Julian Alaphilippe won the Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday after reeling in Primoz Roglic on the Mur de Huy.
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The Frenchman, who also claimed victory in 2018 and 2019, sat up at the line and wagged a finger after his impressive late comeback.
“Honestly this one (of the three) does a lot of good, with the world champion jersey. I really enjoyed it. I’m really happy,” said Alaphilippe.
Roglic attacked near the bottom of the Mur de Huy climb and only Alaphilippe and Alejandro Valverde were able to follow, as the Spaniard finished third, six seconds down.
Alaphilippe said he kept a low profile to conserve energy for the finale after feeling off-form this week.
“I conserved my energy all day long and I knew exactly what I had to do for the finale,” said th Deceuninck-Quick Step rider. “I wanted to show I had the mentality and lift my arms up at the end of the race,” he said adding that at the end he had both the legs and the attitude to match Roglic.
Earlier, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar’s Team UAE Emirates withdrew from the men’s race just hours before the classic started due to Covid-19 cases.
Pogacar was scheduled to compete alongside last year’s Fleche Wallonne winner Marc Hirschi.
UAE Emirates said they aim to participate in Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege.