La Flèche Wallonne Femmes consists of two laps to the south of Huy. The route features seven hills and a at kilometre 45.5 the Côte de Warre is the first one, a 2.2 kilometre climb at 4.9%. Approximately 25 kilometres down the road the riders enter the second circuit and almost immediately hit the Côte d’Ereffe. It’s a 2.1 kilometres ascent at 5%, although the average gradient is misleading as the first 1.5 kilometres are a lot steeper than that, while the last few hundred metres are a false flat.
The route continues to the Côte de Cherave, a 1.3 kilometre climb at 8.1% that’s crested with 4.2 kilometres to go to the foot of the last climb, the iconic Wall of Huy.
The Ardennes are nowhere near flat, but the Wall of Huy is extreme. It’s a 1.3 kilometres climb at 9.6% and, again, the average gradient is biased. In the first 400 metres the Wall looks like nothing special, but the next 400 metres are telling another story with an average gradient of 11% before the steepest section kicks in with a 17% grade for 100 metres. Still not there as the following 300 metres are averaging 14%, while the last 100 metres are relatively easy at 6%.
At the top of the Wall of Huy the second lap commences. At 29 kilometres, this round takes in the above mentioned series: Côte d’Ereffe, Côte de Cherave, and the closing climb up the Wall of Huy.
In last three editions, the Côte de Cherave proved to be decisive. Both in 2015 and 2016 Anna van der Breggen attacked on the slopes while last year she made the final move just after the top. In all three races, she arrived solo on the line at the Wall.