The Ardennes are calling and Israel – Premier Tech is looking to turn the classics season around at La Flèche Wallonne where Mike Woods and Jakob Fuglsang give the team two cards to play.

There is no secret to success at La Flèche Wallonne, says Sports Director Steve Bauer.

La Flèche Wallonne is a really great opportunity for our team. We obviously have two very strong leaders in Mike Woods and Jakob Fuglsang who have both done great performances here in the past and have been on the podium. Perhaps this will be our year with one of those men. It’s all about the Mur de Huy. If we can position our guys for the final lap and they have good power, that’s what it’s all about. There is no secret here in Flèche, it’s all about the Mur.”

Woods takes confidence from his form in Pais Vasco and is looking forward to testing his legs tomorrow.

The big goal is to turn a page here. I raced in the Basque Country last week and started off not where I wanted to be but ended where I wanted to be. I didn’t win, I wasn’t in the front group at the very end but that was more a technical error on my part. But, the legs were there so that’s given me a lot of confidence for tomorrow. This is a race that has always suited me. I’ve had success here, finishing third two years ago and fourth last year. I want to improve on that,” explains Woods.

The race may always come down to the final ascent of the Mur de Huy but Woods expects a more difficult finale than in recent years, which is to his liking.

I think this year might be a bit different as the course is back to a more traditional route compared to the last two years, which had a less difficult run in. This year, there is an extra climb before the finish and that may reduce the bunch a bit more and make it easier to position ahead of the Mur which is good for me, if I have the legs.

Like Woods, Jakob Fuglsang knows what it takes to stand on the podium at La Flèche Wallonne.

I’m feeling good and I’m motivated to race well tomorrow. We have a strong team here and obviously this is a race that really suits Mike. You never know how you’re feeling until you hit the Mur and then it’s all about the legs and nothing more. I think we can come away from the race with a good result and get some good hard racing in the legs before Liège – Bastogne – Liège,” added Fuglsang.

La Flèche Wallonne (20 April)

Riders: Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Hugo Houle (CAN), Daryl Impey (RSA), Mike Woods (CAN).

Sports Directors: Steve Bauer (CAN), Eric Van Lancker (BEL)