Rain, cold and wind condition a Flèche wallonne 2024 won by Stephen Williams

Road 17/04/24 16:47 Migue A.

Surely the 2024 Flèche wallonne was presented as tremendously open, but surely no one expected the debacle among all the favorites in a race marked by a truly tough day that made the smallest group in years arrive at the foot of the final ascent to the Huy wall.

Stephen Williams takes advantage of the chaos in the 2024 Flèche wallonne

The 2024 Flèche wallonne was extremely tough, defined from about halfway through the race by a true Belgian classic day with incessant rain, cold, and merciless wind. This, combined with the strong pace of the race, caused a real disaster among the most relevant names in the peloton, surely with their minds more focused on the upcoming Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday than on surviving this Fleche Wallonne.

And that the race started with a sunny day in the streets of Charleroi and a development of the initial part according to the script, with a breakaway of 6 riders, with Lilian Calmejane as the most relevant name and Euskaltel-Euskadi cyclist Txomin Juaristi, who had a lead of up to 5 minutes.

However, the strong pace set by UAE Team Emirates was decimating the peloton and ended the breakaway much earlier than expected, giving the feeling that they had the race completely under control. At least that was the case until the second of the four climbs to the Huy wall, where suddenly, they disappeared, not only from the front but even from the main group of riders from the Emirati team.

Names like Tom Pidcock also gave up on this second climb to Huy, with a look of real suffering, or Mattias Skjelmose, who would end up abandoning the race. Meanwhile, a greatly reduced peloton remained in front, with barely 30 riders, and at the start of the penultimate lap, the Danish rider from Alpecin-Deceuninck, Soren Kragh Andersen, tried to make a move and launched himself in search of a surprise with still two laps to complete on the final circuit.

For a while, it seemed that this could be the case, with the Dane managing to gain a minute and a half lead and with a Groupama-FDJ, taking control of the group, unable to reduce the gap. Thus, they arrived at the foot of the penultimate climb to the Huy wall, where the Alpecin Deceuninck rider still had a chance to win the 2024 Fleche Wallonne while, behind, the strong pace set by British rider Stephen Williams, who was supported by Richard Carapaz, Santiago Buitrago, Kevin Vauquelin, and Maxim van Gils, who formed a small chasing group, reduced Kragh Andersen's lead to less than a minute.

Already in the last lap, it seemed that we might finally see a Fleche Wallonne with a different outcome, but the arrival at the Cote d'Ereffe marked the end of both this breakaway and the escape of the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider thanks to the great work of the 5 Uno-X riders who held on in the group, leaving us with a grouped peloton of just 30 riders to fight for victory in Huy.

An intense ascent, as befits the Huy Wall, in which everyone paced themselves and watched each other closely, so much so that, whether due to lack of strength or the surprise of not being a rider initially considered a candidate for victory, no one was able to react in time when, 300 meters from the finish, Stephen Williams launched a strong attack that was enough for him to claim the prestigious victory in the 2024 Flèche wallonne.

Benoit Cosnefroy tried to close the gap desperately but it was too long for him, and he had to settle for seeing Kevin Vauquelin and Maxim Van Gils, in that order, leave him without a place on the podium on a tremendously tough day where only 44 riders finished.

2024 Flèche wallonne Classification

  1. Stephen Williams (Israel-PremierTech) 4h40'24''
  2. Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-B&B Hotels) +00''
  3. Maxim Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) +03''
  4. Benoit Cosnefroy (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) +03''
  5. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) +03''
  6. Tobias Halland Johannessen (Uno-X) +10''
  7. Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ) +10''
  8. Dorian Godon (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) +10''
  9. Tiesj Benoot (Visma-Lease a Bike) +10''
  10. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +10''



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La lluvia, el frío y el viento condicionan una Flecha valona 2024 que vence Stephen Williams


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A chuva, o frio e o vento condicionam uma Flecha Valona 2024 que é vencida por Stephen Williams


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La pluie, le froid et le vent conditionnent une Flèche wallonne 2024 remportée par Stephen Williams