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"Of course, with Flèche being the first race after País Vasco, it’s difficult to know exactly where I am, but for sure I hope to be there at the front of the bunch the last time up Mur de Huy."

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo

CHRIS ANKER SØRENSEN

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EVGENI PETROV

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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MANUEL BOARO

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MICHAEL VALGREN

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RAFAL MAJKA

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ROBERT KISERLOVSKI

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ROMAN KREUZIGER

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21.04.2015 @ 11:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With a squad in shape after Amstel Gold Race, Tinkoff-Saxo takes on Flèche Wallonne and the dreaded Mur de Huy. Rafal Majka leads the squad backed by Roman Kreuziger with the ambition of representing his team in the full-out surge up Mur de Huy. 
 
Joining the team prior to the Belgian midweek classic off the back of racing in País Vasco and a subsequent block of training, Rafal Majka aims at delivering his best on the iconic and decisive Mur du Huy.
 
“I hope that I hit the day in Fléche Wallonne. I want to do my best for the team and that involves delivering on the Mur de Huy. I saw from Amstel Gold Race that both Valgren and Kreuziger are in good shape so I think we have several options. I join the Ardennes squad after a period of training and I reckon that I’ve had a decent build-up. Of course, with Flèche being the first race after País Vasco, it’s difficult to know exactly where I am, but for sure I hope to be there at the front of the bunch the last time up Mur de Huy”, says Rafal Majka and adds:
 
“Typically there’s a big fight for positioning at the bottom in Huy, as it’s important to enter the climbs in a good position. It’s a hard climb and you just have to go full gas and give it your all”.

With 205.5km of climbing in Ardennes territory, La Flèche Wallone offers undulating racing. But unlike its counterparts Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne puts less strain on the riders on the way to the final ascent of Mur du Huy, where the race then explodes in an anaerobic performance arguably unparalleled during the cycling season.
 
According to team sports director Sean Yates, Tinkoff-Saxo will face tough competition in the classic but approaches the race heads held high with eight riders in-shape.
 
“At Amstel Gold Race, we got the confirmation that the general condition is on the up. And now with the addition of Rafal, I hope that we can be a force and play with the best in this sort of terrain. Flèche is not a super duper hard race, but obviously the finale will ensure that the strongest guy wins. During Amstel we had five riders in that 60-man group before the finish, which means that we’re in good physical shape and we can fully commit to try and create a result in Flèche, whether it’s on the Mur with Rafal or with Roman perhaps in a more continuous effort”, notes Sean Yates, who adds that Tinkoff-Saxo has several cards to play:
 
“I’m hopeful that Rafal is good and I have no reason to believe that he’s not. Roman is also strong, he showed that in Amstel. Indeed, it’s not the best race for him but I hope that he can finish up there with Kiserlovski as well. There’s a new additional climb five kilometers from the finish, and to some extend Roman or even Robert could have a dig there. The race favorites like Rodriguez and Valverde are strong and they’re all going to save themselves for the finale, but I hope Rafal can achieve a top result on Mur de Huy. He has a strong support in Valgren and Boaro as well as Chris Anker, Rovny and Petrov to cover the early moves”.
 
Mur de Huy with its 1.3km of 9,6% is not only a major crowd-puller. The climb with sections of more than 20% is also the pinnacle of the Flèche Wallonne and where the winner reveals himself. In fact, the last time a favorite didn’t pull off a winning move on Mur de Huy was in 2003, where a breakaway kept the favorites at bay. Sean Yates explains the finishing challenge.
 
“We face Mur de Huy as the big race conclusion. It will be crucial to enter the climb in a good position and time the final burst. But no matter how you put it, with this kind of incline it’s simply a climb, where the strongest guy wins. They are going to push their threshold and go all out and we hope that Rafal hits the day. We have a versatile package that should be competitive, but talking about the final result, we are up against pure specialists on a climb like this so we, of course, know that it wont be easy”, finishes Sean Yates.
 
Tinkoff-Saxo lines up Rafal Majka, Roman Kreuziger, Michael Valgren, Robert Kiserlovski, Chris Anker Sørensen, Manuele Boaro, Ivan Rovny and Evgeny Petrov at La Flèche Wallonne.

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