Li̬ge-Bastogne-Li̬ge РAussie win with Gerrans


On the final straight in Ans, Simon Gerrans became the first ever Australian to claim Liège-Bastogne-Liège

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Li̬ge-Bastogne-Li̬ge РAussie win with Gerrans


Photo: (Thomas van Bracht)

Winner of Milan-San Remo, of stages on the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta, the Orica-Greenedge rider adds this 100th edition of La Doyenne to his already impressive list of victories. Gerrans made the best of his sprinting qualities to beat Alejandro Valverde and Michal Kwiatkowski to the line. After 6 men enjoyed a long breakaway, the main favourites ended up watching each other and Gerrans made the best of his speed to triumphantly lift his arms to the Belgian sky.


For a very special edition, a very special guest was present at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège to launch the start of the 100th edition of the race. Indeed under the eyes of King Philippe of Belgium, the 197 riders took off just after 10:00 for a 263-km ride down south to Bastogne and back up to the finish line in Ans.

A lot of big names were at the start of this special event but not Christopher Froome (SKY) having chosen to withdraw due to a mild chest infection. Also failing to start was recent Paris-Nice winner Carlos Betancur (AG2R), ill and feverish.

At km 12, six riders bunched up at the front of the race. Lang (IAM), Koch (CAN) and Venter (MTN) were the first to take off and were rapidly caught by three other men: Bono (LAM), Jakobs (TSV) and Minnaard (WGG).

After covering 39.5kms during the first hour of racing, their advantage over the pack reached 14’20. That gap grew to a maximum 15’50 at the top of the first climb of the day, the Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne (km 70).

Just after entering Bastogne, the northernmost point of the race, the leading six battled it out for the 5000€ up for grabs at the intermediate sprint symbolically placed at km 100. Meanwhile the pack remained 15’05 adrift.

Making the best of the tailwind, and while riders from teams BMC, Movistar, Lotto-Bellisol and Garmin-Sharp moved to the front of the pack, the speed increased and the gap really started dropping on the way back up north. The first of the 6 escapees to be dropped was Minnaard on the climb up the Côte de Wanne (km 167). On the following ascent, serious business started in the pack as the speed increased drastically.


Photo: (Thomas van Bracht)

The likes of Rodriguez (KAT) and Van den Broeck (LTB) were among the few to struggle, the Spaniard even quitting several kilometres later. At km 177, a first serious upset shook the pack when World champion Rui Costa (LAM) hit the ground and was also forced to quit.

On the climb up the Côte de la Redoute, the escapees started struggling and Matteo Bono pulled away. Just after reaching the top on his own, the Italian was eventually caught by Jacobus Venters, both men having a slim 1’05 over the pack. Meanwhile Warren Barguil (GIA) was the first to shake the peloton, taking off on a counter-attack and taking with him Arredondo (TFR) and Bakelants (OPQ). A vain effort however…

In the Côte des Forges, Matteo Bono continued his effort alone, dropping Venters and reaching the top with a 40” lead over the pack. The Italian was eventually caught by the pack of favourites just before the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.

The battle between the top guns started then, when Pozzovivo and Arredondo took off. Behind them Sanchez first, and then Nibali and Kreuziger gave it a go. But they were rapidly caught back. The leading two continued their efforts at the front but never managed to have a big enough gap. They were finally caught with 12kms to go.


All together in final kilometres
Close to fifty riders remained bunched together just before the last climb of the day, the Côte de Saint-Nicolas where Gianpaolo Caruso (KAT) and Domenico Pozzovivo (AGR), again, tried their luck. An impressive move that almost paid off. After enjoying a 10” lead with one kilometre to go. They were caught by title-holder Dan Martin (GRS). A fine move by the Irishman that ended up dreadfully as he crashed on the last left turn. Time then came for a sprint between the favourites.

Making the best of his qualities, Simon Gerrans (OGE) powered to the line, beating in style Alejandro Valverde and Michal Kwiatkowski. After winning Milan-San Remo in 2012, the Australian who had finished 6th of Liège in 2009 (his best position) claims this 100th edition.

First Aussie winner – hardest of the classics says Gerran’s Boss

Simon Gerrans made history on Sunday, becoming the first Australian to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Gerrans, adds the 100th edition of La Doyenne to a resume which now includes three overall victories at the Tour Down Under, stage wins at all three Grand Tours, two days in yellow and Australia’s second victory at Milan–Sanremo. Gerrans enjoyed impeccable support from his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates en route to his monumental win.

“I’ve had some really beautiful victories over the past couple years, but Liège is really special to me,” said Gerrans. “I’ve competed in this race every year since I turned professional. It’s a race I’ve always dreamed of winning, and I think because it’s something I’ve really worked for, it’s a fantastic feeling.”


“This is a race that has always eluded Australians,” said General Manager Shayne Bannan. “It’s definitely the hardest one day race in the world and the most prestigious. To win Liège in the 100th year as the first Australian in the first Australian team, it’s something really special. When I think back over the history of the team so far, I reckon this is probably our biggest victory so far.”

“Just after the Forges, I was starting to suffer a little bit,” admitted Gerrans. “There was a really difficult section with La Redoute and the Forges quite close together. I actually said to my teammates over the radio that I wasn’t feeling too good at the moment, but they stuck by me, and they gave me good confidence coming into the finale. They placed me perfectly for La Rouche-aux-Facouns and Saint-Nicolas to give me every opportunity.”

“I wasn’t expecting to see such a big group come to the finish together,” said Gerrans. “I thought the peloton would break more than it did. In fact, the hard final meant that everyone was a little more tired coming into the finish and no one had the legs to break away. My card was to wait and follow as best as I could and to try to finish it off with a small group sprint.”

Dan Martin crashes

Last years winner Dan Martin said afterwards “The team rode a beautiful race today. We did everything right and they gave everything for me all day. I hit a patch of something on the road, I don’t know exactly what happened – it was like falling out of a tree – and down I went. Before I knew it, it was over. I think there were tears in my eyes before I hit the floor.”

“I’m just so sorry. I know in my heart we did everything we could have to get me where I needed to be. I’m heartbroken I couldn’t deliver the win for the team but I’m proud of how they rode for me and of Tom finishing 6th. We’ll just have to come back next year and try again.”

Second for Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde:

“This second place leaves me happy, especially after such a week, including the victory in the Flèche” said the rider clothed in Endura kit. “Everyone asks you to win, but we’re taking about Liège-Bastogne-Liège – it’s extremely difficult to make it. People may be accustomed to see me winning, but I’m really happy with this 2nd spot. One, two and four in these three classics – I don’t think there are many people who can achieve that. I think I rode well today, I kept the position I had to, but there was so many people fighting for victory today, so nervous and out of control. I must be thankful towards the Izagirre brothers, because they calmed things down pushing at the front. The team was sensational, just like every day.

“At the final slope, I had to measure well my sprint because many people were still strong enough to contest it. You can always think: ‘Maybe if I had jumped a bit earlier, I could have dropped Gerrans.’ But you never know. He’s a super fast rider and we must congratulate him. He caught my wheel and was superior in the sprint. When it comes to myself, this is the end of the first part of the season, and I’m really, really happy with what I achieved. Eight wins, two podiums in the classics, three second places in País Vasco… I can’t ask for much else. Now I’ll spend three or four days off the bike, training on a softer regime afterwards and later starting to think about the Tour, with an altitude training camp and the Critérium du Dauphiné.”


Third for Michal Kwiatkowski
I was aiming to be in really good shape for the Ardennes Classics and I did it,” Kwiatkowski said. “Especially today, ending in 3rd in one of the most prestigious Belgian races, the 100th edition of Liège – Bastogne – Liège, on a Belgian team.”

“It’s special and I am super happy. If you feel good, sometimes it is difficult to wait. But I think I can count on my sprint and I was just waiting until the end. Especially if you have a lot of support from your teammates, which I did today, you can really believe that they will care for you the whole day and you just need to finish their work. It’s pretty simple in that way.”

“In the end, I believed the chance would be for the bunch sprint and I was waiting to see how we could make it. I believe in my possibilities, and especially today I am satisfied with what I did. Last year I made good results in these races but couldn’t finish well here. So it was a little disappointing. But this year I prepared in a different way and today was my best day on the bike out of all the Ardennes Classics. It gives me great morale for the future knowing this.”


1 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 06:37:43
2 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team
3 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4 CARUSO Giampaolo Team Katusha
5 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 00:03
6 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Garmin Sharp
7 KREUZIGER Roman Tinkoff-Saxo
8 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team
9 MORENO Daniel Team Katusha 00:05
10 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 00:06
11 VANENDERT Jelle Lotto Belisol 00:08
12 GASPAROTTO Enrico Astana Pro Team 00:10
13 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre-Merida
14 GAUTIER Cyril Team Europcar
15 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:12
16 MOLARD Rudy Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
17 MACHADO Tiago Team NetApp – Endura
18 ROUX Anthony
19 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing
20 DENIFL Stefan IAM Cycling

30 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 00:51
31 SáNCHEZ Samuel BMC Racing Team 00:56
77 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp
95 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE 10:43
111 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE 12:01



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