Only Philippe Gilbert and Davide Rebellin (pictured above) have wrapped up a hat-trick of victories in the Ardennes in a single year.
And only four other riders have won all three in a career: Eddy Merckx, Michele Bartoli, Bernard Hinault and Danilo Di Luca. However, it’s worth pointing out that Merckx won LBL and Amstel in the same year twice, both times falling just short (second and third) in Flèche Wallonne.
One rider who’ll be in with a shot at joining that club this year is Alejandro Valverde. He grabbed both Flèche and LBL in 2006, before adding another victory in La Doyenne in 2008. He also won Flèche last year but thus far a win at Amstel Gold has eluded him.
It’s a supremely difficult thing to achieve, partly because all three races are very difficult, and partly because there are so many riders capable of winning, particularly in the current peloton. Since Gilbert in 2011, no single rider has managed more than one win in Ardennes week and with the strength of the current peloton, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that continue for another year.
If you want to know what a treble looks like, here’s highlights of Davide Rebellin’s then unprecedented hat-trick in 2004.