Huy - France's Julian Alaphilippe won the Fleche Wallonne one-day classic
for the second year running on Wednesday, adding to last month's
Milan-San Remo triumph.
The Deceuninck Quick-Step rider took victory ahead of Denmark's Jakob
Fuglsang atop the famed Mur de Huy in Belgium to claim the 83rd edition
of the Ardennes classic.
Alaphilippe and Fuglsang had led Sunday's Amstel Gold Race in the
Netherlands only for rising Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel to snatch
away victory in a sprint finish.
However the 26-year-old Alaphilippe, who claimed his first win in one
of cycling's 'Monument' races at Milan-San Remo, was not to be denied a
"I think he (Fuglsang) was as disappointed as me not to have won the
Amstel. We could have had a one-two, and here we again found ourselves
in front," said Alaphilippe, who also edged Fuglsang to win the Strade
Bianche last month.
"The end wasn't easy. Fuglsang is a very good rider who I respect a lot. He was difficult to beat."
Italy's Diego Ulissi secured third place ahead of young Belgian Bjorg Lambrecht and Germany's Maximilian Schachmann.
Five-time former champion Alejandro Valverde of Spain finished 11th, a day ahead of his 39th birthday.
Adam Yates and Roman Kreuziger were knocked out of contention
following a crash 30 kilometres from the finish, along with Ion
Izagirre, a recent winner at the Tour of the Basque Country.
A group driven by Schachmann's Bora team attempted to widen the gap
after the second of three climbs of the Mur de Huy, but they were caught
by a chasing pack led by the team-mates of Valverde and Alaphilippe.
Enric Mas, working in support of Alaphilippe, then pressed ahead with
a steady tempo to ward off attacks, setting up the latter for another
enthralling showdown with Fuglsang.
"It's a race that is important to me," said Alaphilippe, who was full
of praise for his team-mates. "The Ardennes classics period is one I
"Last year, it was my first big win. It wasn't easy wearing the
number one jersey. I tried to detach myself from all the pressure."
Fuglsang said he was pleased with his performance despite another near-miss.
"I'm happy to finish on the podium," he said. "I'm happy with this
result. I was more disappointed with my third place at the Amstel.
"Here, it was a good fight on the Mur de Huy knowing that this race is not necessarily made for my qualities."
The third and final of this year's Ardennes classics, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, takes place on Sunday.
1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/DEC) 4hr 55min 14sec, 2. Jakob Fuglsang
(DEN/AST) same time, 3. Diego Ulissi (ITA/UAE) at 6sec, 4. Bjorg
Lambrecht (BEL/LOT) 8, 5. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/BOR) s.t., 6. Bauke
Mollema (NED/TRE) s.t., 7. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOR) s.t., 8. Michael
Matthews (AUS/SUN) s.t., 9. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LOT) 11, 10. Enrico
Gasparotto (ITA/DDT) s.t.
11. Alejandro Valverde (FRA/MOV) 11
16. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/SKY) 11