Alejandro Valverde claimed his third Fleche Wallonne title on the Mur de Huy in a race that was marred by a series of crashes.
23 Apr 2015 - 7:35 AM  UPDATED 23 Apr 2015 - 7:46 AM
Thursday 23 Apr 2015

 

Team Sky's Chris Froome was involved in a bad crash in the last 12km of the race, however he fought on to finish the race nearly 13 minutes behind winner Alejandro Valverde.

While suffering cuts and bruises the Brit doesn't appear to have serious injuries.

“Chris was also pretty banged up but showed real courage to finish the race and we’ll assess his injuries overnight," said Sky sports director Gabriel Rasch.  "He hasn’t needed to go to hospital and right now as things stand, we’re still expecting him to line up at the Tour de Romandie next Tuesday."

Sky's Wout Poels and Lars Petter Nordhaug were also involved in crashes with Poels being sent to hospitals for X-rays on his shoulder.

Michael Albasini has claimed Orica-GreenEDGE’s third Classics podium of 2015 at La Fleche Wallonne.

A consistent performer at the Belgian race, including a second place in 2012, Albasini was given the opportunity to lead the Australian outfit.

The 34-year-old finished third atop the Mur de Huy, behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick Step).

"The Mur de Huy is a climb that suits me. This race is also my chance to go for a result because at Amstel (Gold) Race and Liege, I am mostly there as a team-mate for Simon Gerrans or Michael Matthews. As my chance, I have to be good today. Valverde is one of the strongest guys in this kind of finish. You never know (if you can beat him), you always have to try. I was closer than ever maybe, but it still wasn’t possible today." - Michael Albasini

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