Dylan Teuns of Bahrain Victorious scored the biggest one-day win of his career, taking out La Flèche Wallonne ahead of five-time winner Alejandro Valverde of Movistar and Aleksandr Vlasov of Bora-Hansgrohe.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream that comes true to win today on the Mur in front of my fans, wife and family. It’s a super special one. I always dreamed of a classic victory and today it happens finally,” said Teuns.
Bahrain Victorious had shown strength in numbers earlier in the race, forcing a split when crosswinds threatened and continued to do so as more selections were made on the later climbs. First Jack Haig attacked on the Côte de Cherave, then Wout Poels went on the front just after the leaders went over the Mur for the 2nd of 3 times, and finally, Damiano Caruso put himself into the wind at the foot of the Côte d’Ereffe.
After the final two leaders – Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM) and Mauri Vansevenant (QST) – had been caught, Teuns, (third here in 2017) found himself in a large group of nearly 20 riders as the famous 800 metres of ‘The Mur’ rose like a wall ahead of them.
Leaving the current Tour de France and world champions in his wake, Teuns wove his way through the group and was left alone with Valverde at the 300 metre mark. Despite all his experience, the five-time Fleche winner simply couldn’t keep up with the Victorious hero of the day.
Teuns’ victory is the 14th of his career, and the first in a one-day race, although it crowns a super-successful April campaign: top ten finishes in 4 from 5 classics.
“The moment I crossed the flame rouge I was really confident. I had something left in the legs and made an extra acceleration and was enough to take the victory. I’m in the shape of my life, I showed that at the Classics. Now I’m heading to Liège with big motivation.”
It takes the tally to 13 wins by Bahrain Victorious riders in 2022, and comes after Matej Mohorič’s ‘monumental’ Milan-Sanremo performance a month ago.
Gorazd Štangelj, sports director in Wallone, commended the entire team’s performance on the day.
“With the quality of the names on the start list I wouldn’t say we expected this result. We were fighting for a good result and we didn’t want to wait, so we tried some moves on the circuit, and kept Dylan and Wout for the finale. The best riders came to the bottom of the final climb but Dylan had incredible legs, and he showed he has that extra star quality today,” he said.
Meanwhile in Italy, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, Santiago Buitrago and Hermann Pernsteiner all finished in the favourites’ group on stage 3 of the Tour of the Alps between Lana and Villabassa, meaning Bilbao retains the green leaders’ jersey, and Buitrago is the joint best young rider.