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The profile of the 2020 men's Fleche Wallonne

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews of the men's Fleche Wallonne.

As the Cyclingnews blimp takes flight, the riders have just rolled out of the start.

The men rolled out from Herve in the dry but the roads are wet in Huy.  

We quickly have a first attack: Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mathijs Paasschens (WB Bingoal) and Marlon Gaillard (Total Direct Energie). 

Tom Dumoulin is also racing today with Jumbo-Visma. 

On the early rolling roads, the peloton seems happy to let the breakaway go clear.

The race is east of Liege at the moment, deep in the Wallonne area of Belgium. They will head west towards Huy for three laps of the final circuit. 

The 2020 Ardennes Classics – as with many races this season – come in a wildly unfamiliar spot on this year's calendar, and in an unfamiliar order to boot. 

To read our full race preview, click below.

Several riders tried to form a counter-attack but they have been caught. The four still stay out front but their gap is down to 30 seconds. 

Here is Tadej Pogacar at the sign-on.

And this was the roll out. 

As the race nears the Côte de Trasenster climb, the elastic has snapped and the four attackers have opened a 4:00 lead. 

The UAE Team Emirates is leading the peloton but the break has extended their lead to over 6:00.   

It's time for CCC to grab a bidon. 

New world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will not make his debut in the rainbow stripes at La Flèche Wallonne, despite having previously been named in the Belgian squad's team for the race.

"It is true that it will be a little bit complicated," he told RMC Sport.

The women's  Fleche Wallonne has ended on the Mur de Huy. 

With both Alaphilippe and Alejandro Valverde absent from this year's race, there are no previous winner's in action today. 

150km to go

There is racing virtually every day in the final part of the rescheduled season. 

Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) won the opening stage in Ardooie on Tuesday and leads the overall classification ahead of Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma).

The days are also counting down to the start of the Giro d'Italia, with riders and the Cyclingnews journalists Barry Ryan and Alasdair Fotheringham gathering in Palermo for the Grande Partenza.

Who is your overall favourite to win the Maglia rosa at the 2020 Giro d'Italia. 

Back to Fleche Wallonne and these are the four attackers. 

They face 130km of hilly roads in the West of the Wallonne area but the rain is starting to fall now, making for an even harder day in the saddle.   

The peloton is lined out as it makes a steady chase on wet roads. UAE have two riders on the front and the gap is down to 7:30. 

The riders face three climbs of the Muy de Huy. This is what it looks like from a team car.

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mathijs Paasschens (WB Bingoal) and Marlon Gaillard (Total Direct Energie) are working together to hold onto their lead. 

If Gent-Wevelgem is the middle child of the cobbled Classics, then Flèche Wallonne is its counterpart for the final week of the spring Classics. Flèche Wallonne's accent-grave older sibling, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the much younger stepchild, Amstel Gold Race, now make up the Ardennes Classics.

The first edition of the Belgian race started in Tournai, before moving to Mons and then on to Charleroi, with distances varying from 205km to 280km. In 1951, it settled in next to its older sister as the Ardennes Weekend – back-to-back days of racing around Liège – and settled on a roughly 220km course.

Michal Kwiatkowski leads Ineos Grenadiers team at Fleche Wallonne after finishing fourth at the World Championships on Sunday.

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Most teams have three different programmes running at the moment and Cameron Wurf is upfront at Fleche Wallonne, riding to help the chase.

The peloton passes through the feed zone now, with riders grabbing their musettes and quickly seeing what is for lunch.

Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) is at the back and is working his way back, perhaps after a natural break. 

SARRAN CORRZE FRANCE SEPTEMBER 10 Arrival Marc Hirschi of Switzerland and Team Sunweb Celebration during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 12 a 218km stage from Chauvigny to Sarran Corrze 658m TDF2020 LeTour on September 10 2020 in Sarran Corrze France Photo by Sebastien Nogier

Marc Hirschi celebrates his stage win at the Tour (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

100km to go

Mauri Vansevenant is flying the flag for Deceuninck-QuickStep in the break in the absence of Alaphilippe. 

As we enter the final 100km the roads are rolling much more, with some exposed roads too. 

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Other teams are moving to the front of the peloton as the race nears the start of the 32km circuits. They turn left soon and climb the Côte d'Ereffe first.   

UAE racwe in white but Tadej Pogacar is wearing a black jacket in the peloton.  

The break of four riders lead the peloton by 5:40 with 86km to go.

The Côte d'Ereffe is 2.1km long and climbs at 5%.  

As the roads steepen, a chase group forms off the front of the peloton. The race is coming alive on the first of the three circuits. 

The peloton crests the summit of the Côte d'Ereffe at 5:00 down on the break. 

Alessandro de Marchi (CCC Team) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) have surged away from the peloton as the speed rises. 

The two are on the Côte du Chemin des Gueuses climb, a new climb for this year. it is 1.8km long but will probably  hurt the riders' legs without splitting the peloton.

De Marchi and Schelling have opened a 1:00 lead on the peloton but are 4:10 behind the break. They are clearly riding to be up the road for their team leaders after the first climb of the Mur du Huy.

Ineos move to the front to position Kwiatkowski for the descent towards Huy. 

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Here we go. The break hits the Mur de Huy for the first time. 

Crowds are not allowed on the climb today but there are some people at the foot of the climb. 

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mathijs Paasschens (WB Bingoal) and Marlon Gaillard (Total Direct Energie) climb together, with Gaillard first through the finish area. 

Here comes the peloton. The classic shot of the riders on the steep can be seen from the back. 

Over the top of the Huy and riders grab bidons and try to move up. 

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50km to go

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UAE are riding up front for Pogacar, with EF riding to set-up Michael Woods and Ineos for Kwiatkowski.

Surprisingly Tom Dumoulin is at the back of the lined-out peloton. We will soon see if he is here to race or already thinking about his home race: Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The attackers are back on the Côte du chemin des Gueuses and the gap continues to fall as the peloton surges in pursuit. 

The peloton is 4:00 behind with 40km to race. The climbs should mean the attackers quickly lose time but they have ridden hard today. 

The break approaches the Mur de Huy for a second time with the two chasers at 2:00 and the peloton at 3:00.

The Mur de Huy is 1.3km long, with an average of 9.6%. However the final part is steeper, with the gradient in double digits.

Behind the break, De Marchi surges and distances Schelling. 

Upfront Van Poucke is also dropped from the break as the bell rings out.  

As the peloton reaches the summit, some riders edge away. Others are suffering and distanced. Their race is probably over. 

Rui Costa kicks up the pace. UAE seem keen to make it a hard race and so set-up Pogacar for the finish.

Up front only Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Mathijs Paasschens (WB Bingoal) are together now. but their lead is down to 1:00 to De Marchi, with the peloton at 1:45.

The peloton is down to 160 riders, with EF, Sunweb and Lotto driving the chase.

It's time for the final climb of the Côte d'Ereffe, with just 22km to race.

As the peloton starts the climb, Tim Wellens ups the pace. 

Pogacar is well placed up front, as is Marc Hirschi. 

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step) still leads alone but De Marchi has been swept up. 

The young Belgian is trying to stay away and show his talents but his lead is fading fast. 

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Costa is swept up as Omar Fraille needs a bike change.

He should get back on but it will soon be time for the Côte du chemin des Gueuses.

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is leaving it all out there, as he tries to stay away as long as possible. 

Behind Mikal Landa has freed himself from any responsibility and risks. He sits up and is also thinking about LBL.

Rigoberto Uran is doing the opposite and attacks as the Côte du Chemin des Gueuses begins.

Nobody is chasing Uran for now but it will be hard for him to do anything alone. 

Uran has committed to his attack, forcing UAE and others to chase behind. That helps Woods for the Mur de Huy. 

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Over the top of the climb, its now a fast ride to Huy for the blast up the Mur. 

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep) leads Uran by 15 seconds but the peloton is at 40 seconds. The team are trying to position their leaders on the fast descent to Huy.

5km to go! 

Crash! 

Vansevenant went off the road into the deep grass at high speed. He is not hurt and quickly gets going again.

He is joined by Uran with 3km to go. 

The peloton can see Vansevenant and Uran now and will soon be swallowed up. 

Here we go! 

Pogacar is there.

Kwiatkowski for Ineos.

Bagioli for Deceuninck. Hirschi is there for Sunweb. Woods for EF.

They climb together in the curves as the road steepens.

Porte is back on and on the attack! 

Woods kicks! 

Here comes Hirschi!

Woods looked good but Hirschi came late and more power and more speed. 

He does not even seem tired as other riders congratulate him.

Hirschi is a Fleche Wallonne debutant but rode a perfect finale. 

He jumped on Wood's wheel when the  Canadian jumped early. With 75m to go he surged away on the left to win. 

Behind Benoît Cosnefroy of AG2R came up to snatch second place from Woods. 

This is the top ten: 

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Hirschi is still modest despite his great results in recent weeks.

Behind the top three, Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) impressed to take fourth.

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) attacked early but hung on for eighth place. 

This is the final kilometre of Fleche Wallonne. 

"It went perfect for us with a small group of four guys and my team did a really good job, we put one of the guys to control the race. In the final laps, it was so fast anyway, that the guys came back, and on the last climb I had the legs," Hirschi said. 

Hirschi seems able to convince himself to dig extra deep, even when he is not convinced of his chances.

His win naturally makes him a contender for Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege, even if it a different race with a different finale. 

Here's the shot of Hirschi winning Fleche Wallonne.

Team Sunweb understandably celebrated Hirschi big moment on the podium. 

This is the men's Fleche Wallonne podium.

Masks are obligatory on the podium but importantly the race went ahead.

Hirschi seems to be smiling here but he is suffering as he kicks away to victory.

Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar was expected to fight for victory today but lacked a little in the fight for the front on the Mur de Huy.

La Flche Wallonne 2020 84th Edition Herve Mur de Huy 202 km 30092020 Tadej Pogacar SLO UAE Team Emirates Jan Polanc SLO UAE Team Emirates photo Vincent KalutPNBettiniPhoto2020

(Image credit: Bettini Image)

To read our full report, study the full results and look at our growing photo gallery, click the link below.

La Fleche Wallonne 2020 - 84th Edition - Herve - Mur de Huy 202 km - 30/09/2020 - Marc Hirschi (SUI - Team Sunweb) - photo Vincent Kalut/PN/BettiniPhoto©2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Earlier Anna van der Breggen won the women's Fleche Wallonne. Click below for the full report. 

Michael Woods (EF) spoke about his third place.

Woods added: 

Unfortunately the Ardennes Classics will be cut short this year after the Amstel Gold Race was cancelled due to new COVID-19 restrictions in the Nertherlands. 

Thanks for joining our live coverage today. We'll have more live coverage at the weekend from  the opening stages of the Giro d'Italia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday. 

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