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Liège-Bastogne-Liège teams are presented in Belgium

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Philippe Gilbert is quizzed by the media

Philippe Gilbert is quizzed by the media
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) will race just his second event of the year at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) will race just his second event of the year at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) catches up with former-teammate Andreas Kloden. Matthew Busche (right, RadioShack)

Alberto Contador (Astana) catches up with former-teammate Andreas Kloden. Matthew Busche (right, RadioShack)
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) was looking strong at Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday

Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) was looking strong at Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Philippe Gilbert: Race favourite and fan favourite

Philippe Gilbert: Race favourite and fan favourite
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Philippe Gilbert kicks back with his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates in Liège

Philippe Gilbert kicks back with his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates in Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) looks cool at the team presentation

Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) looks cool at the team presentation
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) signs an autograph

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) signs an autograph
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) promised to be aggressive

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) promised to be aggressive
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Saxo Bank line-up on stage at the team presentation

Saxo Bank line-up on stage at the team presentation
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Liège-Bastogne-Liège presentation is held in a big tent

The Liège-Bastogne-Liège presentation is held in a big tent
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) was one of the many Tour contenders at this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) was one of the many Tour contenders at this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Philippe Gilbert speaks to his former team manager Marc Madiot

Philippe Gilbert speaks to his former team manager Marc Madiot
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Local hero Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was mobbed by the fans

Local hero Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was mobbed by the fans
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Where's Wally? It was a case of 'Where's the Pro?' outside the team presentation in Liège

Where's Wally? It was a case of 'Where's the Pro?' outside the team presentation in Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) and Maxim Iglinksy (Astana) chat outside the team presentation

Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) and Maxim Iglinksy (Astana) chat outside the team presentation
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Garmin-Transitions Peter Stetina and Michael Kreder keep a close eye on their captain Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Transitions Peter Stetina and Michael Kreder keep a close eye on their captain Ryder Hesjedal
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Matthew Busche (RadioShack) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions)

Matthew Busche (RadioShack) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions)
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Winners are grinners: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was looking relaxed on the eve of Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winners are grinners: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was looking relaxed on the eve of Liège-Bastogne-Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) and his brother Andy will again go on the attack on Sunday

Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) and his brother Andy will again go on the attack on Sunday
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Bjarne Riis waited patiently outside as his riders were presented

Bjarne Riis waited patiently outside as his riders were presented
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Defending Champion Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)

Defending Champion Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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The team presentation was held in the centre of Liège's grand town hall

The team presentation was held in the centre of Liège's grand town hall
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Cadel will attack here: BMC directeurs sportif Mike Sayers and John Lelangue make some notes in the race hand book.

Cadel will attack here: BMC directeurs sportif Mike Sayers and John Lelangue make some notes in the race hand book.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Kjell Carlström (Sky)

Kjell Carlström (Sky)
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Xavier Tondó and Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam)

Xavier Tondó and Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam)
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Former Ag2R Prevoyance teammates Simon Gerrans (Sky) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2R-La Mondiale) shoot the breeze in Liège

Former Ag2R Prevoyance teammates Simon Gerrans (Sky) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2R-La Mondiale) shoot the breeze in Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Team cars lined up in Liège

Team cars lined up in Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Sky teammates Lars Petter Nordhaug and Thomas Lövkvist wait to be presented in Liège

Sky teammates Lars Petter Nordhaug and Thomas Lövkvist wait to be presented in Liège
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
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Carlos Sastre (CerveloTestTeam) poses for a photograph

Carlos Sastre (CerveloTestTeam) poses for a photograph
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

The countdown to the final Classic of the spring began on Saturday afternoon as riders attended the official Liège-Bastogne-Liège team presentation.

The 25 teams in the race were called onto a stage one by one, with legendary French race announcer Daniel Mangeas reeling-off their best results and asking them for a brief comment on their chances for Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Before going on stage in the huge marquee, the riders gather in the centre of the Palais des Princes-Eveques. The atmosphere was that of a friendly weigh-in before a prize fight, as riders and rival directeur sportifs said hello but carefully check out each others fitness and tested their confidence.

Local hero and big favourite Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma) tried to play it cool but was clearly nervous, knowing victory would change his career forever and perhaps make him the most complete Classics rider of his generation. He was mobbed by the crowds, but patiently posed for dozens of photographs and autographs.

World Champion Cadel Evans (BMC) and former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) were also spotted by the crowd outside the presentation and swamped by requests for autographs, but managed to escape and get back to their hotels on their team buses.

Saxo Bank was one of the last teams to be presented. Andy and Fränk Schleck looked laid-back and confident, with both promising to make it a hard race for Gilbert and anyone else hoping Liège-Bastogne-Liège will finish in a sprint. We can expect them to go on the attack as early as the Côte de la Redoute, 35km from the finish, and blow the race wide open.

Alberto Contador (Astana) mingled with his former teammates, who now ride for Lance Armstrong's RadioShack, and Christian Vande Velde joined his Garmin-Transitions team, revealing he will support Canada's Ryder Hesjedal after the Canadian's second place result in the Amstel Gold Race

This year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège official start list includes more Tour de France contenders than in recent years, with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Denis Menchov (Rabobank) also joining the Schlecks, Vande Velde, Evans and Contador for the 258km race.

The last Classic of the spring promises to be a real showdown between the best riders in the peloton.

There will be live coverage of all the action here on Cyclingnews on Sunday with special reports and interviews from the finish line in Ans.