HUY, Belgium (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain became the first rider to win the Fleche Wallonne four times after a third straight title Wednesday.
Spanish rider Joaquin Rodriguez was the first to attack in the brutal Mur de Huy climb but Valverde countered the move and won the sprint ahead of Julian Alaphilippe.
Valverde also won the race in 2006, 2014 and 2015.
The Mur de Huy is one of cycling’s most difficult climbs, with a 26 percent gradient at its steepest. Valverde remained well positioned at the front from the foot of the climb and waited for the right time to surge ahead with a few hundred meters left.
Dan Martin completed the podium ahead of Wout Poels and Amstel Gold Race champion Enrico Gasparotto.
BERN, Switzerland (AP) Andy Rihs, a Swiss businessman who owned the BMC Racing cycling team and Young Boys soccer club, has died. He was 75.
Rihs died Wednesday in Zurich after “a patient and valiantly endured illness,” the BMC team said Thursday in a statement.
“Our grief is indescribable, but we will carry on his values,” the team said, praising Rihs for his “generosity, his sense of humor, and his infectious laugh.”
Rihs’s death comes with Young Boys close to winning its first Swiss league title in 32 years. Young Boys leads by 11 points with six matches left.
“Andy, thank you for everything. We will miss you,” Young Boys said in a statement.
Rihs’s brother, Hans-Ueli, is also an owner of the club and Stade de Suisse in Bern, known locally as Wankdorf. The stadium staged the 1954 World Cup final.
As BMC owner, Rihs secured a Tour de France title five years after his previous team was involved in a doping scandal. Cadel Evans of Australia wore BMC’s black and red colors to victory in the 2011 Tour.
In 2006, the Rihs-backed Phonak team disbanded after American rider Floyd Landis was stripped of the Tour title.
LOS ANGELES (AP) The top men’s and women’s teams will compete next month in the Amgen Tour of California, the premier U.S. cycling race.
The men will cover 645 miles over seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento from May 13 to May 19. The women will have three of the top five teams for their three-day, 187-mile race that starts May 17 in Elk Grove.
Race owner AEG announced Thursday that Pete Sagan will ride for the BORA-hansgrohe team while Mark Cavendish will go for Team Dimension Data and be joined by Rafal Majka.
Tony Gallopin of AG2R La Mondiale is in the men’s field. So is LottoNL-Jumbo’s Nielson Powless, the race’s best young rider in 2016.
The women feature 2016 champion Megan Guarnier of USA Cycling National Team, Katie Hall of UnitedHealthcare and Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon/SCRAM.