Even if you’d imagine there are no secrets left in La Flèche Wallonne for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), the Spaniard has nonetheless left as little as possible to chance in his build-up for Wednesday’s race.
Ever since 2016, when he became the first rider to take four wins in the men’s La Flèche Wallonne, Valverde has only had himself to beat in the record books. Should he claim a sixth Flèche Wallonne, Valverde would become the first rider to win a major Classic road-race – Jacques Anquetil’s six GP Nations being a series of time trial victories – more than four years running.
“After the GP Amorebieta” – the same day as Paris-Roubaix, where Valverde finished second – “he came up here to check out the cobbled stage of the Tour de France with his teammates. But then rather than go home again, he stayed on to look over all the Ardennes courses in detail,” Jose Luis Arrieta, Movistar sports director, told Cyclingnews on the eve of Flèche Wallonne.
“First he did the last part of Amstel, then we did a good chunk of Liège-Bastogne-Liège on the section over La Redoute and today [Tuesday] we went over the last two hours of Flèche Wallonne.”
“Obviously, he knows it very well, but it’s good to have another look, re-familiarize himself with Belgian roads, and coming into the Mur the first time [of three] it’s a bit different too, so we wanted to check that out.”
Arrieta pointed out that the Movistar Team looked to be in good form collectively in Amstel, with powerhouses Andrey Amador Imanol Erviti putting in the spadework early on and Mikel Landa showing strongly in the second half of the course.
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