Alaphilippe defends Fleche Wallonne title in tight finish

Julian Alaphilippe defended his Fleche Wallonne title with a late move to pip Jakob Fuglsang on Wednesday.

Alaphilippe ended Alejandro Valverde's run of four straight triumphs in Belgium in 2018 and he timed a dash well again this year - unlike the Spaniard.

Both men were in the mix late in the proceedings after Tomasz Marczynski and Matej Mohoric were reeled in inside the final 10 kilometres.

Team Sky pair Wout Poels and Michal Kwiatkowski were well placed, too, as the riders moved onto Mur de Huy, but Fuglsang made the decisive move and Deceuninck-Quick Step's Alaphilippe went with him.

Just 0.1km remained as the Frenchman finally nudged in front and he held on to defeat the Astana man by less than a bike length.

The pair finished in four hours, 55 minutes and 14 seconds, before Diego Ulissi, of UAE Team Emirates, pinched third place six seconds back.

Valverde - second last year - was unable to offer any sort of response, finishing outside the top 10 among a group of riders 11 seconds off the pace.

 

FINAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 4:55.14
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
3. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) +0.06
4. Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) +0.08
5. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0.08
6. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +0.08
7. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0.08
8. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +0.08
9. Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) +0.11
10. Enrico Gasparotto (Team Dimension Data) +0.11

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