The hill Belgian Classic is always a brutal day of racing, which suits the punchy climbers.
Unsurprisingly, Deceuninck will be headlined by reigning world champion Julian Alaphilippe, a former double winner of Flèche Wallone.
But supporting the Frenchman will be a collection of Deceuninck’s best climbers, including Britain’s James Knox and rising star Mauri Vansevenant.
Sports director Klaas Lodewyck said: “We have a solid line-up for Flèche Wallonne, a race where the team proved in the past that it can do very well, with Julian – who won or was always up there at all his participations – and Mauri, who we all remember what an impressive debut he had last year.
“It’s a strong field at the start, containing many riders who’ll want to get a good result, so it won’t be easy. As was the case in the past, everything should be decided the last time up the Mur de Huy, although attacks could come earlier, on the local laps, meaning we need to be focused and pay attention to these moves.”
Flèche Wallone, taking place on Wednesday (April 21) and raced over 192km, takes in the relentless hills of the Belgian Ardennes, finishing on the famous slopes of the Mur de Huy.
The rider with the most wins in the race is Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, a five-time winner.
But Alaphilippe is hoping to close in on Valverde’s record, having won back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.
Along with Knox and Vansevenent, Alaphilippe will be supported by Mattia Cattaneo, Josef Černy, Dries Devenyns and Mikkel Honoré.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step squad for Flèche Wallone 2021
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN)
James Knox (GBR)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL)
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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