TechPowered By

More tech

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 263km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Sadhbh O'Shea

Welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of Liège-Bastogne-Liège

  1. 09:50:34 CEST

    Welcome to the live coverage of the fourth monument of the season Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Stick with us for the next few hours and we'll bring you all the action from the race.

  2. 09:56:04 CEST

    Sign-on is over and done with and the riders are taking to the start line for the start in around 10 minutes. It's a bright and sunny day, after the rain of last night. The temperature is around 15 degrees.

  3. 09:57:39 CEST

    One rider who didn't make sign-on this morning was Chris Froome. The Sky rider has got a bad cough according to his teammate, and often roommate, Richie Porte. Froome should be back in action for the Tour de Romandie however. Froome's teammate Peter Kennaugh also pulled out of the race earlier this week with an unrelated illness.

  4. 10:02:56 CEST

    The riders have rolled out of Liege for the start of this 263km day, although it will be a bit over 270 if you include the neutral start. It will be around 10:15 local time when the flag drops for the start real.

  5. 10:06:49 CEST

    Today is the 100th running of the race, although it started in 1982. To mark the milestone the organisers are awarding 5,000 euros at an intermediate sprint at 100km.

  6. 10:10:16 CEST

    Dan Martin is the man with the number 1 dossard on his back today. He dropped Joaquim Rodríguez in the closing metres of last year's race, after the pair escaped on the final unclassified climb into Ans. If you've forgotten how things panned out last year, here is a look at the top 10 standings fromt he 2013 race:

    1 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 6:38:07
    2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:00:03
    3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:09
    4 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
    5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
    6 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:18
    7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
    8 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
    9 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
    10 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge

  7. 10:12:37 CEST

    We're not quite out of the neutral zone yet, that will be in a couple of minutes time. Another DNS for today is Carlos Betancur. He finished fourth in last year's race and was a potential contender for the podium. The Colombian has been suffering with knee problems over the last month. That makes 197 riders in the peloton today.

  8. 10:18:55 CEST

    And we're off, the start has been given

  9. 10:21:10 CEST

    As we wait for the action start today we can take a look at the potential victors today. After his win at Fleche Wallonne, Alejandro Valverde is looking like the most likely contender for victory today. Philippe Gilbert is also on great form this week and we also have to mention defending Dan Martin. Who do you think will win today? You can share your thoughts with us on twitter @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS. We've put together a little video of who we think you should watch out for today. You can watch that here

  10. 10:23:58 CEST

    Dan Martin isn't the only former champion in the peloton today. Including the Garmin-Sharp rider we have five winners of Liège–Bastogne–Liège. They are Maxim Iglinskiy (2012), Philippe Gilbert (2011), Andy Schleck (2009) and Alejandro Valverde (2006/2008).

  11. 10:26:38 CEST

    Yesterday was the team presentation and Cyclingnews managed to grab a word with a few riders and directeurs. Orica-GreenEDGE are hoping to improve on 10th last year with Simon Gerrans. We spoke to his directeur sportif Matt White, who told us who he thinks we should watch out for and what we might expect from today.

    "The clear favourites are Valverde, Gilbert and the pairing at Katusha. You'll get any early break and then those teams will control stuff. The level of racing has been a lot more even than in the past and the new climbing format is really hard. It was done in the original Liege and it's really solid. Most people's race tends to finish in the Faucons but it will finish earlier now."

    "The big guys won't move until there and then their teammates will try and slip away. On Saint-Nicolas it will be leader versus leader."

    "The leaders might cancel each other out to a certain extent but Liege is such a hard race. People in form always win. You can't be a lucky winner of Liege because it's just so hard. I don't expect a surprise winner. If I gave you ten names I could add anyone else to the list of potential winners. I think it's the most demanding race of the calendar. It's a complete bike race."
     

  12. 10:28:33 CEST

    After 6km of racing, the peloton is still all together. They've been riding at a pacey 39kph, which is making it difficult for a break to get established.

  13. 10:31:36 CEST

    We have our first attacks of the day coming and a small group have managed to get away, but it's not a very big gap.

  14. 10:32:50 CEST

    It looks like the peloton are being picky about who they let get away and the group of five has been reeled back in.

  15. 10:34:34 CEST

    The first classified climb today isn't until 70km, but it's still not an easy start for the riders who have to navigate some hilly terrain before they reach it. In total there are 10 climbs today. Here is a rundown of the day's ascents:

     

    Km 70.0 - Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne - 2.8km at 6.2%
    Km 123.0 - Côte de Saint-Roch - 1km at 11.1%
    Km 167.0 - Côte de Wanne - 2.8km at 7.2%
    Km 173.5 - Côte de Stockeu – 1km at 12.4%
    Km 179.0 - Côte de la Haute-Levée 3.6km at 5.6%
    Km 201.0 - Côte de la Vecquée - 3.1km at 6.4%
    Km 218.5 - Côte de La Redoute – 2km at 8.9%
    Km 231.5 - Côte des Forges 1.9km at 5.9%
    Km 243.5 - Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons - 1.5km at 9.3%
    Km 257.5 - Côte de Saint-Nicolas 1.2km at 8.6%

  16. 10:37:49 CEST

    There are a few changes to the course that we saw last year and the race is actually 1.4 kilometres longer. As you may have noticed in the list below the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons is back this year. It was missing from the route in 2013 due to road works. Since 2008, it has been the third to last climb but this year it will be the penultimate climb. This could prove crucial in deciding the victor today.

  17. 10:40:19 CEST

    Cyclingnews spoke to Stephen Cummings yesterday who will be riding in service of Philippe Gilbert today. Gilbert already has one victory under his belt this week at Amstel Gold, but only finished 10th at Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday. Here's what Cummings had to say to Cyclingnews:

    “It’s a cliché but you have to deliver your best and Phil could win, but a lot of it really comes down to the day and how everyone is. I hope he’s super again like Amstel Gold Race.

    “That new little last part of La Redoute with the descent and so on is really difficult. If you’re not in front it’ll kill your legs. Myself, I like Liege, I did quite a good finish with [Simon] Gerrans in Sky in 2010 [with Cummings taking 24th] so I can do this race pretty well, so we’ll see what happens.”

  18. 10:41:48 CEST

    Apparently it wasn't his previous injury that prevented Carlos Betancur from taking the start today. The Colombian has been suffering with a sore throat and a headache. While he managed to make the journey to the start in the team bus, he chose not to sign-on this morning.

  19. 10:42:47 CEST

    We have six riders off the front of the group now, with a gap of 2:30.

  20. 10:45:17 CEST

    The riders out front are Pirimin Lang (IAM Cycling), Michel Koch (Cannondale), Jacobus Venter (MTN-Whubeka), Matteo Bono (Lampre), Pieter Jakobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty Groupe Gobert)

  21. 10:47:38 CEST

    The peloton seem happy with the bunch that has gone up the road. The gap has now increased to 4:30.

  22. 10:51:51 CEST

    The breakaway are waiting for no man and they've extended their lead to 5:30. There's litte doubt that this will be the day's break. Their attack has also increased the average spead over the opening 30 mins to 45kph.

  23. 10:58:46 CEST

    As we mention earlier, today is the 100th running of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The first winner was an amateur called Léon Houa from Belgium.

    Things were a little back then compared to how they are today, here is an extract from an article we wrote earlier on this week.

    "Houa’s first win came after an early start to the race - at 5.40 in the morning - when he was one of 33 amateurs to set off towards Liège. As early as the first climb, the Cote de Aywaille, Houa was alone at the head of the field, completing the course in 10 hours 48 minutes and 32 seconds, averaging a little over 23 kph with a bike weighing 11.6kg."

    A book has been released comemorating his victory. You can read the whole thing here.

  24. 231km remaining from 263km

    10:59:57 CEST

    The gap continues to rise as the leaders ascend one of the unclassified climbs of the day. It now stands at 8 minutes.

  25. 11:03:38 CEST

    The riders have completed 32km so far and things seem to have settled down now. Remember to tweet us your predictions for today and we'll post a few of them on here.

  26. 11:07:06 CEST

    Dan Martin ready and waiting to defend his title at the start of today.

     

    Dan Martin ready to defend his title

  27. 11:08:44 CEST

    As we aproach the completion of the first hour of racing, the gap to the leaders has extended once again. It now stands at 11:20, after 36km of racing.

  28. 11:12:10 CEST

    First prediction of the day from @stendoig

    My #lbl prediction is Valverde, a rider getting stronger with every race.

    What do you think, can Alejandro Valverde do it today? Tweet us at @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS with your predictions for today.

  29. 11:15:01 CEST

    We mentioned that there are five former winners of the race in the peloton. There are also two winners of the under 23 event in the race today, who will be looking to get their teammate onto the top step of the podium. They are Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp).

  30. 11:17:48 CEST

    The gap has now gone up to 13:20, with the race being so long, the peloton are obviously comfortable with giving the escapees such a large advantage.

    We have another couple of predictions coming in:

    @hagehagechabin: Of course Martin,Valverde,and Gilbert are strong.But I hope young Kwiatkowski's power and the dramatic winning.

     

    @fredvanheerden: Valverde for the win today and I'm hoping for a close second by Martin. Purito in for third.

  31. 11:18:25 CEST

    The gap has now gone up to 13:20, with the race being so long, the peloton are obviously comfortable with giving the escapees such a large advantage.

    We have another couple of predictions coming in:

     

    @hagehagechabin: Of course Martin,Valverde,and Gilbert are strong.But I hope young Kwiatkowski's power and the dramatic winning.

     

    @fredvanheerden: Valverde for the win today and I'm hoping for a close second by Martin. Purito in for third.

  32. 11:23:04 CEST

    It looks like Alejandro Valverde is the hot choice for today. He rode to an impressive victory at Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday, after he dropped Dan Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski near the top of the Mur de Huy.

     

    Here is how things shaped up last Wednesday. Will we see a similar top 10 today?

     

    1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 4:36:45
    2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:00:03
    3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:04
    4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
    5 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:00:06
    6 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol
    7 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge 0:00:08
    8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
    9 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:11
    10 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:15

  33. 11:28:24 CEST

    We told you about Chris Froome's non-start today due to a chest infection. Here is the full story from Alasdair Fotheringham who is in Belgium for us this weekend.

  34. 215km remaining from 263km

    11:29:12 CEST

    The peloton has decided that 14:35 is enough for them and Stephen Cummings has been sent to the front to try and bring them back in a bit.

  35. 11:30:59 CEST

    Cummings work has had an immediate effect and the gap has been reduced by 15 seconds.

  36. 11:32:57 CEST

    We have a few more predictions coming through.

     

    @Enno_Insinuator: my prediction: Kwiatkowski will take it, Valverde 2nd, (Dan) Martin 3rd

     

    @joemcaloon: 1st Moreno 2nd Valverde 3rd D Martin

     

    Anyone think that Gilbert will be able to take his second victory here in Liege?

  37. 11:37:36 CEST

    One man who was very happy to make the start today was Michael Rogers. It's his first race since the Japan Cup last year, where he tested positive for clenbuterol. He was cleared by the UCI this week and Tinkoff-Saxo was quick to get him back to racing. Daniel Benson spoke to him for Cyclingnews, before he rolled out of Liege. You can read the full story here.

  38. 207km remaining from 263km

    11:42:00 CEST

    The six leaders have seen their gap reduced futher. However with a 14:50 advantage the needn't worry just yet.

  39. 11:45:39 CEST

    Astana had a great Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2012 where Maxim Iglinskiy won the race with Enrico Gasparotto coming home in third. This year they are riding in support of Vincenzo Nibali, who finished second on that day after he was passed by Iglinskiy. They are looking to take that top step again this year. Cyclingnews spoke to team manager Alexander Vinokourov, who is a two-time winner of the race, about his team's chances today.

     

    "Vincenzo is ready, that’s for sure. He’s not done many race days this season, but he’s trained hard and well. I rode alongside him in training and I’m confident about his chances. [2012 LBL winner Maxim] Iglinsky? Well he was the leader in Amstel and that was, as [Vino’s former ds in Telekom] Walter Godefroot would say, a ‘crap race for everybody except for the winner.” But I’m only saying that in the sense that it was very hard for anything really to happen, the race last Sunday was really shut down and blocked. In fact I’ve won Amstel and it is a good race.”

    “Anyway, Iglinskiy did a good race in Liege two years, if he can get in a break and maybe get away, why can’t he win?”

    “I don’t think the changes in the route make the race that much harder. It’s more that there seems to be more space this year between one climb and the next. That can be beneficial for breakaways like Iglinskiy.”

  40. 11:50:43 CEST

    Cummings is now being given some assistance on the front in the form of Movistar's Jose-Ivan Gutierrez. The gap is currently 14:50.

  41. 11:52:30 CEST

    Valverde seems to be the favourite of many for victory today. Cyclingnews spoke to him on the start line today. Here is what he had to say:

     

    “What counts here is being strong and having a good team. Gilbert is very strong, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to beat him. The route changes in the finale makes for a very hard race. Winning the 100th edition would be a huge honour for me.”

  42. 11:53:51 CEST

    The riders have completed 62km now and we are nearing the first climb of Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne, which is a 2.8km ascent that averages 6.2%.

  43. 11:58:50 CEST

    Philippe Gilbert was born in Verviers in the province of Liege and is certainly the crowd favourite at this race.  A whopping 10,000 Gilbert fans will line La Redoute where the Belgian's name has been sprayed all over it. If he wins today, the party will be big on La Redoute.

    Here is Gilbert at the start today

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) makes sure that he's early to the start

  44. 11:59:46 CEST

    The riders have now hit the first climb of the day and the gap to the leaders continues to fall. There will be a little bit of respite before the six leaders battle it out for the sprint prize at 100km.

  45. 12:02:54 CEST

    There wasn't just cycling royalty at the start today. King Philippe of Belgium (not Gilbert) was also present to mark the 100th race. He was introduced to Gilbert, Rui Costa, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Alejandro Valverde.

  46. 12:08:10 CEST

    Along with the 10 classified climbs today, their are a number of tough unclassified ones that the peloton must face. There is, of course, the final ascent into Ans, which has been crucial on many occassions.

     

    However, there is also the Cote de Sprimont, which comes straight after La Redoute. It's about a kilometer long with a segment in-between. It is home to Maxime Monfort who not racing today. While it's not too hard it tends to make people suffer because coming off the Redoute which is full of very technical backroads.

  47. 12:09:33 CEST

    Jakobs leads the escapees over the first climb. Their gap has ballooned out once again and is now at 15:50.

  48. 12:12:39 CEST

    We've been asking you for your predictions today. We've also put our hand into the fire with this, our top 10 riders to watch. Will one of these 10 men take victory today?

  49. 12:13:58 CEST

    Don't forget you can subscribe to our YouTube channel which is full of videos from the Ardennes and Cobbled Classics, pluse moch more. Just click here

  50. 12:17:51 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler is a bit of a wildcard today, in more ways than one. Not known for just sitting back in the bunch and waiting for the action to happen, will he try something today?

     

    Cyclingnews spoke to him just ahead of the start in Liege. “Tactics here are not worth anything if you don’t have the legs. The course changes itself won’t make it a more tactical race either, because we’ve all been to check out the route. I don’t know if this is the best Classic of them all, I’d say my top three are Flanders, Liege and Lombardy.”

  51. 12:20:13 CEST

    As ever your enquipment can be vital in whether you win or lose. Riders and teams are always looking for the best equipment. We paid a visit to Garmin-Sharp earlier this week and they showed off the bike that they hope Dan Martin will ride to victory on today. You can watch the video here.

  52. 179km remaining from 263km

    12:23:15 CEST

    We've just past the two hour mark and the riders are still zipping along at an average of 40kph. The escapees have a substantial margin of 15:40 on the peloton.

  53. 12:27:25 CEST

    Something the riders will have to look out for today is the level crossing at the foot of the Roche aux Faucons. There is yet to be an incident of riders being delayed by it - Belgium is generally pretty good at preventing it - but there is always a first time for everything. FDJ rider David Boucher was caught out during Fleche Wallonne, as he tried to get back to the leaders after suffering a puncture.

  54. 12:30:04 CEST

    As well as speaking to Dan Martin's mechanics. Cyclingnews also took a walk over to Orica-GreenEDGE who let us have a look at Simon Gerrans' Scott Foil, which he will be using today. Watch the video here and don't forget to subscribe

  55. 12:32:46 CEST

    The leaders are approaching that all important intermediate sprint. These six men have little chance of taking victory today, but the 5,000 euro on offer at the 100km mark will surely make today a success for whomever takes it. They've got just under 7km to that point.

  56. 12:33:52 CEST

    We now have a number of teams on the front of the peloton, all trying to do their bit for the leaders. BMC, Lotto-Belisol, Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Movistar are all doing their bit.

  57. 12:39:28 CEST

    Some of you may remember Matej Mohoric (Cannondale) from the U23 World Championship Road Race last season and his unique riding style while on the descent. He is making his debut at Liege-Bastogne-Liege today. At 19, the Slovenian is not just the youngest rider in the peloton today, but the youngest in the WorldTour. Cyclingnews spoke to the the confident young rider this week, see what he had to say here

  58. 12:48:00 CEST

    Of the 99 previous edtitions of this race, 59 have been won by a Belgian. However, the home nation have struggled to keep that up over the past few years. In fact, in the last 20 years only two Belgians have actually won Liege-Bastogne-Liege. They are Philippe Gilbert (2011) and Frank Vandenbroucke (1999).

     

    This year, Belgiums two best hopes are Gilbert once again and Jelle Vanendert for Lotto-Belisol.

  59. 12:49:18 CEST

    The riders are on the outskirts of Bastogne and that sprint is looming too.

  60. 101km remaining from 263km

    12:52:43 CEST

    Michel Koch of Cannondale will take home the 5,000 euro prize money after winning the sprint. Their gap is now down to 15:30 as the peloton resume their chase.

  61. 12:57:24 CEST

    BMC are one of the main contenders for victory today, with Philippe Gilbert. Despite living so close to the route Gilbert has only won here once. Cyclingnews spoke to the Belgian, who is feeling confident.

     

    Philippe Gilbert: “It’s a very open race today, you can’t say where the favourites will attack. But the most important thing is I feel fine.”

     

    Cyclingnews also spoke to his teammate Samuel Sanchez, who played a biy role in Gilbert's Amstel Gold victory. The Spaniard doesn't think that they'll have to employ the same tactics today.

     

    Samuel Sanchez : “We hope the team is going to be in good shape and we can fight for the victory in the finale. There are a lot of riders in good condition here, but I’m sure that Phil will be able to go for the victory. It’s a very different race to Amstel though, in Amstel there were 50 riders at the foot the Cauberg and we had to break it apart. Here climbs like the Roche aux Faucons split the race apart by themselves.”


     

  62. 162km remaining from 263km

    12:58:20 CEST

    Michel Koch of Cannondale will take home the 5,000 euro prize money after winning the sprint. Their gap is now down to 15:30 as the peloton resume their chase.

  63. 155km remaining from 263km

    13:01:21 CEST

    Defending champion Dan Martin has always loved the Ardennes races. In this exclusive piece for Cyclingnews, the Garmin-Sharp rider tells us why he loves the race so much

  64. 13:03:38 CEST

    We're nearing the completiong of the third hour of racing and the peloton have sprung back into live. The advantage is being cut down and now stands at 15:05, with 15km until the second climb of the day.

  65. 13:05:20 CEST

    Plenty of teams up front working for their leaders. There are a number of contenders for victory today, who do you think will win? You can tweet us on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS with your predictions and we will post some of them up here.

  66. 13:11:07 CEST

    The second climb of the day is the Côte de Saint-Roch it's a short 1km climb, but with an average of 11.1% it's a pretty punchy one. It shouldn't trouble any of our favourites. We then have a little lull as the peloton descend towards Neuville before the real action begins today.

  67. 147km remaining from 263km

    13:13:40 CEST

    The gap to the escapees continues to fall like a cheap deck of cards. It's still a huge 14:29 but that's going to disappear pretty quickly once we hit the climbs in the second half of the race.

  68. 13:15:35 CEST

    So we have a fairly out there prediction from @RoadBikePirate

    "predictions to win: Alex Kolobnev or Tony Martin at big prices have some chances."

     

    Is he right? Who are your picks for today?

  69. 13:17:52 CEST

    Some music to the riders' ears is that they are now in a tailwind. This seems to have increased the speed of the peloton who are now only 14:08 behind the six leaders.

  70. 13:20:53 CEST

    The peloton are through the feed zone. After 121km we are now quite halfway through the race. The leaders are just approaching the second climb of the day.

  71. 13:25:12 CEST

    NetApp-Endura rider Erik Rowsell has decided to call it quits today. He's climbed off his bike in the feedzone.

  72. 137km remaining from 263km

    13:27:53 CEST

    Jakobs is the first to the top of the second climb. The six escapees now have an advantage of 13:25 on the chasing peloton.

  73. 13:29:28 CEST

    As we reported earlier, Chris Froome did not start the race. Sky have had a lot of illness over the last couple of months, including Froome's roommate Richie Porte. He dropped out of Tirreno-Adriatico last month and then the Volta a Catalunya. The disruptions mean he's also skipping the Giro d'Italia in May.

    Cyclingnews caught up with him this morning to see how he and his teammate were. "I’m not too bad. Chris has a cough but he’ll be alright for Romandie," Porte told Cyclingnews. "Today I’m racing. It’s been about a month since my last race so we’ll see what happens but the weather is good, it’s a beautiful race and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things."

  74. 134km remaining from 263km

    13:31:56 CEST

    • Puncture

    Puncture for Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). He's back on his way though.

  75. 13:34:31 CEST

    Keep your predictions coming in to @Cyclingnewsfeed and @SadhbhOS. We've got another one here from @GazJones72

     

    "My main 2 picks would be Purito or Kreuziger, and for a big outsider maybe Porte at 150to1!"

     

    You could certainly have a good night out on that if Porte was to win.

  76. 13:37:07 CEST

    Speaking of Roman Kreuziger, we spoke to his directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit yesterday about where the crucial points will be today.

     

    "“There could be three or four places where it will be crucial for the riders to be really attentive, but to say which ones they will be is impossible. During the race we’ll get an idea of what’s going to happen, but even at the start it’s hard to say,” he told Cyclingnews.

     

    "The rain could have a really important effect on tomorrow’s race. The day before yesterday I was driving and it was 23 degrees and warm and suddenly with the rain, it dropped to 12 degrees, just like that. That’s not really cold but if you’ve been doing sport all day and it’s been 23 degrees and suddenly it’s ten degrees lower, that can really change the riders comparative strengths, even amongst the favourites.”
     

  77. 13:40:41 CEST

    Garmin-Sharp are now doing the grunt work on the front. The teams seem happy to share it around today. Thomas Dekker has managed to cut the escapee's lead down to 12:55.

  78. 13:43:32 CEST

    To give you an idea of the actual distance on the road between the leaders and the peloton. The bunch have only just hit the top of the second climb, whereas the escapees are around 7km up the road.

  79. 13:45:27 CEST

    The average speed is also nudging back up, as the gap closes. Over the first 3.5 hours it is currently 39.5kph

  80. 13:50:18 CEST

    Dan Martin wears number one on his back today after beating Joaquim Rodríguez in last year's race. He's had a bumpy road to Liege this year, after he abandoned Amstel Gold last Sunday. However, he bounced back with second at Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday. Cyclingnews caught up with him this morning to see how he felt ahead of his title defence.

     

    "Dan Martin: Wednesday was a big confidence boost. For sure Amstel I did feel great but the form is good and we’ll see for today. It’s certainly the big objective. Last year is in the past and this is a new day. Last year winning here was a good memory and it will stay with me for the rest of my life but today I’ll just do my best."

  81. 13:52:51 CEST

    You can check out what Dan Martin is riding today in this exclusive video for Cyclingnews and you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here too.

  82. 118km remaining from 263km

    13:58:31 CEST

    The work in the peloton is paying off right now and for the first time we see the advantage fall to 11:54.

  83. 14:00:09 CEST

    An outside bet for today?

    @Stravaaddict "I thought Mathias Frank rode a belter at #flechewallonne so he'll be carrying a few quid of mine"

    Send us your predictions for today and we'll try to post them before the action picks up.

  84. 14:03:25 CEST

    The leaders are on the descent towards the third climb of the day the Côte de Wanne, from there the remaining ascents come thick and fast and we'll see some more riders try their chances with a long-range move.

  85. 14:05:35 CEST

    The Wanne is followed by the Stockeu and Haute-Levee triptych. They come between kilometres 167 and 179, and will begin the selection before we hit the mure crucial climbs such as La Redoute.

  86. 14:11:32 CEST

    More predictions from you. @mwood1712 "Tom Jelte-Slagter impressed me greatly during Paris-Nice. He's my outsider at 40-1 today."

     

    We've made our own predictions in this video, top 10 riders to watch for Liege-Bastogne-Liege

  87. 99km remaining from 263km

    14:18:27 CEST

    The peloton has turned things up a notch and is really cutting down the advantage of the leaders. It now stands at 10:16 after once hitting almost 16 minutes.

  88. 14:22:23 CEST

    Andy Schleck is back with the cars fighting his way back to the peloton. He doesn't look like he's in trouble, perhaps a wheel change for the Trek rider. Earlier this week Schleck said he's not ready to give up on cycling yet.

  89. 14:24:47 CEST

    • Crash

    Crash in the peloton and Jan Bakelants is down at the side of the road. Romain Kreuziger and Louis Meintjes hit the deck too. Their all on the bike pretty quickly and nobody looks too hurt.

  90. 14:25:48 CEST

    Reports coming through that two photographers' bikes have collided. The Ambulance could be seen at the back of the peloton. Let's hope everyone involved is ok.

  91. 14:27:01 CEST

    Minnaard looks like he is the first of the excapees to bite the dust. He's been distanced on the Cote de Wanne.

  92. 14:28:44 CEST

    Ryder Hesjedal played a big part in Dan Martin's victory last season. He went on a long range attack, setting his teammate up for the final move. Cyclingnews asked him about his team's chances today.

     

    "Hesjedal: I’m feeling really good. I wasn’t great in Fleche but I’ve had a good few days and I’m hopeful for today. We have a lot of strong guys here and Dan has showed he’s up to the task. Tom is taking a break after today so he’ll want to leave it all out on the road too. We have options and don’t have to wait until the final."

  93. 14:31:14 CEST

    The speed on the Cote de Wanne is hurting a number of riders. Daniel Moreno and Samuel Sanchez looked to be fairly far back. Position is key in this race, so they will want to move up to the front quickly.

  94. 92km remaining from 263km

    14:32:51 CEST

    The escapees' time out front is well and truly numbered. It's been demolished over that last climb and it now at 7:54. Movistar, BMC and Omega Pharma-QuickStep are all on the front.

  95. 14:34:52 CEST

    Richie Porte, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Romain Bardet were among the riders that were forced to chase on during the final climb, possibly caught out by that Bakelants crash.

  96. 14:35:50 CEST

    The peloton are now on the Cote de Stockeu as the escapees begin the Côte de la Haute-Levée.

  97. 14:37:28 CEST

    The Stockeu is only 1km, but it averages 12.4% so it can certainly do some damage. The peloton will be significantly reduced on the descent here.

  98. 14:39:06 CEST

    Tony Maretin has gone off the front with Michal Kwaitkowski hanging onto his wheel. Is this an intentional attack?

  99. 14:39:38 CEST

    Kwiatkowski is one of the favourites for this race, so an attack at this point would be an odd move.

  100. 14:40:50 CEST

    Jakobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) has pulled out a small advantage on his fellow escapees at the top of the Stockeu.

  101. 14:42:59 CEST

    Kwiatkowski and Martin are back in the bunch now.

  102. 14:43:40 CEST

    Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) has climbed off. The last two years have been tough for him. His contract runs out at the end of the year, will he still be with Trek next season?

  103. 86km remaining from 263km

    14:45:22 CEST

    Riders being shelled out the back as the peloton heads up the Stockeu. The gap to the leaders is now 6:56.

  104. 14:46:29 CEST

    The leaders are on the Côte de la Haute-Levée now. At 3.6km it is the longest ascent of the day.

  105. 14:50:21 CEST

    If you missed the news earlier on today. Chris Froome didn't take the start today, due to a chest infection. He will take a few day's rest before taking on the Tour de Romandie. Sky's Peter Kennaugh also pulled out of the race earlier on this week. Here's the full story on Froome's non-participation

  106. 14:54:20 CEST

    Joaquim Rodríguez looks to be in a lot of trouble at the moment. He's shaking his head and sitting at the back of the group. He's still suffering from his Amstel Gold crash. His teammate Daniel Moreno is looking to do something today.

  107. 14:55:23 CEST

    As the peloton rider up the Côte de la Haute-Levée there is a small attack off the front, started by Jeremy Roy. It si brought back in and Europcar are now sitting on the front of the peloton.

  108. 14:56:12 CEST

    Pierre Rolland attacks and the peloton is now strung out all over the road. He's not allowed to get away.

  109. 14:56:47 CEST

    A mechanical problem for Jan Bakelants. He's not having a good day, after already crashing earlier on.

  110. 79km remaining from 263km

    14:57:29 CEST

    Minnaard is caught by the peloton, after being dropped by the breakaway earlier on.

  111. 14:58:25 CEST

    Navardauskas now putting on the pressure at the front. He immediately manages to make a gap and there are a lot of riders scrabbling to get onto his wheel. Nobody is working with him and he's shouting at the riders behind him.

  112. 15:00:13 CEST

    Trouble for Jurgen Van den Boreck, he's off the back of the peloton at the moment. The Belgian has been suffering from knee problems after crashing at Tirreno-Adriatico. He says that he's hoping to gain some morale from this race. However, he could be out of it if he can't catch back on soon.

  113. 15:00:54 CEST

    Rui Costa crashes

  114. 15:02:21 CEST

    Four riders down on the deck Costa, David Lopez (Sky), Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Torres Agudelo (Colombia) all go down. None of them bouncing back up too quickly.

  115. 15:03:25 CEST

    Another big crash. One of the AG2R-La Mondiale riders takes a hig-speed tumble all by himself while riding through the cars. He manages to avoid hitting anything else, but it looks like a pretty hefty fall nonetheless.

  116. 15:04:39 CEST

    Rui Costa has abandoned after that crash. 

  117. 15:05:52 CEST

    Costa has been out of luck this week. He punctured at Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday, which prevented him from getting a good result. He's still on the hunt for his first victory this season.

  118. 15:06:34 CEST

    Reports coming through that Rodríguez has pulled out too. We saw him in trouble earlier on, the pain in his chest was obviously troubling him more than he thought it would.

  119. 15:07:02 CEST

    There have been reports the Porte had abandoned, but we can confirm that he is still in the race.

  120. 15:08:26 CEST

    Porte may be still in the race, but he is struggling at the back of the bunch. Are his days numbered?

  121. 69km remaining from 263km

    15:09:29 CEST

    Things seem to have calmed down quite a bit at the front of the group. BMC and Tiknoff-Saxo have taken control and the gap has dropped down to 4:55

  122. 15:10:51 CEST

    Sébastien Minard was the AG2R-La Mondiale rider who went tumbling down the side of the road. He's lost quite a bit of skin, but nothing has been broken.

  123. 15:12:16 CEST

    Richie Porte is in rich company at the back of the peloton. Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) are around him too. Mollema has been on good form this week, but is he in trouble too?

  124. 15:13:28 CEST

    Lampre-Merida say that Costa fell on his shoulder and also hurt his leg, but he has no serious injuries as a result of that crash.

  125. 15:15:15 CEST

    Away from today's racing, the city of Liege is bidding to host a stage finish of next year's Tour de France. You can read the full story here.

  126. 15:20:08 CEST

    65km remaining today and the gap to the escapees has levelled out at 4:40. The peloton seems to have slowed down a touch. We still have time for your predictions if you want to tweet us at @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS and we will post them here.

  127. 15:24:10 CEST

    BMC are one of the main contenders today with Philippe Gilbert. Gilbert has a long-standing relationship with the race, as he was born just down the road. He's not the only one in the team that loves these race. We spoke to BMC sports directeurs Allan Peiper and Valerio Piva about why the Ardennes races are so special. You can watch the video here and you can subscribe to the YouTube channel here

  128. 202km remaining from 263km

    15:28:14 CEST

    The leaders are climbing the Côte de la Vecquée. Michel Kock, who won the 5,000 euro sport earlier, is hanging on the back of the group. The peloton is still gaining ground on them and the gap now stands at 3:31.

  129. 15:31:55 CEST

    Tinkoff-Saxo are now managing things on the front, as the advantage falls to 3:04. Their leader is Romain Kreuziger. He failed to defend his Amstel Gold title last Sunday, but he's still a strong contender today. Will he try a long-range attack here?

  130. 15:34:17 CEST

    Michael Rogers is one of the Tinkoff-Saxo riders near the front of the bunch. This is his first race since he was suspended by his team after testing positive for clenbuterol. He was called up after being cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this week. You can read the full story here. Rogers says that he's been training like normal, despite the suspension and was more than ready to come back today.

  131. 15:37:10 CEST

    For those of you interested in Mountain Biking, we have results and pictures from the Cross Country World Cup in Australia, here.

  132. 15:39:06 CEST

    Time is ticking away for the escapees, who now only hold a 2:40 advantage on the peloton. The main bunch are on the Col de la Vecquée at the moment.

  133. 15:46:25 CEST

    Before things kick-off in a few kilometres, here's a quick recap of the potential contenders for the podium today.

     

    Dan Martin and Tom Jelte-Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Bauke Mollema (Belkin), Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Philippe GIlbert (BMC), Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

     

    You can watch this video for our top 10 riders to watch, here

  134. 15:47:22 CEST

    Tony Martin driving the pace once again and making gaps. Martin is working for Kwiatkowski, who must be delighted to have a man with so much power in his team.

  135. 15:48:47 CEST

    The riders are on La Redoute, Philippe Gilbert's hill. 10,000 of his fans are lining the road today and just in case you weren't sure where you were, his name has been painted the whole way up the climb. That's got to be a big boost for the Belgian every time he rides up it.

  136. 15:49:38 CEST

    Michel Koch has been hanging on the back of the escape group for a little while now and he has finally cracked as the gradient really ramps up on La Redoute and drops back.

  137. 44km remaining from 263km

    15:50:41 CEST

    Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida) is the one remaining escapee out front as the others have gone off the back. He's cheered on by the huge crowds on the climb.

  138. 15:51:02 CEST

    Warren Barguil goes on the attack near the top of La Redoute.

  139. 15:52:15 CEST

    Barguil is only young, but he is a very good climber. The Frenchman won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last season, out sprinting Rigoberto Uran to win one of them. It's a long shot to win from here, but he's not likely to win from a bigger group at the finish.

  140. 15:53:25 CEST

    Barguil's attack has lit things up and some riders are now chasing him down. Julian Arredondo (Trek) has caught up with him as has one of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders.

  141. 15:54:12 CEST

    Venter has managed to catch back up with Bono in the break. They pair have 1:20 on the peloton with 42.km to go.

  142. 15:55:22 CEST

    Koch is caught by the peloton. Barguil and his escape companions are caught.

  143. 15:56:29 CEST

    Bakelants decides to have another go off the front. Are Omega Pharma-QuickStep adopting the Garmin tactic from last year?

  144. 15:57:13 CEST

    Bakelants is a former winner of the under 23 event at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, so he knows these roads.

  145. 15:59:29 CEST

    Lang and Jakobs are now together behind the leaders, they still have 41 seconds over the peloton. Bakelants is back in the peloton now, his attack was quickly closed down.

  146. 37km remaining from 263km

    16:01:34 CEST

    After a few attacks from the peloton, BMC have sent a man to the front to control things. They don't want to let any dangermen go too soon. The result is that the leaders now only have 1:09 on the peloton.

  147. 16:03:34 CEST

    There seems to be a ceasefire for now, as the peloton make their way to the next climb of the Côte des Forges. We're approching crunch time where things will really light up.

  148. 16:05:55 CEST

    The group of Lang and Jokobs is about to be swallowed back up by the peloton, leaving Bono and Venter the only two men out front.

  149. 32km remaining from 263km

    16:09:16 CEST

    Three more classified climbs remain today as the peloton hit the Côte des Forges. Bono is now going solo on the front once again, as Venter is dropped.

  150. 16:10:40 CEST

    The Côte des Forges is doing it's job and spitting riders out the back, as Garmin go on the attack

  151. 16:12:10 CEST

    Nobody wants to go with him though and he decides to try is along. Venter is quickly caught and slips into his wheel.

  152. 16:12:54 CEST

    More trouble for Jan Bakelants, he can't catch a break right now. He has to go for a bike change and is now chasing back onto the bunch.

  153. 16:13:36 CEST

    The Garmin rider is Alex Howes. Venter can't stay with him, so he's back in the peloton, as Howes plugs along by himself.

  154. 29km remaining from 263km

    16:14:55 CEST

    Howes is elbows down on the handlebars and giving it some, but he's only 9 seconds ahead of the peloton. Bono still has a 40 second advantage out front.

  155. 16:17:44 CEST

    Howes has been joined by Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty) and Denis Vanendert (Lott-Belisol)

  156. 16:18:26 CEST

    Denis is the younger brother of Jelle Vanendert, who is a candiate for the podium today, after taking second at Amstel Gold a week ago.

  157. 16:20:13 CEST

    More riders joining that chasing group, but the peloton are riding hard and the move is closed down. Bono still has 28 seconds on the peloton. He's still got two climbs to go.

  158. 16:21:21 CEST

    AG2R on the front now. With Betancur out before the race even started they will be working for Romain Bardet. Bardet was the top Frenchman at the Tour de France last year and is one of the exciting young French riders coming through at the moment.

  159. 16:22:34 CEST

    Next on the menu for the riders is the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons. It was removed from last year's race due to road works, but we've got it back and we could see a lot of attacks coming on the climb.

  160. 21km remaining from 263km

    16:23:46 CEST

    Bono can almost feel the peloton looming down on him. He's only got 6 seconds advantage and is unlikely to keep that to the top of the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons.

  161. 16:24:44 CEST

    Three AG2R riders on the front, the third of which is Bardet. Thomas Voeckler is hanging around near the front, he must be planning something soon.

  162. 16:25:44 CEST

    Arredondo attacks

  163. 16:26:14 CEST

    Pozzovivo follows Arredondo with Gilbert, Bardet and Valverde.

  164. 16:27:15 CEST

    The Arredondo attack has split things up a little and there is a group of around 20 riders now on the front, but Arredondo hasn't quite given up yet and he digs again.

  165. 16:28:04 CEST

    It is Pozzovivo and Arredondo with a small advantage over the group of favourites with Samuel Sanchez goes off after them.

  166. 16:28:41 CEST

    Sanchez set up Gilbert for his Amstel Gold victory when he drew out the other contenders with his own attack on the Cauberg.

  167. 16:31:06 CEST

    Sanchez has been caught by a chase group

  168. 16km remaining from 263km

    16:31:58 CEST

    As Sanchez is caught, Romain Kreuziger is now on the attack and he is joined by Vincenzo Nibali

  169. 16:32:27 CEST

    Daniel Moreno is with Kreuziger and Nibali, as the other favourites try to bridge across.

  170. 15km remaining from 263km

    16:34:02 CEST

    We now have a big group of favourites that includes Gilbert, Nibali, Kreuziger and Moreno

  171. 16:35:20 CEST

    Kreuziger has another dig off the front, he is determined to shed some of the faster sprinters. We'll try to give you a full run-down of the riders in the group when we can.

  172. 12km remaining from 263km

    16:37:39 CEST

    The chasing group have been joined by another chasing group, swelling it's ranks and bringing with it Alexander Kolobnev who finished second here before.

  173. 11km remaining from 263km

    16:38:36 CEST

    Arredondo and Pozzovivo been caught by the peloton. It's gruppo compatto for now, but for how long?

  174. 16:39:26 CEST

    There is only one more classified climb today the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, before the unclassified ascent into Ans.

  175. 16:39:51 CEST

    The Saint Nicolas is known as the Italian climb because so many Italians living there.

  176. 9km remaining from 263km

    16:40:35 CEST

    Alejandro Valverde is keeping a watchful eye near the front, he's not going to let anything slip by him. GreenEDGE are leading the way at the moment.

  177. 16:41:46 CEST

    Lars Petter Norhaug looking over his shoulder, it looks like his teammate Bauke Mollema may have made it into this front group. Frank Schleck is also hanging onto the back of this front group.

  178. 7.2km remaining from 263km

    16:42:46 CEST

    GreenEDGE move off the front and Izagirre takes up the work. He's really stringing this group out and making an attack very difficult.

  179. 16:43:31 CEST

    Vincenzo Nibali looks to be paying for his efforts, he's at the back of this lead group as they get onto the Côte de Saint-Nicolas

  180. 16:44:23 CEST

    Stefan Denifl (IAM) has a little go off the front

  181. 16:44:57 CEST

    Sanchez leads the main group, followed closely by GreenEDGE and Astana

  182. 5.5km remaining from 263km

    16:46:31 CEST

    Giampaolo Caruso goes ont he attack, followed by Demonico Pozzovivo

  183. 16:47:24 CEST

    Pozzovivo has been very active in this finish. He's not got a very good sprint, so will want the group to be as small as possible if hopes to take victory.

  184. 4km remaining from 263km

    16:48:42 CEST

    Behind the leaders, the favourties are sizing each other up. Gautier from Europcar goes on the attack and is followed by Nordhaud and Vanendert.

  185. 16:49:36 CEST

    The main group are wise to their tactics and look to be chasing them down pretty quickly

  186. 3.6km remaining from 263km

    16:50:12 CEST

    Defending champion Dan Martin is sitting on the back of the main group at the moment. The two leaders have 12 seconds on them.

  187. 16:50:25 CEST

    Vincenzo Nibali attacks

  188. 2.1km remaining from 263km

    16:51:08 CEST

    Nibali can't shake the group, but Nordhaug flies off the front

  189. 16:51:32 CEST

    Nordhaus is wearing an aero helmet, perhaps expecting a sprint finish...

  190. 1.6km remaining from 263km

    16:52:38 CEST

    Caruso and Pozzovivo are on the final ascent and hold an advantage of 8 seconds

  191. 16:53:09 CEST

    Weening is sitting on the front for Orica-GreenEDGE, he's working for Smon Gerrans

  192. 16:53:32 CEST

    Dan Martin is on the attack

  193. 16:53:54 CEST

    Martin has a small gap on the main group, but he is being caught.

  194. 16:54:20 CEST

    Pozzovivo and Caruso are about to be caught by Martin and Caruso attacks

  195. 16:54:37 CEST

    Valverde chasing down Martin and Caruso

  196. 16:54:44 CEST

    Martin crashes

  197. 16:54:52 CEST

    Garrans wins

  198. 16:55:25 CEST

    Garrans managed to hold off Valverde in that final sprint to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege

  199. 16:56:21 CEST

    Dan Martin is back up on his bike and pedalling to the finish. He crashed on that final corner.

  200. 16:57:14 CEST

    The top 3 for today

     

    1: Gerrans

    2: Valverde

    3: Kwiatkowski

  201. 16:57:58 CEST

    That's it for today, thank you for joining us for our live coverage of Liege-Bastogne-Liege