Alejandro Valverde still likes La Fleche Wallonne

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘did Greg Van Avermaet come second, or possibly, in light of his recent major results, third?’ The answer is no. He didn’t race. He might be back for Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, but I don’t actually know his race itinerary, so I can’t confirm that.

This year’s La Fleche Wallonne was actually won by another rider perhaps overly familiar with the lower steps of the podium: Alejandro Valverde. Making something of a mockery of that assessment of his career, he also won the race last year.

I can pretty much rehash that report to be honest. As I said then, Valverde likes these sorts of finishes: steep, but necessitating a bit more oomph. He liked the Mur de Huy then and he likes it now. Will he also like it in the Tour de France in July?

I’ve little to add, but a quick nod to Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, the 22-year-old who came second. With a seventh place in Amstel Gold, he’s already had a good time in the Ardennes, regardless of what happens on Sunday. I always like someone who can climb with power – rather than just dragging along relentlessly until everyone else is knackered, like the Grand Tour specialists – and Alaphilippe seems to be that kind of rider. Good luck to him.