Sandwiched between the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, La Fleche Wallonne may not carry the Monument tag of the latter, but is still a vital part of the Ardennes Classics.
Won last year by Katusha’s Dani Moreno, who was first up the fierce final climb of the Mur de Huy, the race returns for its 79th edition on Wednesday (April 23).
Home favourite Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), winner in 2011, is the in-form rider after he burst away from his rivals on the Cauberg to win the Amstel Gold Race.
But the Walloon will face stiff competition if he is to take the second step to completing an Ardennes hat-trick this season.
British interest includes Team Sky’s supporting trio of Pete Kennaugh, Josh Edmondson and Ben Swift, while Bury-born twins Adam and Simon Yates race for Orica-GreenEDGE and Stephen Cummings (BMC Racing) also takes the start line.
Read on for our full preview of the course and the contenders over the following pages.