Di Luca completes his Ardennes collection

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) (Image credit: AFP)

A dream come true in Ans

"The Killer" has returned to make amends to the missing piece from his magical 2005 season by winning Belgium's oldest Classic, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Italian Danilo Di Luca escaped with Fränk Schleck just after the Côte du Saint-Nicolas and then attacked the Luxembourger at 400 metres to go to add the third of three Ardennes classics to his palmarès. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown was in Ans to hear Di Luca's reaction to his win.

"I thought of this race for the past nine years - since I turned professional," said Di Luca, who turned professional with Riso Scotti in 1998. He had just captured the 93rd running of Liège in front of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Fränk Schleck (Team CSC).

After 262 kilometres of racing and more than six hours through the rolling Ardennes in Southeast Belgium, Di Luca noted that this race was one that was always on his mind. "I always thought that this was the most beautiful race and the one for me. Today I am very, very satisfied with what I have accomplished."

As in the Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne, where he finished third in both races, Di Luca had the help of a strong Liquigas team. Riders like Franco Pellizotti and Alessandro Spezialetti were there helping him be positioned for the win.

"Danilo showed he was the strongest, I am happy for him after his miss two years ago," recalled the curly-haired Pellizotti after the finish. "It is also important for him after he was so close in Flèche Wallonne. The team worked very well and we did well in these Belgian races."

Di Luca was proud of his companions and repaid them in the best way, with a win in Ans. "I dedicate this win to all of my team-mates," continued Di Luca on the hot day in Ans. "They truly did a great job today."

Read the full feature here.

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