August 6, 2016

Front and Center: Women’s La Fleche Wallonne

The Ardennes Classics are defined by one thing- hills. Short and steep, long and shallow, narrow roads, wide roads, through forests, fields and urban centers.  Unlike its predecessors in Flanders and northern France in the first half of April, the races that define the second half of the best of month of bike racing- The Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne- there is very little if any luck involved in winning.  Competing- and succeeding- in the hills of the Ardennes and Limburg requires strength, fortitude, resilience and a keen understanding of how to gauge precisely one’s effort.  Miscalculate and the race can be lost, overestimate one’s strength and as quick as a snap of the finger, the lead group and any hope of winning is gone.  The youngest of the classics, the Amstel Gold Race, recently ran its 50th edition, just half as many as the oldest classic of them all, Liege-Bastogne-Liege.  The midweek La Flèche Wallonne finished its 79th edition, and more importantly, in the world of women’s cycling, it was the 18th edition for the women, and the fourth round of the World Cup competition.  What can at times be viewed as a midweek primer for the harder, more prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège on the men’s calendar, the Wednesday race for the women continues to escalate in the seriousness of its competition and prestige and the effort to generate exposure to help pronounce the viability of women’s professional racing.  Read More



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