Kirchen powers to victory in Belgian classic

Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen (team High Road) steemed up the final hill under heavy rain to win the Fleche Wallonne classic, ahead of the 2007 Tour de France runner-up, Australia's Cadel Evans.



HUY - A daring late charge by Kim Kirchen earned the Luxembourg rider a narrow victory in the Fleche Wallonne classic on Wednesday.


The High Road rider tore out of the pack on the dauntingly steep final climb in the 199.5 km race for the biggest win of his career.


Australia's Cadel Evans of Australia, the 2007 Tour de France runner-up, was a second behind at the summit finish of the Mur de Huy with Italian Damiano Cunego taking third place.


"I tried the same tactic of a late attack in 2005 and I could only take second, but now I'm stronger." Kirchen told reporters.


"First I followed (2007 Fleche Wallonne winner) Davide Rebellin on the final climb because he always calculates his strength well.


"I was worried I might have left my attack too late, but it turned out I had calculated just right."


Often in the top three last year but without a single win, Kirchen said two stage victories in the Tour of the Basque Country earlier this month had given him extra confidence.


"I was always close last year, but after the Basque Country wins I felt more motivated and sure of my chances," said the 29-year-old.


Heavy rainfall in the hilly classic did not stop Germany's Fabian Wegmann from making a courageous attack 12 km from the line.


Wegmann was reeled in with just 500 metres to go and Evans then attempted to go clear, but Kirchen proved to be stronger.


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