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So far the 2013 season has been rather disappointing for the BMC rider but Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne offers the reigning world champion a new shot at glory.

Photo: Sirotti




16.04.2013 @ 09:10 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

The reigning world champion, Philippe Gilbert (BMC), is one of a group of riders at ease climbing the final ascent up the Mur de Huy, and firmly intends to show this on his home turf. However, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has now thrown a spanner in the works and will try to beat him at the Flèche Wallonne. As such, the Slovakian rider added his name to the list of pretenders for victory.


The status of Philippe Gilbert fluctuates from week to week and year to year. During the week of the Ardennes Classics, its most minute variations are watched with hawk-like intent and commented upon in fine detail. The native of Liège’s form is not only a subject of discussion for his supporters or critics, but for his rivals it is also information of strategic importance that can determine how they ride the race. In this domain, the standard is still the one set during the 2011 season, when “Phil Gil” started the Flèche Wallonne having already triumphed at the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Brabançonne (Brabantse Pijl), but also on a stage of the Tour of the Algarve, a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and the Strade Bianche. In comparison with such a sequence, his intermediate results in 2013 appear to be somewhat slim pickings, with two missed opportunities, on the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice and on the Flèche Brabançonne. On the Mur de Huy, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) will not be there to get in his way, but Peter Sagan, on the condition that he makes his debut at the event with his usual ease, will be a formidable challenger. Last year’s experience serves as a reminder that even with a slightly less than impressive finishing time, Gilbert still managed to climb onto the podium (in 3rd place).


At the Amstel Gold Race, the world champion was able to gauge the competition that will be waiting for him on the Mur de Huy. Whilst the winner on the Cauberg, Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff), will almost certainly be assisting his team leader Alberto Contador (3rd in 2010), the rivals surrounding him last Sunday in the sprint for 2nd place could again be in attendance, whether it is the experienced Alejandro Valverde (Movistar, 2nd), the semi-revelations of the race Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS, 4th) and Sergio Henao (Sky, 6th) or, to a lesser extent, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE, 3rd). What remains to be seen is whether the title holder, Joaquím Rodriguez (Katusha), who fell during the Amstel Gold Race, will still be among the pretenders for a place on the podium in the final climb up ‘The Wall’. We are very likely to see Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE), 2nd in 2012, and also Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), or even Richie Porte (Sky), the most noteworthy novice in the race.


Starting at 14.30 on Wednesday you can follow the action from Flèche Wallonne llive here on



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