Teuns edges Valverde for Fleche Wallonne victory

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Dylan Teuns of Bahrain edged out Alejandro Valverde to win the Fleche Wallonne (AFP/BENOIT DOPPAGNE) (BENOIT DOPPAGNE)

Belgian rider Dylan Teuns of the Bahrain team edged out veteran Alejandro Valverde to win the Fleche Wallonne one-day classic on Wednesday.

In the sprint for the line at the top of the Mur de Huy, he saw off Valverde (Movistar), seeking a sixth Fleche victory, and Bora's Aleksandr Vlasov.

World champion and outgoing winner Julian Alaphilippe placed fourth over the 202 kilometre race which included three climbs of the Mur de Huy.

"The legs have spoken, the strongest won today," said three-time winner Alaphilippe.

Two-time Tour de France winner, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, dropped out of contention in the last 300 metres and failed to break the top 10.

Valverde, five days away from celebrating his 42nd birthday, climbed on to the podium for the ninth time in his favourite race, just 0.2 seconds behind Teuns.

"Teuns was the strongest, without a doubt, I congratulate him," said Valverde.

"I'm happy with the result, I gave it my all, second place is worth a win. I wasn't far off.

"In the end, I had almost more pain in my arms than in my legs, but I held on until the finish line."

It was Valverde's final chance to add to his five victories as the Spaniard has already announced that he is riding in his last season.

Teuns, 30, finished third in 2017 and has won two stages on the Tour de France but this was his biggest victory so far.

"I knew when Valverde was going to step up," said Teuns.

"I was on his wheel. Then I felt him come back alongside. Fortunately, I still had some strength.

"I have never felt so strong in the spring classics."

The riders will stay in Belgium for Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The Italian Marta Cavalli of the FDJ team won the women's 133-kilometre race, ahead of the Dutch pair Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx).

Ten days ago, Cavalli won the Amstel Gold one-day classic and also finished fifth in Saturday's Paris-Roubaix.

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