Valverde, on the hunt for Eddy Merckx in 'his wall' of Huy

The Murcia takes the start in the Walloon Flecha with nine Ardennes classic in his record. Merckx has ten. Alaphilippe defends the title.


Alejandro Valverde arrives at his wall, that of Huy. Murcia is the cyclist who has won more times in history there. Add five Valona Flecha and this Wednesday (from 14:30 in Eurosport 1) looks for the sixth to equal the legend, Eddy Merckx, in the calculation of the Ardennes classics (it also has four Liège). The Belgian won ten (two Amstel Gold Race, three Walloon Flecha and five Liège-Bastogne-Liège), but the rainbow is not fixed on data. "I'm not obsessed with matching him to ," he said before starting the Ardennes triptych on Sunday at the Amstel Gold Race.

In that appointment Valverde did not have a good day. "In the final part I was empty, without strength, without legs," he admitted after crossing the finish line. Blot and new account have done in Movistar. " He had a bad day, that's all. Yesterday he felt very good in the recognition. Arrow is his career and should be ahead if everything goes normal, "admitted José Luis Arrieta, sporting director of the Spanish team. The confidence is total in the current world champion, who will turn 39 tomorrow.

The looks are in Valverde, but the list of favorites is very wide. The great sensation of the moment will not be, Mathieu van der Poel, because his team, the Corendon-Circus, does not run, but si is the only cyclist to have defeated Valverde in Huy in the last five editions: Julian Alaphilippe. The French defends the title after breaking the Spanish hegemony, which had won consecutively between 2014 and 2017.

Alaphilippe, which won the first monument of the year (Milan-San Remo) and was fourth in the last classic, the Amstel Gold Race. "Julian has to do two great races. Many teams will control us. First we have to survive and then we will enter the final circuit, and we will try to control until the final climb to Huy. There we know that Alaphilippe has a fantastic final and we hope he can achieve the same as last year ", wishes Geert Van Bondt, sports director of the Deceuninck.

By its characteristics and those of the test, Valverde and Alaphilippe are the first in all bets, but there are many cyclists who come with options. Fuglsang and Schachmann come in shape after making a great result in the Amstel (third and fifth). Kwiatkowski will lead the Sky and Jesús Herrada, to Cofidis. The Spanish participated for the first time with gallons in 2018. He gained experience (it was 23º, the worst result of the Ardennes triptych of 2018) and he will try to capture it on the road.



Photos from as.com

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