Team Virtu Cycling hits Mur de Huy on Wednesday
Being the second of three classics in the Ardennes, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine is one of the last chances to make a mark on the spring season. Team Virtu Cycling aims to improve Sofia Bertizzolo’s top-10 placement from last year.
The race history for La Flèche Wallonne indicates a race for the specialists.
After four consecutive wins, Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) can defend her title today and is thus considered a major favorite. A victory would equal Marianne Vos’ (CCC-Liv) five career-wins on the Mur de Huy – a rider who also showed promising shape in Amstel Gold Race this weekend.
Covering a distance of 118 hilly kilometers, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine is a race that requires both power and stamina. The parcour includes two laps, including the three climbs Ereffe, Cherave and Mur de Huy – with the finish line at the top of the second ascent of the Mur de Huy.
The spectacular Mur de Huy is a 1,3 km long climb with a drag of 9,6% in average. At its steepest places, the climb is almost 17% and is thus a guarantee for a dramatic finale.
Last year, our young rider, Sofia Bertizzolo, finished in top 10 in the race, and therefore she is very motivated to do well this year:
“I was really looking forward to Flèche, as I last year, was in top 10, and felt good during the entire race. I trained well to come here in good shape”.
Unluckily, Bertizzolo crashed in Amstel Gold Race, and she says that it might influence the outcome of her race:
“I’m not 100% ready, due to the crash, so I don’t know what to expect. If I feel good, I think I can perform well, if not, I will help my teammates, who can do a fantastic performance as well”.
Due to injury, Katrine Aalerud will not be able to start in Flèche Wallonne today but will instead be recovering for Liège-Bastogne-Liège this Sunday. Sport director Carmen Small elaborates:
“We take a bit of hit to the team, not having Katrine race with us, but we need to make sure we are taking care of the riders first and for most. We want to keep her recovering, so she can race at Liége”
“The team is strong with Sofia, who’s coming along since her crash and is ready to race today. We will have Anouska and Rachel bringing experience to the group and will look to be in the front group going into the final climbs”.
The Team Virtu Cycling line-up for La Flèche Wallone Féminine is: Sofia Bertizzolo, Anouska Koster, Louise Norman Hansen, Rachel Neylan and Sara Penton.