Calculations: Impossible

January 25 th 2023 - 11:30

When one loves, one doesn't count. And when one suffers? For a quarter of a century, cycling heroines have been toiling on the slopes of the Mur de Huy to claim their Flèche Wallonne. The six chapels, the Claudy Criquielion turn, the 19% gradient and the precise duration and intensity of the effort that will bring them atop of the most arduous final kilometer of the spring are no longer mysteries for the champions who rush today in the wake of Fabiana Luperini, the first woman crowned on the Flèche, in 1998.
Data is ubiquitous, but you still have to do your calculations. Luperini was an expert, crowned three times in Huy. Her early record of success was equaled by Nicole Cooke, beaten by Marianne Vos (5 triumphs) and increased to seven victories by Anna van der Breggen. The two Batavian queens have won almost half of the editions of the historic women's spring classic. Impressive numbers!
Their compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten hoped to join them on the list of winners in 2022, when, for the first time in the history of the event, the Mur de Huy stood up three times on the course of the women. The Dutch icon led the way on the steepest slopes but she was overtaken in the very last meters by Marta Cavalli, a new Italian queen in the Province of Liège.
Did they count their pedal strokes? At this intensity, the stars of the peloton are like everyone else, obsessed with their hearts, beating 200 times a minute, and with the finish line. For the first rider to cross it, it is a conquest. For all of them, it is a deliverance.

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