By Brecht Decaluwé in Liège
The course of the 2008 Liège-Bastogne-Liège has been changed slightly to include a new climb called the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons which comes deep into the finale at 241.5 kilometres covered. The new climb replaces the Côte de Sart-Tilman that has featured as the penultimate climb in previous editions as race organisers ASO decided that a harder climb would make the finale a better spectacle. The Roche-aux-Faucons is 1.5 kilometres long, averages 9.9 percent gradient and has steepest sections of between 16 and 18 percent.
British champion David Millar described the new climb as decisive. "It's going to destroy the race," said Millar. "It is f***ing hard. It's a second [Côte de] la Redoute. Obviously all depends on how the race develops but legs are going to fall off from there. It makes Saint-Nicolas just a slog.
"Nobody's going to attack on the Saint-Nicolas. There will be three or four guys ahead. It will be a good race to watch," Millar predicted. "Nobody's going to have wings tomorrow. There's nobody going on the big ring on to that last drag up to the finish – those days are gone."
Flèche Wallonne winner Kim Kirchen wasn't sure how the new climb would affect the finale, but was in favour of it nevertheless. "It will be different for everybody as nobody knows what this new climb will do with the legs in the finale," said Kirchen. "Having this new climb is a good thing. For the young guys it doesn't matter but some riders have already raced it ten times and it starts to get boring. I didn't like the long distance between the university and the last climb [in previous editions]."