Twenty-two-year old Etoxx-Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe was in fantastic position going into the final 200 meters of the 205.5km La Flèche Wallonne and managed to finish second behind winner Alejandro Valverde in his Fleche Wallonne debut.

"This is my first time racing Flèche and I had never done the Mur de Huy before. I'm surprised and happy about my second place after a strong team performance today. My goal was to help Michal Kwiatkowski be in the top positions before the Mur de Huy. The Côte de Cherave created a tense finale. A lot of riders wanted to attack there. My job was to follow the attacks in support of Michal. A big bunch showed up on the Mur de Huy, which was a different scenario compared to previous years. As a team we did a great job surrounding Michal and controlling the attacks of the day. On the Mur de Huy I found myself very well positioned at the front. I had great legs on the climb and the nature of the Mur de Huy makes it difficult to contest the finale if you are not in front. So my Sport Director told me to just go for the victory as I was in great position with good condition. I did everything I could, but I saw Alejandro Valverde was in front and on this steep climb there was just no way to close the gap. He deserved the victory today. I'm still a young rider trying to gain experience and am happy that I can be there to both help my teammate, and also try if there is an opportunity for myself in the finale." - Julian Alaphilippe