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2016 Spring Classics

2016 Flèche Wallonne

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Manual for Speed found the above note attached to our EuroCar rental on the evening of Flèche Wallonne. We don’t speak Dutch, but we have transcribed it below to the best of our abilities (accuracy isn’t even remotely guaranteed):


U heebt SCHAde LU.

Dat Komt doedat onze Bus

doon tegen oon Kwaw.

U Kon leller met:072-xxxxxx.

Given that we are unable to interpret the note ourselves, we took to Twitter to #crowdsource some translations. We would like to thank everyone for their help, even if it wasn’t helpful, and especially if it was funny/entertaining. Below, some of the best responses are reproduced verbatim.Also, we weren’t super clear about this, but it was totally a competition and Alex Howes won.

  • google translate got me this far ‘you half DAMAGES LU . That’s doendat our bus doon empty oon kwor . you could caller’”- @FFFENS
  • hey! I just met you, and this is crazy, here’s my number, call me maybe”- @UNSYTHERHINO
  • Goedendag. U heeft schade LU. Dat komt doendat onze bus daar tegen aan kwam. U kan bellen met: *number*”- @LUKASCPH
  • we damaged your car left-front with our bus you reach us at: (numbers is telephone number) maybe replace first 0 with +31)”- @RFEDD
  • rough translation: In heaven you shall receive no more than and no fewer than 725613244 virgins.”- @ALEX_HOWES



  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne used to be held on the same weekend, which was then known as “Le Weekend Ardennais”. Since both races have existed, only seven riders have achieved the Ardennes Double. Most recently, Philippe Gilbert and Alejandro Valverde.
  • Ardennes Double sounds like a sexual euphemism.
  • The race was started by the newspaper Les Sports to increase circulation in 1936. The race has taken place every year since, except 1940.
  • Belgians have won the race 38 times, Italians 18 and French 8. The only American to ever win it was Lance Armstrong.

Alejandro Valverde

  • Alejandro Valverde has won Flèche Wallonne more than anyone else, a total of four times.
  • His Twitter account (@alejandrovalverde) is verified.
  • He has 206,000 followers. That’s less than Weird Al Yankovic (3.98 million) but more than comedian Gallagher (750).
  • His nicknames include Balaverde (Green Bullet), La Bala (The Bullet), El Imbatido (The Unbeaten One).
  • He became a professional cyclist in 2002.
  • He has had 96 professional victories.
  • He last updated his personal diary/blog on April 18, 2014.
  • His birthday is on April 25th, which he shares with Al Pacino, Ella Fitzgerald, Jason Lee, and Renée Zellweger.
  • On the day of Valverde’s birthday, in 1980, the United States armed forces, under president Jimmy Carter attempted to end the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 embassy staffers that were being held captive at the US embassy in Teheran. The operation had several names, including Eagle Claw, Evening Light and Rice Bowl.


  • Population: 21,205
  • Postal Code: 4500
  • Area Code: 085
  • Sister cities:
    • Compiegne, France
    • Port-Bouet, Ivory Coast
    • Seosan, South Korea
    • Arona, Italy
    • Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
    • Natitngou, Benin
    • Montagano, Italy
    • Tienen, Belgium
    • Kruje, Albania
    • Velingara, Senegal
    • Taizhou, China
  • Was used as the filming location of the 2014 BBC TV series The Missing about a retired French detective (Julien Baptiste) in search of a missing child. The series starred James Nesbitt (Bofur in The Hobbit movie series). The series was set in France and the UK, but was filmed in Huy in order to take advantage of the Belgian government’s tax shelter scheme to encourage TV and film production there. The episode with the highest viewership in the series was #8 (“Til Death”) with 6.61 million in the UK, and .161 in the US. The Missing has a “Certified Fresh” score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Must-see sights in Huy include:
    • Li Pontia (a river over River Meuse)
    • Li Rondia (rose window in the Gothic Notre-Dame collegiate church)
    • Li Bassina (15th century fountain that stands in the middle of the Grand Place)
    • Li Tchestia (Citadel of Huy)
    • Lee Majors (not really, he was the star of The Fall Guy and The Six Million Dollar man, and lives in Los Angeles, not in Huy)
  • Celebrities from Huy:
    • John Joseph Merlin (Inventor of roller skates)
    • Peter the Hermit (instigator of the First Crusade)
    • Le Pere Pire (1958 Nobel Peace Prize)
    • Alizee Poulicek (Miss Belgium 2008)

The Mur de Huy

  • Officially known as Chemin des Chapelles (Path of the Chapels) since there are seven chapels along its route.
  • Was used as a stage finish in the 2015 Tour de France. That stage was won by Joaquim Rodriguez.
  • Was first used as the finish for Flèche Wallone in 1983. Bernard Hinault won using 39×23 gearing.
  • 1.3 km long.
  • Average gradient of 9.3%.
  • Maximum gradient is 26%.
  • Current male Strava KOM is held by Wilco Kelderman (Power: 512W, VAM: 2146, Time: 3:23).
  • Current female Strava KOM is held by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Power: 329W, VAM: 1807, Time: 4:01).






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