|At the start|
It's such a beautiful city, Liège! so beautiful in spring - tender small leaves like soft green clouds on the boulevards' trees...
I have been there twice: in 2010 and in 2011, always for the race and always to the finish.
Nice memories. And since that I decided that maybe I could go watching something else given that Andy Schleck didn't seem on his way back to a decent level. Sadly, I was right.. Still Liège remains one of the most fascinating event on the cycling calendar and I'm not going to miss it, at least on tv.
|Still the break|
|Rain at the finish|
It's a long race, very very long so it's normal that riders try to break-away from the start: to show the jersey, to test themselves, to allow their team leader to stay on the wheels.
|The break again|
It isn't easy to get in the break. The pace is very high, about 45 km/h. When the peloton will let the right group go... the pace will set on a more confortable speed, but a Classic is always a fast, nervous, risky race and gaps are seldom large.
|In the bunch|
|Up the Côte|
At the finish is raining, noy yet on the race. Ben Herman abandons.
Côte de Saint-Roch: the gap is about 3'45'' and keeps decreasing. Only 1'35'' heading to the Côte de Wanne: 2.7 km, 7.4% average. Vergaerde, Quaade and Chevrier get dropped and caught. Team Astana goes in front and leads the chase. Descent: the gap is under 1'.
Côte de Stockeu with 12.5% average. 77,5km to go. Grivko attacks. Izagirre follows and they join the break. But a larger group formed from the peloton and manages to join the front. The race exploded!
|Chavez gets off the bunch|
Tim Wellens had a puncture but now he's back. It seems that tv in the Lotto Soudal teamcar broken and Wellens received a wheel from Vervaeke...
Col du Maquisard: 2.5 km long, 5% average gradient. Arredondo and Boaro get caught. 46 km to go Chaves, Scarponi and Kangert have 49”.
Dominik Nerz (Bora-Argon 18) and Rafa Valls (Lampe-Merida) crashed at the back of the bunch but they are back on bike.
|Scarponi, Kangert and Chavez in front|
34 km to go Sioutso gains some meters in the descent but goes nowhere. At the finish it's raining hard.
25 km to go the break-away is over.
|Hard rain at the finish|
|Sioutsou gains some meters|
Thomas Voeckler attacks, Philippe Gilbert reacts. But the peloton doesn't let them go. Caruso, Fuglsang and Kreuziger have got a slight 21'' 15 km to go.
Rain on the race. Côte de Saint-Nicolas: 1.2 km, 8.6% average. Break over but not dropped.
5 km to go Bardet attacks, Caruso on his wheel and
Valverde chases him down. Nibali tries: no way. He gets sightly dropped.
15 riders left at the front. Caruso sets the pace. Nibali bridges. Moreno attacks at the last km.
Valverde responds, Purito on his wheel. Moreno caught. It's a small group sprint and Valverde wins. Second again a furious Alaphilippe, 3rd Purito Rodriguez.
All three wins were great. To win Liege is phenomenal. But maybe today's win is even more special based on my week: finishing 2nd at the Amstel and first at the Fleche and Liège. It means a lot. It's a monument of cycling. To win here three times, is like entering cycling history.
What mainly changes is the appearance of new generations of riders. In 2006, I was fighting against guys like Cunego, Bettini or Andy Schleck. Now there's a a new generation with guys like Alaphilippe. He looks very strong and has a promising future. A rider like Joaquim Rodriguez however is still around."
|The leading trio|
"I would have prefered to win but I'm happy with my condition and happy to be able to fight for the win in my first participation here.
I crashed 30kms from the finish and had to stop to repair my rear wheel. I came back in La Redoute and tried to recover. I also had to do my job to catch the attacks. Today Kwiatkowski wasn't at his best so it was up to me to be present in the final. We were all exhausted. I hung on and did my best. In the last kilometre I was probably too far behind. Everyone was checking Valverde and when he took off, I had to make a big effort to catch him. But after the final bend after closing the gap I couldn't do much. Valverde was just stronger.
|Getting in Liège|
I'm very happy with the shape. I prepared for these races. I see that work pays off and that's a big satisfaction. It's a real pleasure to do well on big races like these ones. It shows that I can still improve and that I still have a lot of work to do to one day win. I like to win in all I do. When I start I try to win. I can't be satisfied with second spot. So it is frustrating. My life hasn't changed. I want to continue to work for the team. Michal was the leader here and he still is. I had to work for him. I adapted to the situation and am happy to do what the team asks me. Maybe in the future I'll have a leader's role."
"Tan cerca pero tan lejos!!! Gran @katushacycling en esta @LiegeBastogneL con un Valverde intratable,nos intentamos reinventar pero nada!!"
"On such a sprint, it's almost impossible to beat Valverde. Added to that, he managed a very smart race today. He
It's the race that I like the most and once again I miss out on a fantastic opportunity."
"Just not my day today, actually hasn't really been my season so far. Still plenty of racing to come. Hats off to @alejanvalverde #LBL"
“I think everything changed with the big crash with 40k to go, more or less. We lost Bob [Jungels] and Fränk [Schleck] to that. I was further back and I could brake in time to avoid it, Fabio [Felline] too. But we had to spend a lot of energy to come back because we had to close a gap of about 30 seconds on the Redoute. I came back to the front, but from the point on I was alone. I tried. I tried what I could, but in the end the legs were not good enough.
“I don’t really know how the crash happened; for 99% of all crashes it’s not normally your own fault, and this was the same. They all went down in front of me, it was a big crash, and I think Bauke and Felline did not go down but had to stop. Bob and myself crashed, and at this stage of the race it was finished for us. All the guys who crashed did not make it back to the front as far as I know.
I hope everything is okay after the crash. I have some knee pain but hopefully tomorrow it will be good, and next week I have a little break so that will help. It was not a super week for the team, but we have to keep our heads high and keep fighting.”
“Sixth is a good result but we hoped for a podium and with 30 metres to go I still hoped for the podium but the legs cried and I couldn’t do much in the sprint. It was an offensive final and I’m pretty happy for my first classic of the year. I’m increasing year after year and it’s good each year to have a good result here. So after all I’m happy with how the race went and with the result today.
We did a first move on Roche-aux-Faucons with Alaphilippe to try and join Kreuziger and the guys on the front but the other teams didn’t want to collaborate with us. Then on the rainy final, I hoped to go alone to Ans but there was still three Katusha riders and it was hard to escape. On a finish like this, I’m not as explosive as riders like Valverde.
I’m on the rollers right now with the head already in Romandie. I was not happy with the start of the season. I wanted to perform at the start of the season, but I crashed. Then I went to a training camp to focus on my main objective of Liège so it’s good to finally have a good result."
"Liege done, tried to be in the break but didn't work out. Now focus on the races that should be better for me!"
"I had pretty good legs and I was happy to have made it into the front group in the final. On the final climb my objective was really to just try and follow the best riders. Liege-Bastogne-Liege was one of my goal races this year so I am really glad that I was able to get some sort of a result today."
Team Sky DS Gabrial Rasch:
“Obviously, you always try to win, but I think having two riders in the top 12 after the way the race panned out was pretty good.
All the guys did a good job. Kiry and Kosta were really strong, and Nico would have definitely been there at the end if he hadn’t have crashed. He’s fine actually - he went down pretty hard but thankfully was more dazed than injured.
Once that had worn off he was OK, and that’s a big relief because we’d feared the worst when we saw him lying on the ground. He took a bang to the head and also to his shoulder, but nothing’s broken. As always, we’ll keep an eye on him but there’s no long-term worries.
It was unfortunate Lars Petter got stuck behind that crash, because the energy it took him to get back in the peloton meant he came up a bit short at the end. He was a little disappointed with that because he felt he could have given it a good go. All-in-all though, we’re happy and we’re in good shape heading into the next block of races.”
“It went wrong for me after the big crash. I was caught up behind the fallen riders together with Laurens ten Dam. On La Redoute I was able to rejoin the first group, but that cost me a lot of energy. I forgot to take a bottle, which triggered cramps in the final. At that point, it was over for me.
It’s very unfortunate, especially since things went better and better after the Brabantse Pijl. I’m not satisfied. Of course, I’d hoped to be in the front.”
"With a sprint in the rain it was difficult to achieve a better result. It’s my second participation in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and my second top 10. It helps me to be confident for the Giro."
"Many thanks for all support. I was very lucky today, ( in a way) .. Heading to romandie now, bit stiff tomorrow for shure, but will be fine"
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
3 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
4 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
10 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
11 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka 0:00:10
12 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:24
14 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
15 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha
16 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
17 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:32
18 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:44
19 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:00:52
20 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:58
21 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
22 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:04
23 José Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18
24 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:01:06
25 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
26 Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka
27 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
28 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
29 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
30 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
31 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:10
32 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
33 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
34 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
35 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:30
36 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:41
37 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
38 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky 0:02:03
39 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:02:41
40 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:49
41 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:37
42 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:04:44
43 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 0:05:02
44 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:05:31
45 Huub Duyn (Ned) Team Roompot 0:06:05
46 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
47 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin
48 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
49 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Team Roompot
50 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha
51 Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
52 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
53 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
54 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
55 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
56 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge
57 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
58 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
59 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
60 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
61 Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
62 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:06:22
63 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:08:09
64 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:08:18
65 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida
66 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
67 Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team
68 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge
69 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
70 José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 0:09:22
71 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
72 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise 0:09:32
73 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
74 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
75 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
76 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
77 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
78 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.fr
79 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team
80 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
81 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
82 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
83 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
84 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
85 Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:10:16
86 Mike Terpstra (Ned) Team Roompot
87 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
88 Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
89 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team Roompot
90 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:11:28
91 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:11:39
92 Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:12:02
93 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:13:04
94 Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:15:04
95 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:16:43
96 Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
97 Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
98 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
99 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Team Europcar
100 Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
DNF Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
DNF Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
DNF Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team
DNF Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNF Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNF Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNF Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNF Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNF Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
DNF Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team
DNF Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
DNF Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha
DNF Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha
DNF Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNF Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNF Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNF Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNF Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNF Jose Rodolfo Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida
DNF Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNF Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
DNF Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky
DNF Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky
DNF Danny Pate (USA) Team Sky
DNF Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
DNF Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Bryan Naulleau (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNF Caleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNF Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNF Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNF Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Arthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNF Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNF Clement Chevrier (Fra) IAM Cycling
DNF Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNF Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNF David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling
DNF Larry Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
DNF Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr
DNF Simone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNF Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNF Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNF Yannick Eijssen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNF Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNF Matthew Brammeier (Irl) MTN - Qhubeka
DNF Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka
DNF Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
DNF Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
DNF Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18
DNF Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18
DNF Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
DNF Marc De Maar (Ned) Team Roompot
DNF Reinier Honig (Ned) Team Roompot
DNF Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Team Roompot
DNF Jesper Asselman (Ned) Team Roompot
DNF Alex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNF Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNF Christian Mager (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNF Martin Mortensen (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNF Michael Reihs (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNF Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNF Rasmus Christian Quaade (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling