Fleche Wallonne: what they said . . .


April 25th, ’14.  Ardennes classic number two is done, what did the riders and crew have to say about it?

April 25th, ’14.  Ardennes classic number two is done, what did the riders and crew have to say about it?

Alejandro Valverde (2014 Fleche Wallonne winner)

Sorry to hear that the Ardennes classics haven’t been too keen on you the last little while Alejandro, “The Ardennes were resisting to me in the last few years – always getting podium places, but no victories.  I was coming here a bit furious.”  Yeah, podium positions in World Tour races would make me angry too!  Always remember, one man’s win is the result of one man’s team, “Even though I say it all the time, you don’t win if you haven’t got a strong team.  Feeling yourself well protected and seeing them taking their hearts out for you – it’s really important.”  And really messy, I do hope someone’s standing by with a mop.  And looking ahead to Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, “It’s a race I like, my favourite of the three, where I already won – we’ll go for it.  We can win or lose, but should things go right, we will be in the thick of things.”

Daniel Martin (runner-up)

Happy with the day Mr Martin?  “Everything went to plan, everything went perfectly all day, yeah, as far as I’m concerned I don’t think I could’ve ridden any better.”  What goes through a rider’s mind during the off-season?  Racing of course!  “It was really nice to be able to almost finish it off; to come so close.  I’ve been thinking about these races all winter, especially after winning Liege[-Bastogne-Liege] last year I really wanted to win today.”  So Daniel, is Alejandro a better rider, not better rider, was it close, not close?  “To come so close and to be beaten by a better . . . well, not better rider . . . well, it wasn’t really close in the end,  you know, he kinda blew past me.”  So to recap that was close, better, not better, not close; clear as mud!

Michal Kwiatkowski (third place)

Lesson in how to tackle the Mur de Huy: “I think I did it smart on the Mur de Huy.  I started in front, on the bottom.  Then I took my own speed, which was much better than last year because I lost a few positions on the two corners at about 450 metres to go.  Today, I took my own speed and then sped up before the final.  This final is also about tactics and I think I did that part correctly.”  We congratulate you Michal, just a little bit confused about the next bit, “But I just didn’t have enough legs to just react to Valverde and Dan Martin.”  Ok, so three legs . . . four legs?

Merijn Zeeman (sports director Belkin Pro Cycling)

Fourth and 13th places never felt so good, “On the Mur, Bauke [Mollema] raced with the ambition to win and his fourth place is a fantastic result.  Paul Martens finished 13th and did great, as well.  Today’s racing gives every one of the team a lot of satisfaction.”

Daniel Moreno (defending champion; 9th place)

Accepting defeat graciously, “I could not respond to the others.  I did my maximum but have to admit 8 guys were stronger today.  Of course I am a little bit disappointed when you see how good the team worked.”




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