CANYON//SRAM Racing will go into Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne with a roster of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Italian road champion Elena Cecchini, Alena Amialiusik and Trixi Worrack. British road champion Hannah Barnes replaces Lisa Brennauer, while Tiffany Cromwell joins the team to replace Alexis Ryan after a crash forced Ryan out of yesterday’s Amstel Gold Race.
Former winner Ferrand-Prévot said she’s looking forward to the Ardennes classic race. “For me Flèche Wallonne is the greatest classic for women. It was a race that I always wanted to win in my career, and when I won in 2014 it was my first big win in Elite. When I crossed the line I can’t describe the feeling. Now I can’t wait to race again on Wednesday.”
The 120km race takes on a different course for the 20th edition with just 7 climbs in total although the peloton still has to battle the famous Mur de Huy twice. After the first time up the Mur and through the start-finish line there is just 28km to race with three big climbs: the Côte d’Ereffe (2km at 5% average), Côte de Cherave (1.3km at 8% average) and the Mur de Huy (1.3km at 9.6% average).
Ferrand-Prévot: “The second last climb, Côte de Cherave, will be important and then of course the final time up the Mur. The Mur is really steep and hard but it’s one of my favourite climbs. I think we have a strong team to play some cards.”
Alena Amialiusik, who finished 6th last year, said “It’s a big race, one of the most beautiful races on the calendar, the crowds are amazing and our team want to get a better result than our 6th last year or 8th in Amstel Gold yesterday.”
Elena Cecchini said, “I really want to help our climbers Alena and Pauline. I hope I will be able to do a huge job for them. I’m really excited about that. I was joking with Pauline at Flanders and I told her that I’m really looking forward to doing a fast lead out for her until the bottom of the Mur de Huy. She cleverly reminded me that lead outs usually last until 300m to go.”
Racing starts at 10:45 (CEST) and can be followed on the team’s Twitter @WMNcycling with #FWF2017 and #UCIWWT.