Hirschi conquers Mur de Huy to win La Flèche Wallonne

Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) continued his phenomenal season with victory in La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. The 22-year-old from Switzerland powered clear with around 50 meters to go on the Mur de Huy to beat Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) to take the biggest one-day win of his young career.

As expected the race came down to the final slopes of the Mur de Huy, despite an additional climb being added to the race, with Richie Porte (Trek Segafredo) the first potential winner to hit the front with around 1,000m to go. 

The Tour de France podium finisher was able to string out the leading group before Woods pushed forward for what briefly looked like the winning move. But lurking on his wheel was Hirschi, who timed his acceleration perfectly to win the race with a healthy gap on those behind.

Woods' move with 200m to go came just too soon, with Hirschi leaving it late and coming around the Canadian’s left-hand side. Cosnefroy came through the finishing pack to take a well-deserved second place ahead of Woods, while Warren Barguil (Team Arkea Samsic) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) rounded out the top five on the day.

For Hirschi, the successes keep coming. At his maiden Tour de France – his first three-week race of any note – he won a stage and walked away with the combatitivity prize. He followed that with third in the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Italy. 

"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," Hirschi said. "In the final laps, it was so fast anyway, that the guys came back, and on the last climb I had the legs. 

"It was so hard … It’s a steep but steady and you don’t have to go too early, but you are fully lactic acid, and it’s about what’s in the head, you have to be strong in the head to get through the pain."

Earlier on there was heartbreak for 21-year-old Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who was part of the early break of the day. Making his WorldTour debut, the Belgian survived until just the final 4km before crashing on the run-in to the final climb. He was unlikely to have held on for victory but the fall cruelly cut short his race in dramatic fashion. He was caught by Rigoberto Urán (EF Pro Cycling), who had attacked on the penultimate climb, before the rampaging bunch swallowed up both riders with 2km remaining.

Deceuninck-QuickStep set the pace at the foot of the climb as teams looked to position their leaders, before Porte came from almost the back of the group to draw out the main contenders.

How it unfolded

Typically La Flèche Wallonne comes in the middle of the Ardennes but with the rescheduled season, and the recent news of Amstel Gold’s cancellation, teams and riders will take what they’re given when it comes to racing, and after Anna Van der Breggen stormed to the win in the women’s race earlier in the day, it was up to the men to follow.

Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mathijs Paaschens (Bingoal WB) and Marlon Gaillard (Total Direct Energie) broke away and formed the early move, with the foursome establishing a nine-minute lead over the peloton after 50km of racing.

The final 85km was be ridden on a 32km circuit that includes three climbs: the Côte d’Ereffe (final pass 19km from the finish), the Côte du Chemin des Gueuses (9.5km from the line) and, of course, the Mur de Huy, and saw Alessandro de Marchi (CCC Team) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) clip off the front of the peloton.

On the second ascent of the Muy, the pace in the peloton lifted with de Marchi going clear of his Bora companion. However with 25km to go the Italian was caught, while on the Côte d’Ereffe the young Vansevenant pushed clear of his last breakaway companion. Rui Costa and Tim Wellens were both active at the front of the peloton, but with 14km to go Vansevenant still had a minute on those behind.

At the foot of the Côte du Chemin des Gueuses the Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran put in a huge effort to go clear and the EF Pro Cycling rider had 30 seconds as he crested the climb, but even when he caught Vansevenant before the climb the pair only had a marginal lead over the peloton.

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Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb 4:49:17
2Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
3Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling
4Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation
6Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
7Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:05
8Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
9Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
10Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team 0:00:10
11Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
12Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Bingoal WB
13Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro Cycling
14Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
15Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:00:15
16Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:18
17Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation
18Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
19Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
20Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
21Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
22Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
23Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team
24Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
25Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
26Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:28
27Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team
28Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:00:31
29Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:33
30Enrico Gasparotto (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
31Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
32Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 0:00:35
33Laurens Huys (Bel) Bingoal WB 0:00:38
34Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:00:40
35Ben Tulett (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
36Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:42
37Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
38Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:00:46
39Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team
40Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:48
41Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
42Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
43Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain McLaren
44Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie
45Simone Petilli (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
46Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana Pro Team
47José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:56
48Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team Sunweb 0:00:59
49Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
50Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:01:01
51Rob Power (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:01:03
52Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:08
53Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Movistar Team
54Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:01:12
55Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:17
56Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
57Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC Team 0:01:25
58Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:01:34
59Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
60Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
61Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:40
62Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:46
63Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:48
64Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
65James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:01:54
66Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Bingoal WB
67Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
68Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal WB
69Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team
70Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep
71Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma
72Valentin Ferron (Fra) Total Direct Energie
73William Barta (USA) CCC Team
74Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Team Arkea-Samsic
75Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain McLaren
76Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates
77Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
78Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:02:05
79Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
80Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:02:11
81Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:02:38
82Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:02:46
83Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling 0:03:05
84Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
85Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:13
86Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team 0:04:05
87Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott 0:04:14
88Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
89Mark Donovan (GBr) Team Sunweb
90Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie
91Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R la Mondiale
92Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
93Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
94Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Pro Cycling 0:05:11
95Kevin Inkelaar (Ned) Bahrain McLaren
96Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix 0:05:16
97Winner Andrew Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:05:22
98Carlos Barbero (Spa) NTT Pro Cycling
99Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:05:27
100Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:05:45
101Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis
102Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
103Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:05:58
104Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:06:22
105Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Team
106Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:06:25
107Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:06:30
108Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
109Cameron Wurf (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
110Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
111Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis
112Thomas Degand (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
113Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:06:51
114Samuele Battistella (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
115Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal WB 0:06:57
116Stephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain McLaren
117Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:10:14
118Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:10:19
119Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott
120Benjamin King (USA) NTT Pro Cycling 0:10:24
121Fernando Barcelo Aragon (Spa) Cofidis
122Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
123Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team
124Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
125Alex Howes (USA) EF Pro Cycling
126Juan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Movistar Team
127Eddy Fine (Fra) Cofidis
128Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
129Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:10:33
130Rory Sutherland (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation
131Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:10:36
132Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal WB
133Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
134Emiel Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:10:45
135Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
136Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:10:54
137Marlon Gaillard (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:11:16
138Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:12:15
139Rodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana Pro Team
140Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
141Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:12:31
142Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
143Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNSJonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
DNSOdd Christian Eiking (Nor) Circus-Wanty Gobert

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