• Grace Brown leads the Mitchelton-Scott train and the peloton during Amstel Gold (Velo)
Mitchelton-Scott enters tonight's Fleche Wallonne with a really shot at victory in the men's and women's races.
By
SBS Cycling Central

Source:
Mitchelton-Scott
24 Apr - 9:03 AM 

Double time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten will line-up in the Belgian Ardennes buoyed by her narrow second place in the Netherlands on Sunday and she will be joined by Australian Amanda Spratt fresh from an attacking performance.

Watch the highlights from the thrilling Amstel Gold races here!
Van der Poel triumphs in spectacular Amstel Gold finale
Mathieu van der Poel (Correndon-Circus) was the victor in one of the most memorable race finishes in recent years as he led the field to complete a last-gasp victory ahead of Australian Simon Clarke (EF Education First)
Niewiadoma wins thrilling Amstel Gold race
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) was pushed all the way by Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) at the women's edition of the Amstel Gold Race after escaping on the final ascent of the famous climb of the Cauberg.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:

Jess Allen (AUS, 26)
Grace Brown (AUS, 26)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS, 30)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, 31)
Moniek Tenniglo (NED, 30)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 36)

Van Vleuten has climbed to fourth place in the past two seasons, finishing one place ahead of her teammate, Spratt in 2018. Van Vleuten’s best result at Fleche Wallonne came in 2015 when she finished runner-up to four-time winner Anna van der Breggen, while the team’s best showing came back in 2012 with former rider Linda Villumsen taking third place.

Spratt showed some impressive form at Amstel, producing one of the most attacking rides of the day, which nearly resulted in a result from the breakaway before a breakdown in cooperation saw the escapees caught by the peloton late.

“Flèche is a different race to Amstel," said Spratt. "We don’t have the same narrow roads like in Holland and for sure it’s not as technical. I think for us, we still want a hard race and we want to come into the finale with a tired bunch, so we need to think about the best way for that to happen.” 

“I think the whole team can take a lot of confidence from our performance at Amstel. It was cool to be a part of such a strong team plan and really use all of our strengths so well. Sometimes you can be disappointed with a second place, but this time the whole team was buzzing and proud of what we achieved.”

“The main thing is the team showed on Sunday how strong we are and I think we can take that feeling and motivation to the start line on Wednesday. Of course, everyone looks to the finish up the famous Mur de Huy climb so we have to be prepared to absolutely kill ourselves up there to achieve the maximum result - a win!”

Recent Pais Vasco stage winner Adam Yates will lead the men's team at Flèche Wallonne this week looking for a good result up the Mur de Huy, having missed the race the last two-years.

With a strong team stacked with experience and climbing talent, with the likes of Michael Albasini who has featured in the top ten on five occasions, two of them podium placings, Mitchelton-SCOTT are feeling confident to deliver a good result on Wednesday in the challenging mid-week Classic.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:

Michael Albasini - (SUI, 38)
Tsgabu Grmay - (ETH, 27)
Damien Howson - (AUS, 26)
Daryl Impey - (RSA, 34)
Dion Smith (NZ, 26)
Nick Schultz - (AUS, 23)
Adam Yates - (GB, 26)

Herald Sun Tour stage winner Nick Schultz will make his debut at the Fleche Wallonne, with Damien Howson the only other Australian within the World Tour squad. 

“I am really looking forward to Flèche," said Schultz. "I’ve heard it’s a super taxing race and I’m excited to discover it for myself. I expect it to be super hard but I hope I’m capable of doing a job for the leaders. 

“I’m confident that those experienced guys can deliver a result. They have before, and they all seem to be on very fine form. It’s very motivating to start such a big race with guys like that knowing they can deliver a great ride.”

In all, 17 Australians will tackle the infamous ascent of the Mur de Huy, with eight in the women's race and nine in the men's.

SBS will broadcast the Fleche Wallonne, with coverage starting from 2230 AEST Wednesday April 24.