Fuglsang wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Bora-Hansgrohe's Formolo second and Schachmann third

Jakob Fuglsang (Team Astana) took the biggest win of his career at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, soloing to victory from the top of the Côte de Roche-aux-Faucons. Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe), one of the men he left behind, took second, while Formolo's teammate Max Schachmann sprinted to third from an elite chase group.

The win caps a wonderful spring for Fuglsang and his Astana team. It's his third win of the season and Astana's 23rd, but the Dane has so often been a nearly man in the classics with three podium places so far. Victory at the final classic of the spring is just reward for his efforts.

In a race which fizzled at times but never really detonated, the main action once again came on the day's final climb – despite the route revamp. Michael Woods (EF Education First) kicked off the action on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons after an earlier attack group had been caught.

Fuglsang was first to react, while the big favourite – and his spring nemesis – Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) faltered. Formolo went too, forming a lead trio over the top. The Dane kept pushing on though, eventually breaking his companions on the shallower rise at the summit.

From there it was all Fuglsang, with Formolo and Woods' solo efforts making no gains, and an elite chase group including Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) failing to make headway either.

Barring a near-disastrous rear wheel slide on the final descent – "a scary moment, but a bit of adrenaline for the last part" he said later – it was plain sailing to the finish for Fuglsang.

"It's an amazing feeling," he said after the finish. "I'm glad my wife was right [about me being able to win here], and I will always listen to her from now on.

"On the last climb, I had the team leaving me in the perfect position," he added. "Before the climb, they were a little bit everywhere most of the day but in the important moment they were there and they did an amazing job.

"Gorka [Izagirre] led me into Roche-aux-Faucons in a perfect way and when Woods launched his attack it was a perfect way for me to jump with him. I knew it from Friday when we saw the parcours that I could not wait, so I said 'on the first part of the Roche-aux-Faucons I have to do a selection if I cannot go alone.'

"I tried and I looked back and saw [Woods] was gone. Formolo also let me get 2-3 metres and then I knew that now I had to leave everything out, now I have to die before the top and try to keep going."

How it happened

It was a damp and chilly morning in Liège as the peloton rolled out to begin the 105th edition of the oldest Monument on the calendar. Perhaps due to the poor conditions, it didn't take very long for the break to establish themselves, with little fight from the peloton in the early stages.

Four riders – Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ), Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert) and Jérémy Maison (Arkéa-Samsic) – got away almost immediately, while Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Énergie), Kevin Deltombe (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and the Wallonie-Bruxelles duo of Kenny Molly and Mathijs Paasschens would soon link up to make it eight up front.

The opening stages – still wet and cold – were a quiet affair, with Deceuninck-Quick Step and Lotto-Soudal among the teams setting the pace at the head of the peloton. The break’s advantage reaches 10:30 at one point, but was just over six minutes as the eight men reached the southernmost point of the route in Bastogne.

Deceuninck-Quick Step upped the pace with around 110km to race, so much so that the peloton split. The resulting chaos left behind a reduced peloton of around 80 riders, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) the major victim, abandoning 105km from the finish. Another former winner, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) had abandoned earlier on.

Gorka Izagirre (Astana) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) were among the riders caught out, later attacking across the gap to try and save their races. Up front, Bernard left the break behind on the Côte de Mont-le-Soie, going solo 95km from the line.

He would last out front until shortly after the Côte de Haute-Levée, when attacks from the peloton saw his gap evaporate. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) was among the most active men as a large group broke away from the peloton. There were some elite names in the move, including Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step), but the two groups soon came back together on the Col du Rosier.

On that same climb, with 64km to race, Tanel Kangert (EF Education First) and Omar Fraile (Astana) countered, kicking off yet more attacks from the peloton. The Movistar duo of Carlos Verona and Winner Anacona were there, as were Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale), David De La Cruz (Team Sky), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida), Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott) and Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal).

The group worked well together, gaining 40 seconds on the peloton by the foot of La Redoute with 39km to race. There, it was Kangert who pushed on, but the climb passed with no attacks from the peloton.

On the way to the final climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, three riders made their way across to Kangert. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) made it a four-man group on the final climb of the day, but despite Wellens’ attack, they were all brought back by the Astana-led peloton.

Jakob Fuglsang, so often the bridesmaid this spring, followed an attack by Michael Woods (EF Education First), while Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) made it across to make it a lead trio.

Fuglsang was solo once again on the drag over the top though, shedding the duo and going for glory. Further back, a group including Nibali, Yates, Mikel Landa (Movistar), Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) got away from the peloton.

But Fuglsang was only gaining time on those behind. After podium places at Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne, the Dane wouldn’t be denied his big classic win here.

The Nibali group was working together, but Fuglsang wasn’t ceding any time – not to them, nor to Formolo. There was a hairy moment on the final descent when Fuglsang lost his rear wheel on some damp road markings, but he handled it masterfully, keeping it upright, and keeping his then-inevitable victory on track.

There were no such problems in the flat final 4km though, and he retained his advantage to the finish to seal the biggest win of his career.

 

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team6:37:37 
2Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe0:00:27 
3Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe0:00:57 
4Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton - Scott  
5Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First  
6David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama - FDJ  
7Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Movistar Team  
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain - Merida0:01:00 
9Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain - Merida0:01:05 
10Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky0:01:26 
11Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:29 
12Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky  
13Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora - Hansgrohe  
14Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora - Hansgrohe  
15Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team  
16Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
17Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo - Visma  
18Tadej Pogačar (Slo) Uae Team Emirates  
19Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team  
20Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Education First  
21Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
22Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin  
23Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton - Scott0:02:09 
24Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
25Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama - FDJ  
26Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek - Segafredo  
27Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
28Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
29Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates0:02:12 
30Jan Bakelants (Bel) Team Sunweb0:02:13 
31Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama - FDJ0:02:15 
32Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First0:02:17 
33Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:02:26 
34Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek - Segafredo0:02:28 
35Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb0:03:03 
36Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain - Merida0:03:15 
37Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team0:03:34 
38Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team Katusha Alpecin  
39Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
40Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First  
41Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team0:03:37 
42Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles0:04:11 
43Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Team Dimension Data  
44Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team  
45Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
46G Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First  
47Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:06:05 
48Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels0:06:53 
49Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky0:06:56 
50Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb  
51Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb  
52Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team  
53Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe0:08:22 
54Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:09:20 
55Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
56Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
57Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain - Merida  
58Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
59Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
60Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott  
61Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek - Segafredo  
62Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:09:48 
63Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb  
64Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
65Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin0:10:36 
66Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R La Mondiale  
67David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team Sky0:11:32 
68Winner Andrew Anacona (Col) Movistar Team0:11:59 
69Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
70Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton - Scott  
71Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team  
72Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain - Merida  
73José Gonçalves (Por) Team Katusha Alpecin0:13:11 
74Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky  
75Edward Dunbar (Irl) Team Sky  
76Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
77Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Team  
78Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team Jumbo - Visma  
79Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Dimension Data  
80Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
81Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha Alpecin  
82Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
83Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo - Visma  
84Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Jumbo - Visma  
85Benjamin King (USA) Team Dimension Data0:17:39 
86Nathan Haas (Aus) Team Katusha Alpecin  
87Justin Jules (Fra) Wallonie Bruxelles  
88Josef Černý (Cze) CCC Team  
89Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek - Segafredo  
90Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal  
91Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
92Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
93Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
94Petr Vakoč (Cze) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
95Clément Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:24:12 
96Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
97Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain - Merida  
98Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin  
99Arnaud Courteille (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels  
100Jacques Willem Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Dimension Data  
101Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe  
DNFJérémy Maison (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
DNFKevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFDimitri Peyskens (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFMathijs Paasschens (Ned) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFKenny Molly (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFKevyn Ista (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFJimmy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels  
DNFKevin Reza (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels  
DNFCyril Gautier (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels  
DNFYoann Bagot (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels  
DNFPatrick Müller (Swi) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels  
DNFAaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFAnthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
DNFMathias Van Gompel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFLilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFDries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
DNFAmael Moinard (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
DNFBenoit Vaugrenard (Fra) Groupama - FDJ  
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
DNFLoïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team  
DNFElie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic  
DNFPaul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFBryan Nauleau (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFFabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFAaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFGregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora - Hansgrohe  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) Team Dimension Data  
DNFMathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFAlejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFRob Power (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFChristopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb  
DNFJelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFSander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFDion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton - Scott  
DNFPierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Mitchelton - Scott  
DNFJulien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFGrega Bole (Slo) Bahrain - Merida  
DNFAlexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFBaptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles  
DNFAlexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFBenjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFRémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step  
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First  
DNFNicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott  
DNFJulien Bernard (Fra) Trek - Segafredo  
DNFXandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team  
DNFFabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team  
DNFJerome Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team  
DNFMichael Valgren Andersen (Den) Team Dimension Data  
DNFEnrico Gasparotto (Ita) Team Dimension Data  
DNFNathan Brown (USA) EF Education First  
DNFRomain Seigle (Fra) Groupama - FDJ  
DNFTobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama - FDJ  
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) Groupama - FDJ  
DNFMarco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFFabio Felline (Ita) Trek - Segafredo  
DNFAndrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team  
DNFAntwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo - Visma  
DNFThomas Leezer (Ned) Team Jumbo - Visma  
DNFRobert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo - Visma  
DNFLaurens Ten Dam (Ned) CCC Team  
DNFJoseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team  
DNFSerge Pauwels (Bel) CCC Team  
DNFRory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFManuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFRui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFDaniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFPeter Stetina (USA) Trek - Segafredo  

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