Spaniard Daniel Moreno won the second of the Ardennes Classics, the Fleche Wallonne, on Wednesday giving his team Katusha their second successive victory in the race. The 31-year-old – whose team leader Joaquim Rodriguez won last year – beat two Colombians Sergio Henao and Carlos Alberto Betancur to the line in the 205km race.
Rodriguez failed to mount a challenge as the effects of his fall in last weekend’s Amstel Gold Race took their toll. Moreno, whose previous best win was a stage in the Tour of Spain, made the decisive burst when he passed the world champion Philippe Gilbert, who had gone after Betancur, on the final climb.
“We decided, with ‘Purito’ Rodriguez, to play my card. I went full pelt and I kept going to the end,” said the winner. “It’s my greatest victory, this is my favorite course and I’ve managed to win it.”
The third and final Ardennes one day classic is the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, when Rodriguez should take over the team leadership at Katusha.
“Sunday, during Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Purito will be better,” said Moreno, who powered clear up the Mur de Huy in a stunning finish. Neither Gilbert nor another favorite Peter Sagan of Slovakia could react as Moreno surged to victory.