– Reported by Mapei –
Andrea Noи, who recently proved to be in excellent form during the Tour of the Basque Countries, was one of the main men in today’s race finishing in 4th place. “I saw – explains Andrea – Aerts doing very well in Spain, therefore, during the final I tried my best to keep my eyes peeled on him. I knew that sooner or later he would have made a move for a breakaway. During the “Muro di Huy” section I tried to react to his attack. I wanted to win but competing against an Aerts in such good form made it very difficult. However, I am happy with how I rode today; I am riding well in up-hill sections something than reassures me in the light of the next events”.
The Freccia Vallone also represented an important moment for the World Champion Oscar Freire who hasn’t taken part in a race since the Milan-Sanremo. “I really can’t complain with the way I rode today – says Oscar. I finished along with the best members of the group just 24” behind the winner and I didn’t have any problems with my leg. My next event will be the Liege race and then the Amstel Gold Race where I’d like to leave my mark”.
Cadel Evans made his debut in the Northern Classic races and was one of the best riders right up until just a few kilometres from the conclusion of the race. “I tried to be up at the front of the race for as long as possible. This was a very difficult and new race to me, next year I’m sure things will be different. Now I am off to Liege another race that I’ve often dreamt of!”
Paolo Bettini was supported today by members of his Belgian fan club that has 70 members as he crossed the finish line in 37th place. “I rode today’s race thinking about the Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I made a few attempts of a breakaway to enable me to test my conditions. I am happy with my form……let’s wait and see what happens on Sunday”.
MAPEI-Quick Step Classifications/Ranking
Race: Fleche Wallone – 198 kilometres – average speed 42,117 kilometres per hour.
Andrea Noи 4th 4h42’10’’
Oscar Freire 19th 4h42’28’’
Paolo Bettini 37th 4h42’57’’
Cadel Evans 74th 4h47’41’’
Luca Paolini 114th 4h48’28’’
Paolo Fornaciari 118th 4h48’38’’
Fabien De Waele Withdrew —