Day-long breakaway leads to Liege-Bastogne-Liege U23 win for Owen

American counters final attack and solos across the line ahead of Russian Pavel Sikavov

Logan Owen was the final survivor from an almost day-long breakaway as he seized the victory Saturday at Liege-Bastogne-Liege Espoirs. Teammate Ruben Guerreiro added to Axeon Hagens Berman’s day with a third-place finish.

Owen, 22, took his first UCI pro win last year at the Tour of Utah, but he said the prestigious U23 race ranked alongside his 2015 result.

"This is a dream come true," Owen said in a statement released by the team. "I have always loved this race and now I have managed to win it. I had super legs today. I don't think I have felt this good in a race since I started cycling."

Owen made the original breakaway of 12 riders and was the only one who could counter an attack by Pavel Sivakov (BMC Development Team) on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, the penultimate climb of the 178.6-km race.

"We had decided to try to get strong riders in the breakaway because with the rainy weather, the breakaway had a real chance to go to the finish - and that is exactly what happened," Owen said. "On the climb, I let Sivakov get a little gap on me and three other guys. Then I attacked those three and went straight by him."

Logan continued to open his gap as he soloed the final 20km to the finish.

"It felt a bit funny to be time trialing to the finish because I am more of a rouleur," he said.

While Owen was up the road trying to hold off the chase and Sivakov was struggling in no-man’s land, Guerreiro waited with the remaining breakaway riders and sized up the final sprint, which he won from a nine-rider group.

"It was great to put two riders on the podium," Guerreiro said. "Once Logan attacked after the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, I just settled in behind the chase and got ready for the sprint, which went perfectly. I came here to help the team - or try to win - and we succeeded. I am delighted."

Owen’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege win was Axeon Hagens Berman's third victory in Europe in the past three weeks and its fourth of the season overall. It adds to a pair of victories in Europe by Guerreiro at G.P. Palio del Recioto on March 29 and by Tao Geoghegan Hart at Trofeo Piva on April 3, as well as Neilson Powless' win in the Stage 3 individual time trial last week at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

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