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Farewell to the Ardennes

Farewell to the Ardennes

Within the continuous closing parade of Alejandro Valverde’s long and prolific career, some moments and places are a little more special. The last experience of the Murcian cyclist in two of the races that have given him the most glory throughout his two decades as a professional cannot be understood in any other way: Flèche Wallonne (five wins) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (four victories). Bala faces his farewell to the Ardennes, at least as a rider, seeking to repeat the good feelings of last season, when he achieved a brilliant podium finish (3rd) at the Wall of Huy and came very close to the feat from the fifth Dean (4th) finishing in the select group of favorites where Tadej Pogacar added his first Monument.

The week starts as usual with an Flèche Wallonne that will once again decide on the wall that solves a race that has, however, gained in complexity over the years with the introduction of new climbs. The chained triple Ereffe-Cherave-Huy will mark the outcome of the race.

More demanding is Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with more than 250 kilometers and eight hard climbs concentrated in its final section, highlighting the climbs to the mythical Redoute and La Roche-aux-Faucons in its decisive area of ​​the race. A challenge of strength and tactics where many of the best GT riders as Tadej Pogacar’s will compete face to face with top-level Classic riders such as Wout van Aert, confirmed after his second place last Sunday in Roubaix.

Photo: Sprint Cycling Agency / Movistar Team