The course, whilst still very hilly, is also radically altered from 2018, with a much harder middle section to the 260-kilometre race as well as the return of a flat run-in to central Liege, rather than a long grind up to Ans. And after last year’s runners-up spot, Woods can no longer be described as an outsider.
On the plus side, Woods’ form is good, EF Education First have a strong line-up and their collective Classics confidence has been boosted enormously after Alberto Bettiol’s unexpected but well-deserved win in Tour of Flanders.
As for Fleche Wallonne, a race which favours him too, Woods said he was disappointed with his result because he had a mechanical at one of the worst possible moments in the race.
“There was a barrage, and it took a long time and a big effort to get back into the race, after which I didn’t have the legs,” he said. “It was frustrating for me because it’s a good race for me, and I didn’t get the result that I wanted. But I’m still really excited for Sunday.”
Would said he believes the new route for Liege-Bastogne-Liege, with the finale no longer an uphill finish, will make for a more open race earlier on.
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