• Julian Alaphilippe surges past Jakob Fuglsang in the final metres of La Fleche Wallonne 2019 (Getty)Source: Getty
It was yet another win for Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) atop the Mur de Huy, as the Frenchman held off a spirited challenge from Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) in the final metres to claim victory.
SBS Cycling Central

25 Apr 2019 - 9:20 AM 

Julian Alaphilippe’s phenomenal season continued this Wednesday in Belgium, where the 26-year-old again conquered Flèche Wallonne, adding the one-day race to his impressive haul of eight 2019 victories, which also includes Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, as well as stages at the Vuelta a San Juan, Tour Colombia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

“Last year, I notched up my first big victory here," siad Alaphilippe, "so being able to repeat that success gives me a lot of joy, but it tastes differently, because this edition was far more difficult.

"I am extremely proud of our team, who rode a perfect race, protected me from kilometre zero, chased down all the moves and always kept me in position. Being able to repay their hard work makes me very happy.”

Eleven climbs peppered the 83rd edition of La Flèche Wallonne, whose 195.5km-long course was regarded by many as the toughest in recent memory. 

The fearsome climb (1300 meters, 9.6%), which has been used as finish venue of the race since the 1980s, making for one of the most spectacular finales in pro cycling, awaited the reduced bunch, who were greeted with a strong headwind, meaning that no significant moves were launched until 500 metres to go, when Fuglsang (Astana) jumped clear of the field.

Alaphilippe was quick to follow the move and sat on the Dane's wheel until 120 metres left, when he launched his prodigious sprint, landing the win.

“I can’t say there was any pressure on me today, but what’s certain is that all eyes were on me," said Alaphilippe, "and you could see several attempts coming from riders who tried to go clear before the Mur de Huy, but my team did a splendid job and controlled everything.”

“The final 300 metres of the race were really hard, due to the headwind on the Mur, but I left it late and timed my acceleration perfectly. As I said, it was tough, and that’s why this victory gives me not just great satisfaction, but also a huge motivation for Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

SBS will broadcast Liege-Bastogne-Liege live, with coverage beginning on Sunday 28 April at 10pm AEST on SBS VICELAND and streaming online at the Cycling Central website and via the SBS OnDemand App.