Fleche Wallone winners, Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Robert (Lotto Jumbo) finished 25th

Robert (Lotto Jumbo) finished 25th
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) defended his La Flèche Wallonne title with a gutsy performance on the Mur de Huy. The Spaniard led from the front on the final climb and held off the challenges from Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEdge) to win by a clear margin.

The win marked the Spaniard's third win the race and came after Movistar reeled in a late attack from Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), who broke clear on the penultimate climb of the Côte de Cherave, and survived into the final 500 metres.

Valverde used the catch of Wellens as the moment to confidently move to the front of the strung out group of favourites, and as the gradient began to bite world champion and pre-race favourite Michał Kwiatkowski started to lose ground.

The Katusha pairing of Dani Moreno and Joaquim Rodriguez desperately tried to hang onto Valverde’s coattails but they were too far back to respond, with the only the well-placed Albasini and surprise runner-up Alaphilippe able to muster any form of a challenge.

The Frenchman was too good for Albasini but by the time Valverde looked back he was clear of the rest and had plenty of time to savour another La Flèche Wallonne victory.

The race was, however, marred by series of crashes with former winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) forced to abandon. There were other falls for Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) and former Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky).

The addition of the Côte de Cherave, coming just before the Mur de Huy, played a part in reducing the depth of the field before the final climb of the Mur but Movistar and Valverde were never troubled, blending a mix of attack and defence that saw Giovanni Visconti form a dangerous late counter attack with Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) before the last two climbs.

Attacks from Vincenzo Nibali, Tejay van Garderen and Wellens soon followed but Movistar – with help from Lampe Merida, who were working for Rui Costa – neutralized anything that attempted to establish a lead.

How it unfolded

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Mike Teunissen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), Reinier Honig (Team Roompot), Daniele Ratto (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling), and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport) formed the day’s early break, jumping clear inside the opening 10 kilometres and establishing a healthy eight-minute lead over the peloton.

In near-perfect conditions the peloton eased into the task of organising a chase with Katusha and Movistar the first to oblige with turns on the front. Their efforts were merely to keep the break in check, rather than prepare an organised and concerted chase as up ahead De Gendt used his experience to set a steady pace on the opening climbs.

As the peloton approached the Mur de Huy for the first time Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) crossed wheels with Machado. The Irishman gingerly returned to his feet, and eventually the bunch, but his challenge was effectively over.

Team Sky made their presence at the front felt with British road champion Peter Kennaugh setting the pace for the peloton and the gap the break slipping to a more manageable five minutes.

Honig and Teunissen were unceremoniously dropped from the break soon after but the five remaining riders pressed on as Katusha, Etixx-QuickStep and Movistar emerged as the teams willing to control a more determined chase.

Disaster struck for Gilbert, when like Martin, he was taken down in another avoidable fall – the peloton visibly bunching together with parked cars either side of the road. Lars Petter Nordhaug, Wouter Poels (Sky), Ben King (Garmin-Cannondale), Amael Moinard (BMC) and Anthony Roux (FDJ) were caught in the next fall.

Up ahead, the five remaining leaders started the Mur’s second ascent with just a 50-second buffer on a rampaging peloton and by the time they crested the summit only Thomas De Gendt and Jerome Baugnies remained clear.

Visconti and Luis Leon Sanchez took the opportunity to drift clear of the bunch and latch onto the two leaders as they powered down the descent and the newly formed group established a twenty-second lead. With Movistar and Astana taking a breather, it fell to Katusha and Etixx to control the peloton.

On the slopes of the Ereffe, Tejay van Garderen accelerated clear but his efforts were in vain – unable to catch the leaders, he was swallowed up before the penultimate climb – the race’s new addition of the Côte de Cherave.

Visconti and Sanchez started the ascent with a slender lead and it was Nibali was attacked from the bunch first. He simply brought the pack closer to the leaders and provided Wellens with the platform to hit the peloton at the right moment.

Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) tried to give chase but the Italian was unable to keep Wellens in his sights as the Lotto Soudal rider led into the foot of the Mur.

The lead was no more than 15 seconds but any hope of a Lotto win were dashed as the gradient rose. Wellens’ fluidity in pedal stroke was instantly lost, as Lampre and Movistar gathered at the front of the peloton.

 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team5:08:22
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
3Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge
4Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
5Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
6Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:04
7Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
8Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
9Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
10Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
11Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:08
12Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:10
13Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team
14Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:13
15Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
16Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement0:00:16
17Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
18Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
19Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:00:19
20Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
21Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
22Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ.fr
23Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:22
24Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling0:00:23
25Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
26Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
27Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
28Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida0:00:28
29Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:30
30Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing0:00:36
31Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
32Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo
33Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:38
34Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:42
35Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:43
36Michel Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot0:00:51
37Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:53
38Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
39Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:57
40Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:09
41Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:01:16
42Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida0:01:19
43Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:01:32
44Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:37
45Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge0:01:39
46Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha0:01:47
47Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:54
48Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
50Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
51Huub Duijn (Ned) Team Roompot
52Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:02:00
53Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:02:01
54Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:02:02
55Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement0:02:05
56Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
57Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
58Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
59Larry Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
60Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
61Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
62Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
63Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
64Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka0:02:12
65Marc De Maar (Ned) Team Roompot
66Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:02:16
67Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
68Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
69Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:02:19
70Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Team Roompot
71Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement0:02:22
72Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka0:02:27
73Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
74Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
75José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:43
76Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
77Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
78Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:02:50
79Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:02:56
80Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha0:03:29
81Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:33
82Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
83Yannick Eijssen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
84Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:45
85Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team Roompot0:03:58
86Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:04:03
87Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:46
88Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:04:49
89Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:44
90Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:05:47
91Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
92Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step
93Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
94Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge0:05:50
95Caleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
96Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ.fr0:05:53
97Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:06:24
98Jose Rodolfo Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida
99Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:07:11
100Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
101Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:07:19
102Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:07:59
103Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
104Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:08:03
105Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
106Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
107Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
108Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
109Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
110Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka0:08:08
111Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
112Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:08:17
113Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing0:08:22
114Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:08:46
115Mike Terpstra (Ned) Team Roompot0:09:10
116Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement0:09:40
117Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
118Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
119Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
120Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling
121Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:09:52
122Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step0:10:57
123Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:12:19
124Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar0:13:18
125Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:13:20
126Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing
127Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar0:13:28
128Songezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:13:42
129Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:13:51
130Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:14:27
131Frederico Zurlo (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
132Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:17:46
133Reinier Honig (Ned) Team Roompot0:18:02
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFMatej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFBenjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFRein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team
DNFPhilip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky
DNFDaniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFDmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha
DNFLars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
DNFWouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky
DNFPhilippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
DNFRory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team
DNFAmaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
DNFPeter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFLaurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFKévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFAnthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFJussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr
DNFClement Chevrier (Fra) IAM Cycling
DNFJonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNFJarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFOtto Vergaerde (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFJérôme Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFNicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFCheng Ji (Chn) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNFClément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFSimone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFBoris Dron (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
DNFPierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Team Roompot
DNFAlessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
DNFLucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
DNFChristopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
DNFKiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
DNFYohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFPerrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFEvgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFIvan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFMichael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFJulian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing
DNFBob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNFSébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFMatteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFJelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFPim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFRomain Guillemois (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFFredrik Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNFThomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFBertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFNick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFSimon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge

 

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