The riders will race 116 km loop through the Province of Luxembourg. They will cross, among other places, Nassogne, Nadrin and La Roche-en-Ardenne. Then, the riders will return to the traditional 24km local circuit with the Waha coast, the Roy coast and the formidable Marloie false flat, before the finish in Avenue de la Toison d'Or.
Final startlist Famenne Ardenne Classic including Groves, Girmay, De Lie, Laporte and Ackermann
Despite the up-and-down profile of the day, none of the climbs are serious enough to really put the strongest of the fast men into difficulty as has been shown by three of the previous four editions of the race ending in a sprint finish.
If the likes of Christophe Laporte, Arnaud De Lie, Kaden Groves, Biniam Girmay and last year's winner Axel Zingle are able to stay near the front over the lumps and bumps, the final kilometre has a slight rise but shouldn't be difficult enough for the puncheurs and flyers in the bunch to fancy their chances against the purer sprinters.
Arnaud De Lie comes into the race in stunning form. After taking his first World Tour-level victory in Quebec, the Belgian was victorious on Thursday at the Circuit Franco Belge and in between those two results, placed fourth at the European Championships.
At the aforementioned European Championships though, the winner was Jumbo-Visma's Christophe Laporte and for the first time, the Frenchman will be racing in his newly-win European Champion's jersey. Could this provide a bit of extra motivation and fire him to a sixth victory of the year? As part of a typically strong Jumbo-Visma team including Dylan van Baarle, he will certainly have the support network.
Another man in top form of late is Kaden Groves. The winner of the points classification Green Jersey at the Vuelta a Espana, the Australian of Alpecin-Deceuninck also took three stage wins, increasing his win tally to seven for the season. Renowned as a sprinter who loves a slightly uphill finish he will more than fancy his chances.
Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will be returning to the homeland of their sponsors and with a team including the likes of Biniam Girmay, Mike Teunissen, Hugo Page and Arne Marit their possibilities for victory are numerous. It's expected that Girmay will start as leader but as seen at Franco Belge, this is not always the case as the Eritrean turned lead-out man in aide of his teammates.
The likes of reigning champion Axel Zingle, UAE Team Emirates' Pascal Ackermann, Giacomo Nizzolo of Israel-Premier Tech, Stan Van Tricht of Soudal Quick-Step, TotalEnergies Dries Van Gestel and the Arkea-Samsic trio of Jenthe Biermans, Luca Mozzato and Hugo Hofstetter will also start the day as outside bets for victory and cannot be ruled out.
Whereas those riders such as Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Florian Senechal, Matteo Trentin, Tim Wellens, Derek Gee, Anthony Turgis, Stan Dewulf and others may not have the out-and-out sprint to contest the likes of Groves and De Lie could play their cards in a different manner and attack early, denying the sprinters the opportunity to contest victory.
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To watch the 2023 Famenne Ardennes Classic, Eurosport 1 will broadcast this UCI 1.1 match live on screen from 2 p.m, whilst online, you can find coverage on Discovery+/GCN+.
EXPECTED WEATHER CONDITIONS
According to the latest weather reports, riders can expect maximum temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius and a wind force of three Beaufort from the southwest. With clear skies also expected, it sounds like a perfect day for bike racing.
*** Arnaud De Lie, Kaden Groves, Christophe Laporte
** Pascal Ackermann, Axel Zingle, Biniam Girmay
* Kasper Asgreen, Jenthe Biermans, Luca Mozzato, Dries Van Gestel