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Cycling: Swiss Hirschi wins Fleche Wallonne classic

(Reuters) - Swiss Marc Hirschi claimed the Fleche Wallonne classic race on Wednesday, confirming his status as one of the top prospects in cycling three days after taking the bronze medal at the world championships.

The 22-year-old Sunweb rider, who also won two stages on the Tour de France this year, waited for the right moment to pounce, some 100 metres from the line in the climb up to the Mur de Huy, a brutal 1.3-km ascent at an average gradient of 9.6%.

France’s Benoit Cosnefroy took second place ahead of Canadian Michael Woods.

Newly-crowned world champion Julian Alaphilippe, winner of the past two editions, opted out as he recovers for Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege Monument classic.

In the women’s race, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen, who won the road race and time trial titles at the world championships last weekend, was again in a league of her own, winning the race for the sixth time in a row.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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