Valverde wins Flech Wallonne for record 4th time

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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.