Liege Preview: The Route
Frankie Andreu told us “this race is comparable to a typical Tour de France stage. The climbs are longer and the riders that win here generally good climbers. There is always an early break but never does it work. Here a strong team can make a large difference by being able to chase down breaks and neutralize moves. By this point in time the World Cup results have started to take shape so the riders are also watching who is close to them in the rankings.”
This Classic is as tough as they get – 258 km winding through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, lots of those back-breaking hills, crappy weather, cobbles, and of course Belgian fans. The route starts and ends in Liege, and passes through countless towns, including Bastogne, along the way. (See how the name works?)
Weather is often a factor, with several editions being run in snow storms, and cold rain is always a possiblity here in the Spring.
The race dates back to 1892, making it cycling’s oldest Classic, and has a history of great winners and battles, to match the history of the region. The winner will join the ranks of greats like Anquetil, Merckx, Kelly, and Hinault.
The race has become a classic test for the all-rounder, with a tough distance, wind & weather, and lots of short steep climbs to burn off the weaklings.
The most famous climb is la Redoute at the 222km mark, but the race actually finishes on the 160m high Ans climb in the same-named suburb of Liege.
Get more info at the official Liege-Bastogne-Liege race Website: www.letour.com.