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Photo Special: LIEGE ’17

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Photo Special: The Spring Classics season has rolled up in Liège with an exciting finalé, but with a fairly predictable out come – Alejandro Valverde. Cor Vos has all the best pics from Sunday, and so here is the PEZ Liège Photo Special to close the door on the 2017 Classics.

PEZ race report HERE and more news and video in EUROTRASH.

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie training Team Lotto - Soudal - foto: GvG/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Spring arrived in Belgium for Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the teams enjoyed their recon rides during the week. That was before the bad news from Italy.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Homage to MICHEL SCARPANI before the start pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

At the start there was silence and clapping from the peloton and the fans, but it was too much for many, especially for his Astana teammates.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Homage to MICHEL SCARPANI before the start  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Homage to MICHEL SCARPANI before the start  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

The start and sign-on had a large crowd in Liège even though it was in cool, but sunny conditions.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  illustration - sfeer - illustratie start pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

The Astana team led the race out through the built up area of Liège, all the Kazakh team and many other riders raced with black arm-bands.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Astana pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb)   pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

Sunweb’s Michael Matthews has had a good spring, obviously the team change has suited him. A stage win in the Tour of the Basque Country, 8th in Gent–Wevelgem, 10th in Amstel Gold Race and on Sunday he took 4th in Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

Once the break had gone up the road; there was no surprise as to which teams took up the chase: Movistar, Orica-Scott and Quick-Step Floors were all to the fore.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - attack Nick van der Lijke (Netherlands / Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

The first important break of the day: Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Anthony Perez & Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), Mekseb Debesay (Dimension Data), Bart De Clerq (Lotto Soudal), Nick Van der Lijke (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Fabian Grellier (Direct Energie) and Aaron Gate (Aqua Blue Sport).

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Cote de Saint Roche pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

It’s an iconic photo and one we see every year from Liège-Bastogne-Liège – The Côte de Saint Roche with the fans crushed behind the barriers on the narrow pathway.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Petr VAKOC (Czech / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

As the race warmed up it was the same three teams who lifted the pace to finish the hopes of the escape.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  group escape - Nick VAN DER LIJKE (Netherlands / Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

Bart de Clerq (Lotto Soudal) led the break as Nick Van der Lijke (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) hung on the back, but it was Anthony Perez (Cofidis) who put the excitement into the race as he powered off the front.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Sergio Luis HENAO MONTOYA (Columbia / Team Sky) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Pool/BP/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

As the race came back together, Sky’s Sergio Henao was very active. Was he working for teammate Michal Kwiatkowski or was he looking out for his own success?

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tim WELLENS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Michael WOODS (Canada / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

Lotto Soudal were hoping to gain something from the Classics and it was up to Tim Wellens to make his mark in the run-in to the finish. Rigoberto Uran was also there for Cannondale-Drapac, but the pair were doomed.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Michael WOODS (Canada / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team)  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

Woods has had a great season so far, you can read his PEZ interview HERE.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Davide FORMOLO (Italy / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

As soon as Wellens and Uran were brought back to the fold, it was Davide Formolo who put that bright Cannondale-Drapac jersey off the front.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Leiding groepen in the last kilometer. Tom DUMOULIN (Netherlands / Team Sunweb) - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) - Roman KREUZIGER (Czech / Team Orica Scott)  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Pool/BP/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

The chase behind.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Escape Daniel Martin - Tom DUMOULIN (Netherlands / Team Sunweb) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Pool BP/Cor Vos¨© 2017

What was left of the peloton was waiting for the big attack and it came from Quick-Step Floors’ Dan Martin as he saw that Alejandro Valverde was cornered in.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - escape Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Pool/BP/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

A big effort from the Irishman looked to have caused the surprise needed for the win, but…

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

The man with the wins on his back, Valverde, was on his way up to the front.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto AntonVos/Cor Vos ¨ © 2017

With an exceptionally strong move, the defending champion was on the wheel of Martin and ready to make his move.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

Both riders looked to have ‘popped’ in the last meters, but Valverde had just enough to make a second jump.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar)  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

Valverde had that 1% needed for the win.

Liege - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

The Spaniard had just enough time to check he had his 4th Liège win in the bag to go with his 5th Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) - Daniel MARTIN (Ireland / Team Quick Step - Floors)  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨© 2017

The Spaniard had just enough time to check he had his 4th Liège win in the bag to go with his 5th Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Michal KWIATKOWSKI (Poland / Team Sky) - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb)  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

Michal Kwiatkowski had a comfortable 3rd place ahead of Michael Matthews.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Team  Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

Great result for Michael Woods ahead of Greg Van Avermaet.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tom DUMOULIN (Netherlands / Team Sunweb)  - Davide FORMOLO (Italy / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

Sunweb’s second hope for Liège, Tom Dumoulin, came in 14 seconds down in 22nd place just in front of Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac) who had enlivened the last climb of the day.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Nick VAN DER LIJKE (Netherlands / Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij) pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

That man from the break; Nick Van Der Lijke (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) at 4:50 in 71st place – A day to remember, for sure.

Liege - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar)  pictured during Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2017 - UCI Worldtour - foto  VK/PN/Cor Vos ¨®¨© 2017

Alejandro Valverde has set some records on Sunday: 4th Liège-Bastogne-Liège to go with his 3rd Liège/Flèche Wallonne double (2006, 2015 and 2017). Add to that his overall wins in the Basque Country, Andalucia, Catalunya and his home race, the Vuelta a Murcia, not bad for a soon to be 37 year old (birthday on Tuesday the 25th of April), and it’s only April.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 6:24:27
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:03
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
5. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott
8. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:07
9. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
11. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
12. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
13. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
14. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
15. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
16. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:14
17. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ
18. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
19. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
20. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
21. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
22. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
23. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
24. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:24
25. Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data at 0:28.

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