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"In Linus we have a rider who is tactically very clever and can lead the team well during a race like this. He will be the captain today for sure," Zemke says

Photo: Sirotti

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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IGNATAS KONOVALOVAS

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JACOBUS JOHANNES VENTER

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JAY ROBERT THOMSON

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LINUS GERDEMANN

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YOUCEF REGUIGUI

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23.04.2014 @ 11:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

MTN-Qhubeka will line up in another big classic today when a roster made mostly up of African riders tackle the Fleche Wallonne. Linus Gerdemann will act as road captain for the squad which hopes to animate the race.

 

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung have a big day ahead of them as they start the World Tour Ardennes Classic, La Fleche Wallonne later today. The 78th edition of La Fleche Wallonne will be a massively important race for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as they get the chance to compare themselves against the worlds very best riders once again. The race will also be broadcast on national television in South Africa, allowing the home fans the rare opportunity to watch their team live.
 
La Fleche Wallonne, takes place in the Walloon region of Belgium and typically suits a light explosive climber as the finish line is at the top of the Mur de Huy, translated as The Wall of Huy. This name is rather fitting as the Mur de Huy at just 1.3km long, has an average gradient of 9% with a max slope of 26%. While climbing this road once would be enough in most races, La Fleche Wallonne goes over the Mur no less than on 3 occasions.
 
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will be counting on the experience of Linus Gerdemann to guide our young African team through the 200km Ardennes Classic. Dennis van Niekerk, Jaco Venter, Jay Thomson, Johann van Zyl, Youcef Reguigui, Merhawi Kudus and Ignatas Konovalovas are the riders that will make up the rest of the team.
 
"The Ardennes Classics are suited to the big names of cycling," Directeur Sportif Jens Zemke said. "All the GC riders of the grand tours are visible and they fight for the podiums in these races so we are proud to be part of Fleche today and we will try to show our colors. In Linus we have a rider who is tactically very clever and can lead the team well during a race like this. He will be the captain today for sure.
 
"For all our other riders it will be the first Fleche that they have ever taken part in and today they will all definitely be on a learning curve. With Merhawi we have a climbing talent to watch out for and Jay showed in the last few races what a big engine he has by fighting it out in the breakaways.
 
"It’s going to be a really hard race especially over the last closing circuits and also going up the Mur de Huy 3 times will be unreal," Van Niekerk said. "I have been feeling quite strong the last few races so I’m hoping to have a good race today."
 
"I'm really amped and motivated for Fleche today," Van Zyl said. "We went and reconned some of the final climbs yesterday and the final is going to be super hard with those climbs and the Mur de Huy 3 times.
 
"I hope that my fitness level is coming back. I took a bit longer to recover from my crash at the Ronde than I expected and I ended up not riding for a week and a half after that. Mondays Rund um Koln was a real wake up call to the body."

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