Mario Aerts of the Lotto-Adecco team has just won the 66th edition of the gruelling semi-classic Fleche-Wallone, run over 198 hilly kms in Belgium. Aerts victory came after a blistering attack up the manly “Mur de Huy” – the famous finishing wall that characterizes the race.
Aerts beat Unai Etxebarria (2nd- Euskaltel) and Michele Bartoli (3rd- Fassa), who had been part of a breakaway that also included Andrea Noe (Mapei) , Jose Azevedo (Once) and Axel Merckx (Domo), and escaped within 10kms of the finish.
The race proved uneventful until the end, as the group was pretty much together throughout. Perhaps the most unusual thing today was the placing of 2 (count ’em – 2) Spanish riders in the top 5!
The original Fleche-Wallone (which loosely means “arrow-head) was run in 1936, and was started by a couple of newspaper men looking for more exposure for their journal – who woulda guessed!
Check back later today for full results.