Rui Costa and Diego Ulissi to tackle notorious climb of the 'Mur de Huy'
19 April 2017 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates: UAE Team Emirates, led by in-form Portuguese rider Rui Costa, is heading to the second Ardennes Classics of the season and first of two Belgian races- La Flèche Wallonne – this Wednesday 18 April 2017 with hopes of a top ten result following the climb of the iconic Mur de Huy (which translates to 'Wall of Huy').
Costa, who has participated in La Flèche Wallonne across the years placed in the top ten in last year’s edition.
Commenting ahead of the race, UAE Team Emirates’ Captain Rui Costa said: “La Flèche Wallonne, is a peculiar race, and usually happens in the middle of the week and is the final rehearsal for the Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The course is unique and some of the riders in our team like Diego Ulissi, have the necessary qualities for performing well on the very steep Mur de Huy.”
Costa continued: “I cannot say it is one of my favourite Ardennes Classic! Generally steep climbs are difficult for me, however on a day when my legs feel good I can achieve a good result, like last year where I finished in the top ten.”
La Flèche Wallonne is held in April each year in Wallonia, Belgium between the Amstel Gold Race and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. La Flèche Wallonne – The Walloon Arrow in English – started in 1936 and is distinct with its steep hills in the Ardennes. The race 200.5 km race has nine climbs and concludes on top of the Mur de Huy (Wall of Huy), a steep 1.3 km climb averaging a gradient of 9.3 % but maxing out at 26 %.
Joining former World Champion Costa will be teammate, Diego Ulissi, the Italian all-rounder and one of only two riders to ever win the Junior World Championships in consecutive years – 2006 & 2007. “I like La Flèche Wallonne, as it was the first Ardennes Classic I ever took part in. The best results I’ve had at this race have been placing in the top ten twice. I was ninth in 2012 and eighth in 2016.”
Ulissi believes that good results at this tricky Spring Classic can be achieved with good teamwork, he continued: “I like the frantic moments before the approach of the Mur de Huy; you need to be supported by a good team that push you and help you move to the front of the peloton. Each decision is critical and decisive on the climb of the Mur de Huy, if you attack too early or too late, you are out of the top ten. I’m looking forward to the race as I feel that I can achieve better results this year.”
Riding alongside Rui Costa and Diego Ulissi at La Flèche Wallonne, the UAE Team Emirates line-up is completed by Matteo Bono, Marco Marcato, Matej Mohoric, Manuele Mori, Louis Meinjtes and Simone Petilli.