WorldTeam Sylvain Moniquet after Flèche Wallonne: “One of the nicest days on the bike so far in my career.”
Lotto Soudal chose for offensive tactics at the 85th Flèche Wallonne. After the start in Charleroi, an eight-rider breakaway formed with Lotto Soudal rider Sylvain Moniquet, who was eager to show himself as he raced on his training roads. And so he did, as the 23-year-old left a strong impression, despite crashing out of the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday.
“It really was a magnificent race today and I really enjoyed it. It is one of the most beautiful days on the bike so far in my career”, begins Sylvain Moniquet. “I raced on my training roads, I live in the region, so I’ve had many encouragements from friends at the side of the road. Besides, my training buddy Louis Vervaeke was also part of the strong early break. I tried to save some energy for the final, but in the end, it was impossible to stay ahead. We rode at quite a high pace, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough. Nevertheless, I am really happy with my race, it really was the perfect day”, concludes Sylvain Moniquet.
At the foot of the penultimate climb of the day, the Côte de chemin des Gueuses, the peloton had the remainder of the early break in sight. Moments later, Tim Wellens decided it was time to open the race. The Lotto Soudal rider launched a strong attack, but the reduced bunch had clearly set its eyes on a final showdown on the Mur de Huy. Wellens was able to open up a small gap, but staying ahead proved to be a mission impossible. Wellens was reeled in and at breakneck speed, the reduced peloton made its way to the final ascent of the Mur de Huy, where Julian Alaphilippe rode to his third Flèche Wallonne victory. Tim Wellens had fired his bullets before and wasn’t able to play a role on the Mur as he finished 36th.
“The first part of our tactical plan was perfectly executed by Sylvain Moniquet, who was part of the early breakaway. Our youngster rode a really strong race. In the second part of our plan, we would try something in the final. So I attacked on the penultimate climb. I went quite fast I think, but the peloton didn’t hesitate for a second and didn’t grant me a decent advantage, not even when I was joined by several other riders. Still, I am quite happy about my race. If you don’t try, you never know what the outcome will be. That is the way we had to race today, but unfortunately it didn’t work out”, concludes Tim Wellens.
Images: Photo News.