The history of Huy goes back over a thousand years. It is one of the oldest towns in the country, renowned for its expertise first in crafts and later in industrial and commercial endeavours. The love affair between Huy and cycling is a long one, and the town looks forward to rolling out the red carpet for the peloton and (hopefully) cycling fans again for La Flèche Wallonne. While Huy is known for its famous Mur, its passion for cycling goes a long way back. The first cycling race there was held on 15 August 1869, on the occasion of the annual fair. It took place on the Promenade de l’Île, the same place where stage 4 of the 2006 Tour de France would later get under way. It did not take long for Huy to become an iconic site of Belgian cycling. In 1919, a velodrome was built to host prestigious events such as the Belgian national championships.
Huy hosted La Flèche Wallonne for the first time in 1936, when Théo van Griethuizen, who was out on reconnaissance duties, came across a hill worthy of the event’s reputation. La Flèche Wallonne tackled the Mur de Huy for the first time in 1982, and its finish has been located at the top of the climb since 1984. The Tour de France has gone through Huy six times since its first foray into Belgium in 1947, but the town had to wait until 8 July 1995 for the privilege of hosting a stage of the Grande Boucle. On that day, the riders set out on a memorable time trial stretching from the town centre to Seraing. Six years later, the mass-start stage to Verdun began here, while in 2006 the peloton travelled from Huy to Saint-Quentin.
Thanks to this rich history, Huy can proudly assert its claim to being one of the hallowed sites of international cycling. The 2015 season boosted this status even further when the legendary Mur de Huy hosted the finish of stage 3 of the Tour de France on 6 July.
Now, another golden page in the history of La Flèche Wallonne Femmes and La Flèche Wallonne is about to be written.