Mur de Huy

The Longest Kilometre

Mur de Huy


“The Tour of Flanders has the Muur, Amstel Gold has the Cauberg and Liège-Bastogne-Liège has La Redoute… but the Mur de Huy is by far the hardest of the lot.” – Claude Criquielion, winner of the first Fleche to finish atop the Mur.

Not as legendary as the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, nor as unpredictable as the Amstel Gold Race, the second act of the Ardennes classics is a star of just one hit. A hit, however, whose beat is known by heart by every single fan of cycling. The Fleche Wallonne may be painfully repetitive, yes, but it doesn’t change the fact that these final 2 minutes of superhuman effort, ripped from a warm April afternoon, keep electrifying like very few moments of the whole road season. Winning on Mur de Huy is like being a king of the world for just one second.


Mur de Huy (204 metres) is located in the Belgian region of Wallonia, halfway between the cities of Namur and Liege. It’s a merely 1,3-kilometre-long climb, which because of its characteristics has become the most distinctive symbol of the Ardennes classics and best synthesises the challenges thrown up by hilly one-day events held in April.

Although popularised by cyclists under the name Mur de Huy, the climb is officially known as the Chemin des Chapelles (Path of Chapels). The chapels along the way are the final stage of a pilgrimage to the church of Notre Dame de la Sartre at the top of the hill.

The Climb

What might be 2 minutes of intense effort for a professional cyclist is usually a much longer struggle for survival – and often for staying on the bike – for an amateur. There are seven chapels along the way between the Rue du Marche in Huy and the Notre Dame de la Sartre church, which according to the local legend was built at the scene of a miracle from 1621. It does make some perverse sense, as reaching the top is all you can pray for while tackling the brutally steep, 800-metre-long section of the ascent, where the maximum gradient exceeds an astonishing 25%.


Although the Fleche Wallonne has been held since 1936, the climb was only added to the race route in 1982, re-defining its unique character.
It quickly became apparent that, in addition to being equipped with a proper puncheur-type toolbox, winning the revamped Fleche Wallonne required a great deal of patience, cool head and the perfect reconnaissance of the final ascent.

Claude Criquielion was the first rider to triumph on the Mur de Huy, but the most memorable duels on this now legendary climb were won by Moreno Argentin, Laurent Fignon, Laurent Jalabert and Mario Aerts, the latter in the breakaway.

Interesting Facts

  • The Mur de Huy made its debut on the Fleche Wallonne route in 1982; that edition of the race was won by Claude Criquielion.
  • As for 2013, Alejandro Valverde holds the record number of the Fleche Wallonne victories: 5.
  • The Mur de Huy appeared on the Tour de France route in 2015.


Location: Belgium, Wallonia
Beginning of the climb: Rue du Marche
Length: 1,3 km
Average gradient: 9,8%
Max gradient: 26%
Elevation: 128 m
Height: 204 m a.s.l.

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