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All three Belgien professional contental teams will join the ProTeams in the two Ardennes classics.

Photo: Sirotti

ASO

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CIRCUS-WANTY GOBERT

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CRELAN-EUPHONY

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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IAM CYCLING

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LIÈGE - BASTOGNE - LIÈGE

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SPORT VLAANDEREN - BALOISE

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27.02.2013 @ 15:06 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

 

Six teams have been invited to participate in each of the two Ardennes classics, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. As usual, priority was given to the Belgian teams.

 

With Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico fast approaching, it is time for the organizers of the spring classics to hand out the all-important wild cards. Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) are not only in charge of most of the big races in France. They also organize two of the three prestigious Ardennes classics, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. With ASO handing out the wild cards for Paris-Roubaix last week, invitations to the two famous Walloon races were distributed yesterday.

 

As usual, priority were given to the home teams since all three Belgian professional continental teams, Accent.jobs-Wanty, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise and Crelan-Euphony, were invited. The new Swiss outfit, IAM Cycling, has had a very successful start to the season and have already received a number of wild cards. As the only foreign team, they were invited to both races, and they will certainly look to Thomas Löfkvist to put his mark on the outcome of the classics.

 

In Fleche Wallonne, these four teams will be joined by Colombia and Sojasun. The former had their Classics debut in last year's edition of the race, and even though it proved unsuccessful, the steep finishing climb of Mur de Huy suits a number of the team's explosive climbers like Fabio Duarte. The latter hopes that Julien Simon will continue his meteoric rise through the ranks, and his victory in last year's edition of Grand Prix Wallonie certainly proves that he has the capabilities to be competitive on the climbs of the Ardennes.

 

In Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Colombia and Sojasun will be replaced by the French Cofidis and Europcar teams. Jean-Rene Bernaudeau's troops have one of the outsiders for the victory in their ranks. Last year, Thomas Voeckler fell in love with the Ardennes classics and followed a victory in Brabantse Pijl with top 10 performances in both Amstel Gold Race and Liege. He has made the Ardennes classics one of his objectives for the season, so the invitation comes without any doubt as a relief in the French camp. The Cofidis team will most probably look to Christophe Le Mevel to repeat his earlier results in the Ardennes.

 

The six wild card teams will join the 19 ProTeams on the startline on April 17 and April 21, respectively. Fleche Wallonne was last year won by Joaquim Rodriguez who secured his first big classics victory on the top of Mur de Huy while Liege-Bastogne-Liege was surprisingly claimed by Maxim Iglinskiy in a thrilling battle with Vincenzo Nibali.

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