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Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014 ends in a sprint with the victory for Simon Gerrans

Added: sunday 27 April 2014 at 17:06:00
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    Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014 ends in a sprint with the victory for Simon GerransThe 100th edition of La Doyenne. Liège-Bastogne-Liège started its second century a few years ago already but today the 100th edition of this last classic of the season took place on the hilly roads in the south of Belgium.

    A 6 rider strong breakaway was reduced over time and Matteo Bono was the last rider ahead when he was taken back at about twenty kilometers from the finish, in the climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. In the end, the peloton stayed together and it was not in the Côte de Saint-Nicolas that the race was decided either. It thus ended in a sprint and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) turned out to be its winner!

    The summary of Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014

    Just after 10AM this morning, 197 riders started in Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014, after the start had been given by the Belgian King Philippe who didn't celebrate his anniversary like the Dutch King but who celebrated the 100th edition of this big classic.

    197 riders since two riders didn't start today: Chris Froome (Team Sky), the winner of the Tour de France 2013, was ill with a chest infection which became a bit worse this night after he arrived quite late in Liège with his flight last night, and he thus decided to rest in order to be in shape for the Tour de Romandie (and Team Sky was already about to start with only 7 riders since Pete Kennaugh was ill as well and thus didn't come to the start either) and Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale), the recent winner of Paris-Nice 2014, had an inflammation of the tonsils and didn't start either.

    At kilometer 12, after the descent of the Côte des Forges (which didn't count for this first climb early in the race, but it was again on the programme on the way back), a group of 6 riders got away from the peloton: Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Michel Koch (Cannondale) and Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka) who attacked first and who rapidly got company from Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

    The peloton let this breakaway group go and the 6 leading riders thus created a gap of no less than 15'45" on top of the Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne at kilometer 70 where Pieter Jacobs took the first points for the hills classification.

    The road down to Bastogne was a little bit different than usual, in order to symbolically reach the 100 kilometers in the race in this city where it usually turns around and the sprint at this place was won by Michel Koch who manage to beat Matteo Bono at the very last moment and thus win a bonus of 5000 euros.

    After the feeding zone in Foy, Pieter Jacobs attacked from the breakaway group to again take the points on top of the Côte de Saint-Roch and the peloton reached this summit 13'10" later, with still 140 kilometers to go and that's when the gap seriously started to drop.

    In the climb of the Côte de Wanne, the first of a trio of hills, with the Stockeu and the Haute-Levée, the leading group lost Marco Minnaard who didn't manage to follow the tempo given by the 5 other riders of the breakaway. On top of this climb, where their gap was down to 7'30", Pieter Jacobs again takes the points, and he did the same on the Côte de Stockeu and on the Côte de la Haute-Levée.

    In this last climb, the longest climb of the day, several riders had to drop at the back of the peloton and among them we found a rider who's usually pretty strong in these kind of races, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), apparently not in a good shape after his crash in the Amstel Gold Race while he declared he was feeling better, that he had perfect legs and just some difficulties in breathing because his chest hurt. The Spanish rider of the Russian team finally abandoned the race, just like Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), the World Champion who -just like several other riders- crashed.

    After the second feeding zone, the 5 leading riders started the climb of the Côte de la Vecquée and the Belgian rider again took the 5 points while the gap was down to 3 minutes.

    The famous Côte de la Redoute immediately led to a selection in the leading group with Michel Koch being the first who was no longer able to follow, but also Pirmin Lang a bit later, in the steepest part, and in the end Matteo Bono was leading solo but just after the climb, Jacobus Venter came back on him.

    Warren BarguilWarren Barguil (Team Giant-Shimano) attacked from the peloton in the steepest part of the Côte de la Redoute. The French rider, who was initially joined by Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) and Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), however rapidly saw the peloton coming back and the race thus showed two leading riders, followed by Pieter Jacobs and Pirmin Lang and the peloton, at only 1'15".

    Matteo BonoWhile Jacobs and Lang are taken back just before the Côte des Forges which made its comeback in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race route, Matteo Bono again left the South-African rider Jacobus Venter with a gap which was for the first time less than a minute. In this climb, Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) attacked from the peloton and before the next climb he was joined by Dennis Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupee Gobert) but at 25 kilometers from the finish, their adventure already came to an end and the peloton was at about 25 seconds from Matteo Bono, still leading solo, at that time.

    When the Italian rider starts the climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, inaccessible in 2013 due to roadworks, his gap was down to only 6 seconds and mainly thanks to the impulse given by Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) the peloton came back on him and the bunch was thus back together again.
    Domenico PozzovivoRiblon tried to harden the race in order to place Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) who jumped in the wheel of Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) when he attacked.

    In the descent of this hill, the two riders were however taken back and the bunch was thus again back together. The only hill left was the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, a climb of a bit more than a kilometer at 5.5 km from the finish and in this climb Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) was the first to attack but in the end Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and again Domenico Pozzovivo managed to get away in front of the race.

    While the favorites kept looking at each other at about ten seconds behind these two leading riders on top of this last hill, the two Italian riders continued to collaborate well together. We saw several attempts from the group of favorites, especially with Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) at a bit over 2 kilometers from the finish and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), last year's winner, in the last kilometer but in the end it seemed to become a sprint between the two Italians.

    Caruso was the first to attack but Dan Martin managed to get back on him ... but the Irish rider took a bit too much risks and crashed in the last turn! Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) then launched the sprint, followed by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).

    The Australian rider was of course the fastest in the sprint and thus won the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège!

    The classification of Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014

    Here's the top 10 of Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014:

    Simon Gerrans1/ Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) - 6h37'43"
    2/ Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)
    3/ Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    4/ Damiano Caruso (Team Katusha)
    5/ Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) - +0'03"
    6/ Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp)
    7/ Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    8/ Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
    9/ Daniel Moreno (Team Katusha)
    10/ Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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Comments

Currently 5 comments!
  1. Bonjour Thomas,

    Dan Martin est Irlandais et non pas Américain.
    Elle est vraiment dommage pour lui cette chute à 300m, d'autant que je ne crois pas que Gerrans & co auraient pu le reprendre.

    J'espère que cette arrivée "groupée" (40 coureurs sous la flamme rouge) sera un signal pour ASO, pour revenir à des parcours plus durs (ce que Maziro avait noté sur la page de présentation de la course). Ce n'est pas avec huit côtes en cent kilomètres que les meilleurs se départageront, d'autant que le niveau des coureurs entre dans une phase plus homogène avec l'absence de grands champions. Heureusement que les Français et les Italiens qui n'ont pas de grands leaders attaquent, sinon la course aurait été d'un ennui.

    | Aurélien M. | sunday 27 April 2014 at 18:26:49

  2. @Aurélien, je le sais bien en fait ! Et j'ai d'ailleurs corrigé cette erreur à peu près en même temps que la publication de ton commentaire ... c'était dans le rush que j'ai dû faire cette erreur dans ma tête :-/.

    Comme toi je pense que Martin aurait eu une très bonne chance de remporter la course s'il n'avait pas chuté !

    | Thomas Vergouwen | sunday 27 April 2014 at 18:33:38

  3. Ce n'est pas grave Thomas ;) , ça arrive à tous le monde (moi le premier)

    J'ai également été surpris par Pozzovivo, à le voir si fort, il pourrait bien être un prétendant au podium sur le Giro, s'il arrive à conserver sa forme (ce qu'il n'arrive pas à faire d'habitude !)

    | Aurélien M. | sunday 27 April 2014 at 19:26:48

  4. Comme je le craignais, la course a été une purge, je me rapellé pas avoir déja vu 40 coureurs au pied de la cote d'ans ! l attentisme des favoris est coupable on a eu droit à la quintessence du cyclisme moderne ou les calculs d épicier et les stratégie de courte vue sont la norme.

    C 'est désolant de voir Des cotes légendaires escamotés et passées à la vitesse d une cyclotourisme , stockeu c'était attendu, la redoute fut une farce (sauf barguil),la roche une aimable blague…

    Les coureurs, les organisateurs doivent vraiment revoir leur copie , ce spectacle affligeant menace l'intéret de ce sport il faut prendre les mesure pour relancer ce spectacle , réduire le nombre de coureurs par équipe , attribuer des points uci au sommet dés dernières cotes …j en sais rien, il faut changer...

    et déja suppression de l immonde cote d' ans et de st nicolas, un final redoute la roche aux faucons est largement suffisant, après ce spectacle affligeant aso doit revoir le parcours, ça ne règlera pas tout MAIS il faut changer qqchose !

    | maziro | sunday 27 April 2014 at 20:32:24

  5. Les ardennaises ont été catastrophiques cette années, aussi ennuyeuses les unes que les autres. Maziro, je te rejoins complètement sur les mesures à adopter pour modifier le cyclisme. 5 coureurs par équipe permettrais de voir les leaders entre eux plus tôt dans la course. Les points UCI en haut des bosses pourquoi pas, je pense également que l'on pourrait en donner aux échappés.

    Concernant le parcours, c'est assez compliqué. St Nicolas et la Roche aux Faucons ont été rajoutées justement dans le but de durcir la course après des éditions où l'arrivée s'était déjà fait au sprint. L'ajout de la côte des Forges était une erreur pour moi. L'arrivée à Ans, purement marketting (arrivée au niveau du magasin Carrefour, partenaire de l'épreuve) est en effet à revoir.

    Quelle était exactement la liste des côtes utilisées dans les années 80?

    | Olivier73 | sunday 27 April 2014 at 20:54:19

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