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Liège Bastogne Liège - Best of 2016 (English)

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Stage summary24.04.2016


Twenty-eight years after Adri Van Der Poel, a heroic Wout Poels became the fifth Dutchman to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The rider from team SKY made the best of the penultimate climb of the day to power away from the favourites group alongside Rui Costa, Michael Albasini and Samuel Sanchez. The decision was finally made on the final straight in Ans where Poels managed to outsprint his rivals, crossing the line in front of Albasini and Rui Costa after a day many will remember for its...

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« It was a really hard day due to the weather. You had to keep warm and I had prepared well to cope with that, especially in terms of clothing. It's amazing to win Liège, it's like a dream come true after my bad crash of three years ago. I'm a much more solid and complete rider now with less ups and downs. Liège is a monument I would watch on TV when I was a child. To win it is incredible.

I liked the final cobbled climb and knew it suited me well. I looked...

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On Saint-Nicolas, I saw that the race was getting harder and I had good legs and could be well placed for the lasts climb. I saw Albasini was strong. I hung on to his wheel. When I saw others dropping behind I pushed harder. Poels deserves his win. 

It was a tough day with the rain, the snow and the cold. My toughest ever classic. It's my favourite one so I'm happy to be on the podium. With the tough day we had, only the best could make it to the...

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“I came on Liège to work for Simon Gerrans but saw he was struggling in the Côte de Saint-Nicolas. It was my turn to lead the team. I went to the front of the group to be able to attack or chase attempts. I then pushed on the cobbles and was surprised to be the strongest. Eventually, at the end of the day, I wasn't the strongest. On the final straight I could no longer feel my legs. 

Of course we're an Australian team but we have a very international team....

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Newsflashes (Local time)

16:56Top 5

1- Wout Poels (SKY)

2- Michael Albasini (OGE)

3- Rui Costa (LAM)

4- Samuel Sanchez (BMC)

5- Ilnur Zakarin (KAT)

16:55Poels wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Wout Poels (SKY) wins La Doyenne after launching the sprint and hanging on to the line.

16:53Four for the win

The front four are clear from their chasers. The win is going to go to one of them.

16:52Last kilometre

Still four in the lead with 1km to go. They have a 10'' advantage.

16:52Four in the lead before last kilometre

Rui Costa (LAM)

Wout Poels (SKY)

Michael Albasini (OGE)

Samuel Sanchez (BMC)

16:51Albasini leading the way

Michael Albasini leads the front group up the Côte de la Rue Naniot. The Swiss powers away taking with him Rui Costa, Samuel Sanchez and Poels. 2kms to go. 

16:47New climb

Exactly 29 riders are together in the lead as they take on the penultimate climb, the Côte de la Rue Naniot, new on the course of La Doyenne.

16:46Front two are caught

With 5kms to go, Rosa and Zakarin have been caught. Around twenty men together.

16:44Rosa and Zakarin attack

Off goes Diego Rosa taking with him Ilnur Zakarin. Two men in the lead at the top of Saint-Nicolas. 

16:42Nibali dropped

While Bardet leads the front group, Vincenzo Nibali (AST) has just been dropped.

16:4130 left in front group

Over thirty riders remain together at the front going up the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

16:39Bunched again before Saint-Nicolas

The leaders are caught and the pack is bunched again before the climb up Saint-Nicolas. 8kms to go.

16:38Kwiatkowski accelerates

With under ten kilometres to go Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY) powers away taking with him Givko and Betancur.  

16:36Ten kms to go

Despite another attack from Andrei Grivko (AST) the pack is bunched with 10kms to go.

16:32Over for Betancur

After his solo effort, Carlos Betancur (MOV) has been caught by the chasing pack. It's bunched again with 15kms to go.

16:31Betancur still in the lead

Under heavy rain, Betancur still leads the way with a slim 7" advantage over a pack led by Etixx Quick Step. 16kms to go.

16:27Betancur attacks

Colombia's Carlos Betancur breaks away from the pack. 17kms to go.

16:26Around 50 riders left in the pack

Now under 20kms to go and still around fifty riders left in the pack.

16:25Froome struggling

With 20kms to go, Chris Froome (SKY) is seen struggling at the back of the pack.

16:23Four Etixx Quick Step lead the pack

The Etixx Quick Step team is looking strong with four riders leading the pack including Martin and Alaphilippe.

16:19Bunched pack

The pack is bunched just before the climb up the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.

16:17Over for the leaders

After enjoying a 204km breakaway, Nicoals Edet and Alessandro De Marchi have just been caught with under 25kms to go.

16:15ETIXX chasing

Team Etixx Quick Step has taken command of the pack and the gap is seriously dropping for the front two: Edet and De Marchi.

16:14Vicioso and Majka crash

On the wet roads of La Doyenne, Rafal Majka (TKS) and Angel Vicioso (KAT) have just suffered crashes.

16:12Heavy rain on the finish line

While the leaders are still 28kms away, heavy rain has started falling again on the finish line in Ans.

16:10De Gendt and Grivko caught

While De Marchi and Edet continue their efforts at the front, Grivko and De Marchi have been caught back by the pack. 

16:09De Gendt dropped again

Thomas De Gendt has again been dropped and caught by Grivko. Edet and De Marchi still lead the way. The pack is 20" behind. 

16:08Grivko attacks

Andrei Grivko has broken away from the pack. The front 3 only have a 32" lead

16:05De Gendt catches leading duo

Thomas De Gendt has managed to catch up with the front two: De Marchi and Edet. Three in the lead. 32kms to go.

16:00Two in lead

Nicolas Edet and Alessandro De Marchi still lead the way at the top of the Côte de la Redoute. De Gendt is 20'' adrift. The pack led by Movistar is at 1'. Snowing again .

15:56Voeckler caught by pack

After his efforts to catch the front group. Thomas Voeckler has been caught by the pack led by Movistar.

15:55Julian Alaphiliipe: «Here to have an impact on the race»

Second last year on his first appearance at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Julian Alaphilippe is the new wonder kid of the Ardennes Classics. Despite fighting a virus during the winter, the Frenchman is back at his best. Proof of that was his second spot last Wednesday at the Fleche Wallonne. He'll also have the advantage of counting on a very strong Etixx Quick Step team around him, as he told “It's an advantage to have several leaders. We come here with the will to have an impact on...

15:53Two in lead

Nicolas Edet has been caught by Alessandro De Marchi. Two men lead the way in the Côte de la Redoute. Meanwhile Benedetti has been caught by the pack.

15:52Côte de le Redoute

Nicolas Edet attacks and breaks away in the first moments of the climb up the Côte de la Redoute.

15:514 + 2 + 2

Race situation: four in the lead (De Marchi, Laengen, De Gendt and Edet) followed by two (Tiralongo and Roy) at 30", followed by two (Voeckler and Benedetti) at 37".

15:48Brutt caught by the pack

At km 202, Pavel Brutt is the first of the early breakaway riders to be caught by the pack.

15:45Four in the lead

Vegard Laengen (IAM) has managed to catch up with the leading group of 3. Now four men in the lead. The gaps: 1'10" over Voeckler and  2' over the pack.

15:44Attacking at the front of the pack

Poljanski (TKS), Thurau (WGG) and Vliegen (LTS) break away from the pack. A vain effort. They've been caught back.

15:43Voeckler catches Brutt

Thomas Voeckler still chasing alone has caught up with Pavel Brutt. Still 3 in the lead: De Marchi, Edet and De Marchi.

15:39Three in the lead

After De Marchi's first attack we now have three men in the lead. De Gendt and Edet catching up with the Italian.

15:37De Marchi attacks, Brutt dropped

On the climb up the Col du Maquisard, Pavel Brutt was the first to be dropped. Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) gives it a go and attacks.

15:35Gallopin quits LBL

After suffering a crash, Tony Gallopin (LTS) was forced to quit the race.

15:33Romain Bardet: «There will only be strong men in the final Ans climb»

The leader of the AG2R La Mondiale team finished 6th last year of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Speaking to, he intends to once again be among the key actors in the final moments of the race: “Last year I was with the contenders and I know that little by little, I manage my races in a better way. I make less useless efforts which allows me to keep energy for the final part. This year it'll be even harder and for sure there will only be strong men before the final climb up...

15:32Average of 38.6km/h

After five hours of racing the average speed has dropped down to 38.6km/h. The distance of 33kms was covered during the fifth hour.

15:29Gap under 2'

While the leaders are in Spa,Voeckler remains 1'20 adrift while the pack led by Movistar is 1'50" behind.

15:27Voeckler on a counter-attack

After a first three-man attack including Calmejane, Voeckler (both DEN) and Yates (OGE), only Voeckler managed to stay clear of the pack. The Frenchman in on a counter-attack.

15:09Movistar chasing

Still under the snow, the pack is led by several Movistar riders while the front men have taken on the climb up the Côte de Rosier, longest hill of the day (4.4kms at 5.9%).

15:07The 8 leaders

Brutt (TNK)

Tiralongo (AST)

Edet (COF)

Benedetti (BOA)

De Gendt (LTS)

De Marchi (BMC)

Roy (FDJ)

Laengen (IAM) 

15:068 in the lead again

After his mechanical issue, Pavel Brutt (TNK) returns to the front group.

15:04Snowing again

It's now snowing again on the pack. Tough conditions as the riders go through the second feeding zone.

15:01Brutt dropped

Suffering a mechanical problem, Pavel Brutt has just been dropped by the leading group. Seven men left in the lead.

14:54Enrico Gasparotto: «I want to carry on dreaming»

Enrico Gasparotto's Ardennes week is already a major success. Winner of the Amstel Gold race last Sunday, he went on to capture a fine 5th spot at the Fleche Wallonne. The Italian of the Wanty Group Gobert squad will be one of the favourites to keep an eye on for La Doyenne. “Last Wednesday's result at the Fleche gave me even more confidence. To win would be a dream. I managed to finish 3rd back in 2012 so to win it would be a dream. I want to carry on dreaming after the good results I've...

14:52Second feeding zone

After climbing the Côte de la Haute-Levée, the leading group of 8 has reached the second feeding zone. The pack remains 4' adrift.

14:50Froome hits the ground

Two-time Tour de france winner, Chris Froome (SKY) suffered a light crash. Nothing too serious for the Brit, back on his bike and in the pack.

14:41Top of Côte de Wanne

Paolo Tiralongo (AST) makes it first to the top of the Côte Wanne (84kms from finish). Meanwhile the chasing pack remains 4' adrift.

14:31Average of 40km/h

After four hours of racing, the average speed is of 40km/h.

14:27Now under 5'

The gap carries on dropping between the front 8 and the chasing pack still led by Movistar and Etixx Quick Step. Now 4'50".

14:24Simon Gerrans: «The weather blows the race wide open»

Winner of the race back in 2014, Simon Gerrans will hope to give another classic success to his Orica Greenedge squad after the triumph of Mathew Hayman on Paris-Roubaix. The Aussie knows he's in shape but will have to cope with conditions he does not usually enjoy. “The sensations are good. It's a bit unknown with the predicted bad weather. I think it blows the race wide open. Add to that the final new climb and it makes things pretty uncertain. Some guys handle the heat really...

14:09Crash in the pack

A crash has just occurred in the pack sending Vicioso (KAT) and Vermeulen (TLJ) to the ground.

14:07Gap now 6'

The pack is slowly closing in on the front 8. Now only 6'.

13:49Dan Martin: «Nobody knows how the legs are going to be»

Third of the Fleche Wallonne, Dan Martin could well be Alejandro Valverde's most dangerous rival. The Irishman is physically at his best and knows the race by heart, triumphing back in 2013. After crashing these last two editions, Martin will hope to conquer a second monument. “I think everyone will wait until the very last moment to attack. Time passes and you forget how you felt when you won the race. I just have to be confident that my form is good. It'll be an interesting day,...

13:48Snow on the pack

As they head back north, very light snow is falling over the pack. It's also getting cloudier over the finish line in Ans. 

13:40Chase is on

Led by teams Movistar and Etixx Quick Step, the pace is picking up in the pack. At the top of the second climb, the Côte de Saint-Roch, the gap has dropped under the 8' mark.

13:29Second climb of the day

After going through Houfalize, the front group of 8 is going up the second climb of the day: the Côte de Saint-Roch. The gap has dropped to 8'.

13:22Heading back north

After going through the first feeding zone in Bastogne, the front 8 still have a 9' advantage over the pack. All riders are now heading back north.

12:59Vincenzo Nibali: «See how legs respond»

With different objectives this year, Vincenzo Nibali already has his mind turned to the next Giro d'Italia. The Astana rider will however be on the start line of La Doyenne with the hope to do better than the 2nd spot he captured back in 2012. The Italian who spoke to might however not be at his very best, yet. “Day by day, my shape is getting better but tomorrow should be difficult. I'll see how my legs respond. It might be a bit too difficult for me. I'll have to see hour after...

12:50Gap stabilized

While Movistar and Etixx Quick Step are leading the pack, the gap is stabilized at around 8'50". The front group are moving closer to the first feeding zone.

12:31Etixx Quick Step leading the pack

The pack is currently led by team Etixx Quick Step of Dan Martin and Julian Alaphilippe. The chase is on and the gap is stabilized. 

12:26Michal Kwiatkowski: «Need to be mentally strong»

Third of La Doyenne two years ago, former World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski hopes to do just as well, if not better. As he told, he does however worry about the tough weather conditions. “I was feeling great even before the Amstel Gold Race. I just wasn't ready for the cold and rain on the Amstel. I don't have enough experience in those conditions. I got caught by the rain. But I now want to leave that behind me. On Liège I will be mentally and physically ready for tough...

12:245 kms on course

After using a new itinerary due to the bad weather conditions, the distance of the race drops down to 248kms (five kilometres less than planned). 

12:21Roy leads at top of first climb

The front group have cleared the first climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche en Ardenne, led by Frenchman Jeremy Roy (FDJ). All the riders are back on the initial course.

12:02Front group to return on initial course

The front group are about to return to the initial course at km 75 after a detour due to the bad weather conditions. Meanwhile the conditions remain difficult. Snow falls occurred further south but the snow is not remaining on the ground. 

11:58Two counter-attackers caught back

Hoogerland and Van Hecke have just been caught back by the pack. The gap between the leading 8 and the peloton: 8'45".

11:5642.9 kms during first hour

The front group of riders had covered a distance of 42.9kms during the first hour of racing.

11:51Tony Gallopin: «Hoping for very bad weather»

At the beginning of the year, this Ardennes week was a major objective for Tony Gallopin. His very disappointing performances at the Amstel Gold Race (25th) and Fleche Wallonne (47th) have been a major blow for the Frenchman, unsure of his form as he told he will be counting on tough weather conditions to try and hit back. “I don't really know about my shape. My legs didn't respond very well last Wednesday on the fleche Wallonne. So there's a big question mark. I hope it'll be...

11:49Two men on a counter-attack

Two men have broken away from the pack: Hoogerland (ROP) and Van Hecke (TSV). They're 8' adrift while the pack is at 8'30".

11:45Now 8 in the lead

At kilometre 50, we now have eight riders in the lead. Laengen has caught up with Brutt (TNK), Tiralongo (AST), Edet (COF), Benedetti (BOA), De Gendt (LTS), De Marchi (BMC) and Roy (FDJ).

11:41Laengen closing in on front group

Vegard Laengen (IAM) is slowly moving closer to the front group of riders. He's now only 30" adrift. Meanwhile the pack is not too concerned by the escapees and is over 6' behind.

11:32More attacking for Laengen

Currently on a counter-attack and trying to catch up with the front 7, Vegard Stake Laengen was already present in the long breakaway on the Fleche Wallonne last wednesday.

11:29One man on a counter-attack

Currently on a counter-attack is Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM). He's 1'25" adrift while the pack is at 4'55''.

11:28Front 7 reminder

Pavel Brutt (TNK)

Paolo Tiralongo (AST)

Nicolas Edet (COF)

Cesare Benedetti (BOA)

Thomas De Gendt (LTS)

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)

Jeremy Roy (FDJ)

11:24Course change

Due to the hectic weather conditions, the race organisation has decided to change the planned course. Indeed from km 45 to km 75, the riders will head south and return to the normal course just before the first climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche en Ardenne.

11:11Richie Porte: «The goal will be to finish»

The Australian leader of the BMC team isn't a natural favourite on La Doyenne. Speaking to, Porte starts the classic with only one goal in mind. “I've only taken part in the race twice and I never reached the finish. But this is an Olympic year and Rio will be one of my major objectives. I wanted to compete in more one-day races to be ready. The goal will be to finish. The last 70kms are really very hard. After the Tour of Catalunya, I trained hard and the shape is good.”

11:08Gap grows for front 7

The leading group of 7 can now enjoy a 1' lead at km 18.

10:51First breakaway

Seven men have managed to break away from the pack: Brutt (TNK), Tiralongo (AST), Edet (COF), Benedetti (BOA), De Gendt (LTS), De Marchi (BMC) and Roy (FDJ).

10:42First abandon

Frenchman Julien Loubet of the Fortuneo Vital Concept team has quit the race after only a few kilometres of racing. 

10:40Pack still bunched

After 4kms of riding, the pack remains bunched.

10:39Race underway

The official start has just been given at 10:29. 200 riders are currenetly racing on the 253kms of the LBL course. 

10:20200 riders at the start

All the riders due to start have indeed taken off. 200 men are therefore currently in the peloton heading to the official start.

10:19Weather info

At the start in Liège the temperature is of 1C°. Snow was noticed on the course but nothing too serious. The rain has stopped falling but should return throughout the race. 

10:16Off go the riders

The riders have just left the Place Saint-Lambert in the centre of Liège and will be covering a distance of 6.8kms before reaching km 0, the official start of this 102nd edition.

09:58Welcome to Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 102nd edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The riders are due to take off from the Place Saint-Lambert at 10:15.

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