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HomeCyclingLIÈGE'22 Preview: Who Can Take La Doyenne?

LIÈGE’22 Preview: Who Can Take La Doyenne?

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2022 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Preview: The peloton will battle during the last ‘Monument’ of the spring season on Sunday on the hilly roads between Liège and Bastogne. Ed Hood takes us by means of the ‘Flemish Ardennes’ for the historical past, parcours and contenders for ‘La Doyenne’.

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‘La Doyenne?’

Why do they name the race, ‘La Doyenne?’
‘La Doyenne’ is French which means, ‘the longest serving, most skilled woman,’ the race is the oldest of all of the Monuments with the primary version gained by Leon Houa in 1892 as an newbie occasion with Houa additionally profitable the primary skilled occasion in 1894. This would be the 108th operating of the race – bear that in thoughts when suggesting that the Strade Bianche ought to be branded a ‘Monument,’ after simply 16 editions.

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The climb of the San Roche – Extra followers this yr

How come the race and the Flèche Wallonne are referred to as, ‘Ardennes Classics’ – I believed that the Ardennes have been round Oudenaarde in Flanders?
It’s a little bit complicated, sure however the ridge at Oudenaarde is the ‘Flemish Ardennes,’ the Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège races happen additional to the south within the French talking Wallonia area.

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In all probability no snow this Sunday – Liege 1980

I’ll borrow from Wiki to elaborate:
The Ardennes is a area in southeast Belgium that extends into Luxembourg, Germany and France, the rugged terrain encompasses rolling valleys, meandering rivers, in depth caves and dense forests crisscrossed with climbing paths.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2022 – Uncover the route

Liège – Bastogne – Liège, does it actually do this?
Sure, certainly, it leaves the previous ‘coal and metal city’ of Liège and heads south to Bastogne at 100 kilometres earlier than, as Tremendous Tramp may say, ‘Taking the Lengthy Manner Residence’ again to Liège to finish 250 plus kilometres.

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Liege’22 map and profile

‘Bastogne,’ weren’t there huge battles there in World Two?
Sure, the ‘Battle of the Bulge,’ and the parcours is dotted with reminders of these darkish days; tanks, memorials, defence works. The German’s launched a determined however ultimately abortive counter-attack in opposition to allied forces in December 1944 aimed toward reaching the port of Antwerp and driving a wedge between US and British forces; it lasted 4 weeks with 20,000 US serviceman dropping their lives in freezing situations. The US defence of Bastogne is now the stuff of navy legend; on twenty second December Main-Basic Anthony McAuliffe, holding the besieged metropolis was referred to as upon by the Germans to give up. He replied ‘Nuts!’ and when requested for clarification responded ‘Go to hell!’

Major-General Anthony McAuliffe
Main-Basic Anthony McAuliffe in Bastogne

Pundits say it’s the toughest of all of the Monuments however Milano-Sanremo is longer and Flanders and Roubaix have all these cobbles?
All very true however the second half of this race is unrelenting with one robust climb on gnarly roads, after one other, La Roche-en-Ardenne climb comes round 75K in then the Cote de Saint-Roch at 122K however inside the ultimate 100 kilometres there are an extra eight categorised climbs; and while these aren’t Alpine passes neither are they ‘bergs’ to be climbed purely on energy. The Col du Rosier as an example at 199K is a few 4.4 kilometres lengthy – with a complete of some 4,400 metres of climbing, when you can’t climb then you possibly can’t win, it’s that easy.

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World champ, Johan Museeuw on La Redoute in Liège 1997

Isn’t La Redoute the decisive climb, although?
Not a lot now, albeit was. There’s nonetheless a climb after La Redoute, the robust Roche-au-Faucons the place Jakob Fuglsang sparked his profitable transfer in 2019.

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The end is not subsequent to the bus station

Doesn’t it end in that horrible retail park anymore?
Fortunately, no. Exterior a bus storage was an incongruous end to an awesome race; taking the race again into the town rests a lot simpler with traditionalists – together with me.

Hoogvliet - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - archief - archive - stock - Eddy Merckx - foto /Cor Vos ©2008
Merckx – 5 time winner in Liège

Give us some statistics then. . .
As mentioned above, the race goes approach again to 1892. ‘Recordman’ on 5 victories is, unsurprisingly, Eddy Merckx, he additionally took a second and third place within the race to present him seven podium finishes. One other man with seven podium finishes continues to be pushing these pedals – Alejandro Valverde has 4 wins, two second locations and a 3rd to his credit score. Sharing 4 wins is dapper Italian, Moreno Argentin, a person who was nearly unbeatable in an uphill dash on the finish of a tough race.

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Pogačar had the dash in 2021

Are there any earlier winners on the beginning listing, can any of them win once more?
There are six earlier winners lining up and ‘sure,’ one can doubtlessly, ‘repeat.’ Tadej Pogačar [UAE & Slovenia] gained in 2021 and has had glowing kind this season however will likely be eager to make amends for his misjudged ending effort which threw away a Monument podium place in de Ronde. He’s backed by a really sturdy group which incorporates Rafa Majka, Diego Ulissi and Marc Hirschi. ‘Pog’ is my alternative for the day. Primoz Roglič – one other of these pesky Slovenians gained in 2020. The three time Vuelta winner and Paris-Good winner this season wasn’t his common dominant self within the Pays Basque and gained’t line up in Liège on account of a knee harm. “I had some issues within the muscle behind my knee earlier than coming right here, and it clearly didn’t get higher in the course of the week,” Roglič mentioned after the Basque Nation. “First I’ve to get myself proper, really feel good on the bike. We actually must look intently at what it’s, to deal with it in the easiest way so I don’t get into extra bother.”

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Fuglsang solo in 2019

Jakob Fuglsang [Israel Premier Tech & Denmark] gained in 2019 however he’s given us no clues so far in 2022 that he could be in competition in a race as robust as this one.

Ans - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Bob JUNGELS (Luxembourg / Team Quick - Step Floors) pictured during the 104th Liège - Bastogne - Liège - world tour - a one day race between Liege and Ans in Belgium (258KM) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2018
Luxembourg champ Bob Jungels – Liège 2018

Bob Jungels [AG2R Citroen & Luxembourg] gained in 2018 and while we’re not saying his finest days are behind him at 29 years-of-age, he’s not displaying the expertise he did when with Patrick Lefevere.

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Cosnefroy’s non-win within the Amstel Gold Race

Jungels 26 years-old French group mate, Benoit Cosnefroy is a significantly better guess for the group with the diagonal writing on the maillot; second locations within the Amstel Gold and Flèche Brabançonne in latest days confirms that.

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Valverde gained his first Liège approach again in 2006 – Right here he’s on the way in which to his second in 2008

Alejandro Valverde [Movistar & Spain] who we talked about above has gained this race 4 occasions; however regardless of his latest sturdy showings within the Strade Bianche and Gran Camino it’s unlikely he can win once more; there are too many ‘Younger Turks’ – and people pesky Slovenians. His most up-to-date win, 2017 at 36 years 363 days makes him the race’s oldest winner.

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2016 win for Wout Poels

Wout Poels [Bahrain Victorious & The Netherlands] gained in 2016 and continues to be a really succesful rider – witnessed by his win within the Ruta del Sol, this yr – nevertheless, see feedback above re. ‘Younger Turks’ and ‘Pesky Slovenians.’

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Philippe Gilbert in 2011, the second oldest rider on the beginning line

Philippe Gilbert [Lotto Soudal & Belgium] gained in 2011 and has 5 high 10 finishes off 16 participations to his title however at 38 years-of-age it’s tough to see him usurping Valverde because the oldest winner.

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The opposite Slovenian – Matej Mohorič

Are there some other ‘Pesky Slovenians to contemplate?’
No ‘Rog’, however there will likely be ‘Pog’ and there’s Primavera winner and one of many ‘males of the match’ within the latest Paris-Roubaix, Matej Mohorič [Bahrain Victorious & you know where] he was high 10 right here final yr however is a yr stronger and wiser to not point out a person who excels in lengthy, onerous races.

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The 2 hopes for Fast-Step Alaphilippe and Evenepoel

And the Younger Weapons?
Remco Evenepoel [Quick-Step & Belgium] at 22 years-of-age makes his Liege debut and carries the load of big expectation from the Belgian Media and public on his younger shoulders; that stress appears to be attending to him, nevertheless he’s nonetheless a massively proficient younger man. And will he falter then his French group mate and World Champion, Julian Alaphilippe will likely be there to attempt to make amends for twice being proper the place he ought to be on the finish of this race and ‘blowing’ it on each events, with a dash irregularity and untimely victory salute two years in the past and by misjudging his dash final yr. His boss, Patrick Lefevere it hardly wants mentioned requires an enormous win, BADLY and shortly.

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May it’s Tom Pidcock’s day?

Then there’s that different small however completely fashioned gentleman, Tom Pidcock [INEOS Grenadiers & GB] who can also be 22 years-old and making his Liege debut, he’s a person whose limits we don’t but know. What we do know is that INEOS morale is sky excessive, they’re on 18 wins this season with a royal flush of Basque Nation, Amstel, Brabantse Pijl and Paris Roubaix simply throw down on the cardboard desk. Pidcock has no media stress on him from a British press who give the Monuments round two column inches every. His even youthful group mate, Spain’s 21 years-old Carlos Rodriguez can also be a person we really feel is destined for excellent issues and is price watching right here.

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INEOS second alternative – Carlos Rodriguez

What about Wout?
Sure, Wout van Aert [Jumbo Visma & Belgium] is on the beginning sheet, denied a journey in his beloved Ronde by sickness he was a little bit ‘brief’ at Roubaix however will likely be smarting for one more huge win and with one other week of restoration and the best coaching needs to be thought-about a possible winner.

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Wout is at all times on kind

The place can we get extra kind clues?
Watch the Flèche Wallone on Wednesday – however when you’re busy you actually solely have to tune in for the final 5 minutes. . .

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Bear in mind to observe the end of Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday

The race tiple?
It could possibly solely be Jupiler, brewed at Piedboeuf Brewery within the Jupille-sur-Meuse neighbourhood of Liège; the best promoting beer in Belgium, with round 40 % market share by quantity.

Jupiler
Ed’s beer alternative for Liège

# Keep PEZ for the ‘Liège Race Report’ on Sunday and all of the information in EUROTRASH Monday. #

Liège’21 highlights


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