HomeCyclingLIÈGE'24 Preview: Can Pogačar Cease Van der Poel Taking La Doyenne?

LIÈGE’24 Preview: Can Pogačar Cease Van der Poel Taking La Doyenne?

Race Preview: Liège-Bastogne-Liège might be the toughest of the non cobbled Classics within the biking season and is rightly one of many 5 Monuments – The oldest one. It’s all the time a high rider who takes victory in ‘La Doyenne’, with its robust finale finding out the most effective climbers. This yr is not any totally different and there are high names on the beginning listing. We take a look at the favourites, the historical past and the course.

Tadej Pogačar’s second Liège win?

Can Tadej Pogačar take his second win in Liège, or will World champion, Mathieu van der Poel emulate his father, Adri, and add one other Monument/Basic to his palmarès? There are nay extra riders who can put their identify on the Liège honours listing: Tom Pidcock, Benoit Cosnefroy, Mattias Skjelmose, Dylan Teuns, Marc Hirschi, Juan Ayuso, Tiesj Benoot and Romain Grégoire are all doable winner who’re on kind in the meanwhile.

millar van der poel
Can Mathieu be part of his father, Adri, on the listing of Liège-Bastonge-Liège winners?

La Doyenne Historical past
Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the oldest Monument on the calendar. The primary version was run in 1892, the primary Paris-Roubaix was 4 years later and the Tour of Lombardy was 1905, Milano-Sanremo 1907 and the Tour of Flanders 1913. The organisers Liège-Bastogne-Liège are pleased with the nickname La Doyenne, ‘The Previous Girl’. Initially, it was not the intention to trip from Liège to Bastogne and again to Liège. The Liège Bike owner Union wished to make a detour by way of Paris. Liège-Paris-Liège: a race of 850 kilometres was the plan on the time. Liège-Bastogne-Liège was solely a take a look at occasion for Liège-Paris-Liège, however L-B-L finally grew to become an annual occasion. These first races have been dominated by the Belgians. The Frenchman André Trousselier was the primary foreigner to beat the Belgians in 1908, however from the primary version in 1892 till 1978, foreigners solely gained 10 instances.

4 wins for Moreno Argentin

From the early Eighties the victories went to Dutch, Italian, Irish or Swiss riders. In fact Belgians high the winner’s listing. Léo Houa, Alfons Schepers and Fred De Bruyne every gained thrice and Eddy Merckx (1969, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1975) is on the listing with 5 wins. Rik Van Looy, Roger De Vlaeminck and Walter Godefroot additionally took wins, however after Joseph Bruyère’s victory in 1978, the lean years got here for the Belgians. The wins got here from Italians: Silvano Contini and Moreno Argentin 4 instances. Dutch: Steven Rooks and Adri van der Poel and Irishman Sean Kelly.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Sean KELLY pictured during Luik - Bastenaken 1986 - Luik - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Sean Kelly in Liège 1986

In 1990 Eric Van Lancker took the win for Belgium, then Dirk De Wolf in 1992, Frank Vandenbroucke 1999, Philippe Gilbert in 2011 and naturally Remco Evenepoel final yr. Probably the most profitable riders of current instances are Moreno Argentin and Alejandro Valverde, each gained 4 instances. Different notable riders who’ve gained Liège-Bastogne-Liège greater than as soon as are Michele Bartoli, Paolo Bettini and Alexander Vinokourov.

Michele Bartoli in 1998

The 2023 Liège
Remco Evenepoel gained his second Liège-Bastogne-Liège in a row after a formidable solo. The Soudal Fast-Step World Champion attacked on la Redoute, then dropped Tom Pidcock to solo the final 30 kilometres to Liège. The duel with Tadej Pogačar by no means materialised because of an early crash by the Slovenian.

Will we see the rainbow jersey cross the road first in Liège’24?

On the climb of los angeles Redoute it was a case of ready for Evenepoel’s assault, which was lead-out by Van Wilder. The acceleration got here from the World Champion simply earlier than the highest. He instantly had a spot, however the race wasn’t over. Tom Pidcock managed to get his wheel on the descent. Because of a route change, there was nonetheless a small climb after the Redoute, that’s the place Evenepoel disposed of Pidcock. With a strong present, the World Champion left the British rider with a 30 kilometre solo trip forward. The hole to Pidcock was 25 seconds very quickly. Giulio Ciccone and Mattias Skjelmose have been chasing, adopted by a bunch together with Tiesj Benoot, Romain Bardet and Ben Healy.


Evenepoel needed to keep targeted within the heavy rain, however he elevated his result in greater than a minute and now not needed to take any dangers. Solely unhealthy luck or a crash might take the win away from the younger Belgian. The battle for the rostrum behind Evenepoel was extra attention-grabbing, as a result of Pidcock dropped again in a big chase group. With greater than 1:20 behind, they began to climb the Roche-aux-Faucons, the final impediment of the day. Healy and Santiago Buitrago had the most effective legs and pulled away from the remaining. Pidcock was capable of leap throughout to the 2. Evenepoel now had a minute and a half. Nothing stood in the way in which of a second victory in a row in La Doyenne for the World Champion sporting number one. Within the final 3 kilometres he had loads of time to smile on the digicam and have a good time the victory. Pidcock sprinted to second place greater than a minute later, forward of Buitrago and Healy. Valentin Madouas adopted in fifth place, forward of Guillaume Martin and Tiesj Benoot.

Liege 2023

2023 Liège-bastonge-Liège End result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Fast-Step – Alpha Vinyl) in 6:15:40
2. Tom Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1_06
3. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain Victorious
4. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Schooling-EasyPost at 1:08
5. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:24.

2023 Liège-bastonge-Liège highlights

The 2024 Parcours
The 2024 Liège-Bastogne-Liège route has just a few minor adjustments. The beginning is once more at Place-Saint Lambert in Liège for 254.5 hilly kilometres, 4 lower than final yr. There are fairly just a few climbs within the first 100 kilometres, however there gained’t be a decisive transfer that early, though as of late, who is aware of?. Within the first two hours we should always see an early break on the street out to Bastogne.

Liege 2024
2024 Liège-Bastogne-Liège map

The Côte de Bonnerue is the primary of 11 categorised climbs. After 117,3 kilometres, there may be the second ramp, the Côte de Saint-Roch. It’s a lot shorter than the Bonnerue, however quite a bit steeper. It’s nonetheless too early for the large weapons to start out firing, this could begin after Vielsalm and 150 kilometres of racing. The race then hits the Côte de Mont-le-Soie, this may very well be the beginning of the finale. After that 5 climbs are available fast succession. Inside 40 kilometres, there are the Côte de Wanne, the Côte de Stockeu, the Côte de la Haute-Levée, the Col du Rosier and the Côte de Desnié. The identical as yearly.

Liege 2024
2024 Liège-Bastogne-Liège profile

After the Desnié, the peloton has a quick descent and the street they got here out on in the direction of Bastogne. Subsequent is Côte de la Redoute, which is simply 1.6 kilometres lengthy, with a mean gradient of 9,4%. The riders flip proper about 300 metres earlier than the highest to hit the Côte de Cornémone.

Remco Evenepoel coming over La Redoute in 2023

La Rédoute is the place Liège-Bastogne-Liège ought to break up and the ultimate be determined, as there are 30 kilometres to the end. The Côte des Forges comes after 11 kilometres and the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons at an additional 10 kilometres. This last climb is also referred to as the Valkenrock and its summit is about 13 kilometres from the end line. The climbing isn’t over but. After a brief descent, there may be nonetheless some steep ramps of as much as 10% on not the most effective of concrete roads. The end is on a large street within the Quai des Ardennes.

There’s a good huge end in Liège, don’t get it fallacious

The Climbs
Côte de Bonnerue (2,4km at 5,7%) – 76,2 kilometres
Côte de Saint-Roch (1km at 11,2%) – 117,3 kilometres
Côte de Mont-le-Soie (1,7km at 7,9%) – 161,2 kilometres
Côte de Wanne (3,6km at 5,1%) – 169,5 kilometres
Côte de Stockeu (1km at 12,5%) – 176 kilometres
Côte de la Haute-Levée (2,2km at 7,5%) – 180,2 kilometres
Col du Rosier (4,4km at 5,9%) – 194,4 kilometres
Côte de Desnié (1,6km at 8,1%) – 197,8 kilometres
Côte de la Redoute (1,6km at 9,4%) – 220,5 kilometres
Côte des Forges (1,3km at 7,8%) – 231,2 kilometres
Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (1,3km at 11%) – 241,2 kilometres.

The Côte de Saint-Roch comes early within the race, however it’s all the time widespread with the followers

The Males to Watch
A race of the stature of Liège-Bastogne-Liège ought to have a begin listing of the highest riders. This yr there are just a few lacking, together with Remco Evenepoel who gained the final two editions and Primoz Roglič who gained in 2020, however there are a lot of others who could make their mark in Wallonia. World champion, Mathieu van der Poel is using for the second time, he was sixth when the race was run in October 2020. That yr he completed at 14 seconds behind the profitable group of Roglič, Hirschi, Pogačar, Mohorič and Alaphilippe. However MvdP is just not the highest favorite in Liège.

Pogačar must be the ‘Prime Favorite’

This yr’s high favorite for ‘La Doyenne’ must be two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogačar, the winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021. The Slovenian’s subsequent massive objective is the Giro d’Italia and so he hasn’t raced lots of the Classics this yr. Liège-Bastogne-Liège comes at simply the proper time in his coaching schedule, an excellent time to check the legs earlier than the pink race. Final yr, Pogačar crashed on a descent and sustained a fractured wrist, which upset his Tour de France preparation. When Pogačar strains up in the beginning of a race, you realize he’s not going for second (or decrease) place. Pogacar hasn’t raced a lot this season, however has been fairly profitable: Strade Bianche – win, Milano-Sanremo – third and Tour of Catalonia – win with 4 out of seven phases. Pogačar’s major fear might be damage from a crash presently in his season, however different clever he must be the large favorite for Sunday.

Gent-Wevelgem 2024
Can Van der Poel make historical past?

World champion Mathieu van der Poel has had an ideal spring up to now. He didn’t do as effectively in Amstel, however it was a tactical race and he didn’t have the identical staff assist as within the earlier Classics. Pogačar is a greater climber, Van der Poel carries just a few extra kilos, which works in opposition to him on the longer climbs. After Amstel he urged that he didn’t have the tremendous type of the previous weeks. He has been at a really excessive stage since Sanremo, however Van der Poel doesn’t give in frivolously and has been coaching in Spain this week to take his fourth Monument.

Amstel 2024
Pidcock has Amstel in his pocket – What a couple of Monument?

Tom Pidcock has proven that he can win massive, in actual fact all his fins on the street have been massive. Liège-Bastogne-Liège has longer climbs than Amstel and may have Tadej Pogačar. In final yr’s Liège, Pidcock was the one rider who might go together with Evenepoel, effectively, dangle on for a short time. In Liège he is aware of what he has to do, simply this time it’s Pogačar and never Evenepoel.

Brabantse Pijl 2024
Cosnefroy gained the Brabantse Pijl – Liège an excessive amount of?

The Amstel Gold Race is usually a good information for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, however this yr it appeared that the highest riders have been both holding again or couldn’t be within the battle. Within the Brabantse Pijl the break up got here earlier and Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech) and Benoit Cosnefroy (Decathlon AG2R) have been the primary males. Teuns had already been wanting good, with eighth within the Tour of Flanders. Teuns is without doubt one of the finest in these sorts of races and can make his mark on Sunday. Teammates Stephen Williams (winner of Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday) and Michael Woods may play a key function. Cosnefroy has a greater dash, he was too fast for Teuns within the Brabantse Pijl, however Cosnefroy has by no means been within the high 10 in Liège-Bastogne-Liège within the six instances he has ridden, however this yr the Frenchman appears to be like stronger than ever.

Basque Country 2024
Romain Grégoire may very well be Groupama-FDJ’s man for Liège

Groupama-FDJ has a powerful staff with Romain Grégoire, Quentin Pacher and Valentin Madouas who have been all good within the Amstel Gold Race, whereas on the identical time David Gaudu has been ending within the high 5 within the smaller French races. Gaudu was third within the 2021 Liège, so he can carry out within the Walloon Monument. The 21-year-old Grégoire may very well be the staff’s man to look at.

Amstel 2024
Benoot and Herschi may have their elements to play, however what?

Tiesj Benoot was third in Amstel, 4th in Dwars Door Vlaanderen and 15 in de Ronde, so his kind is nice. The one drawback may very well be his pregnant spouse. If she offers start this week, Benoot will in all probability not be in the beginning in Liège. Marc Hirschi was 2nd within the Amstel Gold, however he must work for his chief, Pogačar, however with everybody taking a look at and marking the Slovenian, it might work for Hirschi Juan Ayuso is in the identical place, however once more there could be a gap for the younger Spaniard.

Don’t neglect Ben Healy’s trip final yr in Liège

There are numerous exterior hopes, however will they be preventing for second place, together with everybody else? Ben Healy & Richard Carapaz (EF Schooling-EasyPost), Quinten Hermans & Axel Laurance (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers), Andrea Bagioli & Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), Maxim Van Gils and Andreas Kron (Lotto Dstny), Simon Yates & Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) and Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal Fast-Step) all might do one thing.

Strade Bianche 2024
Prime favorite – Tadej Pogačar

The Favourites:
TOP: Tadej Pogačar
Possible: Tom Pidcock, Benoit Cosnefroy
Potential: Mathieu van der Poel, Mattias Skjelmose, Dylan Teuns
Outsiders: Marc Hirschi, Juan Ayuso, Tiesj Benoot, Romain Grégoire.
* The beginning listing would possibly change earlier than Sunday. *

# Keep PEZ for the Liège ‘Race Report’ on Sunday and all of the information in EUROTRASH Monday. #
* Due to ProCyclingStats and WielerFlits for details and figures. *

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