Dubai, UAE - April 25, 2019: UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi recorded his highest ever finish at the Ardennes Classics, picking up a spot on the podium at La Flèche Wallonne. The Italian proved he is in fine condition and was rewarded for his aggressive riding style, finishing third behind winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and second place, Jakob Fuglsang (Team Astana).
The race was an extremely fast one, with riders going full gas from the start. The unrelenting pace split the peloton and as they approached the final climb – the Mur de Huy – there were just 30 riders left to battle it out for victory.
Ulissi was well placed at the front of the group, and it looked like the Italian veteran could take the spoils. But in the final 250m, his rivals attacked again and managed to pull away from the chasing group. Battling hard, Ulissi crossed the line 6” behind the winner and 2” ahead of his nearest competitor.
Commenting on the finish, UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi said: “Today I was very good. I made my move on the last lap, as planned, but then I saw that behind they didn’t let us go free.
When they brought me back, as our leader Daniel Martin was no longer in the game, I tried to save as much energy as possible and take on the last climb the best I could. I must say that I made a great final climb. I was also a little surprised because the last 200 metres have always been a bit impossible for me, but not this time.
We also moved very well as a team, first with Henao in the breakaway of the first lap, and then with Rui Costa, who tried to help me in the final kilometres. On Sunday, we have Liège-Bastogne-Liège, one of my favourite races.
I head there in good physical condition and we must continue like this!”
The riders now have a couple of days to rest before they get set for their final test at the Ardennes Classics, Liège–Bastogne–Liège (28 April).