Skip to main content
Live coverage

Liège - Bastogne - Liège 2011


Live coverage of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

257km remaining from 257km

254km remaining from 257km

249km remaining from 257km

Simon Geschke (Skil-Shimano) makes a bid to bridge across to the leaders, but it's hard to escape the clutches of the peloton.

244km remaining from 257km

There are now eight riders clear of the bunch with a 30 second advantage: Sébastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet), Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar), David Le Lay (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Tony Gallopin (Cofidis), Mickael Delage (FDJ) and Yannick Talabardon (Saur-Sojasun).

Eight different teams are represented, so this break should have a decent chance of being able to stay clear for the first half of the race. Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) both have teammates up there, so their teams will not have to take responsibility for setting the pace behind.

Simon Geschke (Skil-Shimano) is also in the break up front. Bizarrely, the German made an attempt to go clear of his fellow escapees by himself, but now he is working as part of that group.

227km remaining from 257km

222km remaining from 257km

Not surprisingly, Philippe Gilbert was the main attraction at the start in Liège this morning. Born in Verviers, just a stone's throw from the route of La Doyenne, this is the race that he covets above all others.

Gilbert mania has reached fever pitch this week of course. After clinical victories at Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallone, he is on course for an Ardennes hat-trick. Like Wayne Rooney's goals, Gilbert's big wins seem to come in bursts. The past two Autumns he has dominated the late-season calendar of Italian races, and now he is looking to replicate that feat in the Ardennes.

213km remaining from 257km

The last man to achieve the Ardennes hat-trick of Amstel, Fleche and Liege was Davide Rebellin, back in 2004.

The Omega Pharma-Lotto team has come to the front of the bunch now in a bid to keep tabs on the gap to the breakaway.

Movistar has Jesus Herrada Lopez in the breakaway, although the Spanish team will probably try to set up Vasil Kiryienka today; the Belarusian performed well at Flèche Wallonne.

There's no Quick-Step rider in the breakaway even though it might be the only way for the Belgian team to be successful in La Doyenne. Team manager Patrick Lefevre told Cyclingnews’ Brecht Decaluwé this morning that his expectations weren't really high.

205km remaining from 257km

The Schleck brothers’ Leopard Trek team was one of the last to reach the sign-up table. They usually go there all together and that's also what they did this morning. The team's press officer explained that team manager Kim Andersen insists that the riders show up as one team and not as a bunch of individuals. Our man Brecht Decaluwé wonders if that’s why they didn’t have anybody in the breakaway this morning…

Stephen Farrand was also at the start in Liege for Cyclingnews, and his excellent start line gallery is now online. Check it out here.

The nine men up front are now approaching the day's first difficulty, the Côte de Saint-Roch. Though just a kilometre in length, its 11% slopes provide a foretaste of the difficulties that are to follow on the long road back to Liege...

186km remaining from 257km

Elsewhere, the opening stage of the Tour of Turkey has just finished, and the news reaching us from Istanbul is that Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) has beaten Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) in the bunch sprint.

Rabobank and Leopard Trek are also starting to contribute to Omega Pharma-Lotto's work at the front of the bunch, and the gap to the break remains stable at 3:15.

Garmin-Cervélo sports director Eric Van Lancker is a former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He won La Doyenne in 1990. This morning he told our man that the race hasn't changed too much in the intervening period.

176km remaining from 257km

It will be fascinating to see the tactics adopted over the second half of the race, and in particular, it will be interesting to see how tightly Philippe Gilbert is marked. For now, his Omega Pharma-Lotto team has allies of circumstance in Leopard Trek, but the Luxembourg team will be aiming to isolate and attack Gilbert as the race progresses.

163km remaining from 257km

154km remaining from 257km

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) suffered a puncture but made it swiftly back on to the main bunch. With the peloton slowing down on the approach to the feed zone, the Spaniard could hardly have punctured at a better time.

David Le Lay is contributing well to the efforts of the breakaway group. His Ag2r-La Mondiale leader Nicolas Roche crashed at Fleche Wallone on Wednesday, but the Irishman back in action here. Incidentally, Roche's cousin Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) was also a faller on Wednesday.

Omega Pharma-Lotto are doing the lion's share of the pace-setting in the peloton, which is surely something that Gilbert would rather have avoided, and he runs the risk of being left isolated in the finale.

One team who will be very pleased with the way the race has panned out so far is Katusha. With Vorganov representing their interests in the break, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexandr Kolobnev can sit and watch Omega Pharma-Lotto and Leopard Trek lead the pursuit. Rodriguez will have been disappointed to have been so soundly beaten by Gilbert at Fleche Wallone on Wednesday, mind, especially on a climb that seemed so well-suited to his talents.

Omega Pharma-Lotto's work brings the gap down to 2:45.

Interesting fact from If Philippe Gilbert wins today, it will be the eighth Classic victory of his career, which is as many as Bernard Hinault managed in his entire career.

For the record, Gilbert's seven Classic wins to date are: Amstel Gold Race (2010, 2011), Flèche Wallonne (2011), Paris-Tours (2008, 2009), and Tour of Lombardy (2009, 2010).

118km remaining from 257km

While Gilbert has been busy collecting bouquets at the Classics in the past couple of seasons, the long Italian drought in the big one-day races continues.

Vincenzo Nibali has come north from the Giro del Trentino to bolster the Italian challenge here. However, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), who is enjoying a very productive spell at the moment, has steered clear of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

106km remaining from 257km

98km remaining from 257km

Once again Thomas De Gendt leads over the top of the climb, ahead of Delfosse and Vorganov.

Meanwhile, as anticipated the intensity of the peloton picked up a notch on hitting the climb. At the summit, the bunch are just 2:50 behind the ten leaders.

Cyclingnews spoke to Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) before the start of the race as he waited with fellow Irishmen Matt Brammeier (HTC-Highroad), Nicholas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Philip Deignan (RadioShack).

Over the top of the Cote de Wanne, and it's Leopard Trek who have caused the sudden reduction of the gap between the break and the peloton. The Schleck brothers have sent their team to the front and their acceleration has begun to string out the bunch. The gap is now down to 2:10.

91km remaining from 257km

Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky) joins Hoogerland over the top of the Stockeu, and the duo set off in pursuit of the breakaway. There is scarcely any respite before the next climb, the Côte de la Haute-Levée.

The Côte de la Haute-Levée is one of the shallower climbs in Liege-Bastogne-Liege with an average gradient of 5.6%. However, it's 3.6km to the summit, so it can break things up.

86km remaining from 257km

Kreuziger is brought back, but Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) launches an acceleration on the Haute-Levee that seems to be bringing a chase group of around ten riders clear of the peloton.

83km remaining from 257km

80km remaining from 257km

74km remaining from 257km

Kessiakoff and Delfosse have been dropped from the leading break, as the pace continues to hot up in front and behind.

Di Gregorio is brought back by the peloton, but Giampaolo Caruso continues his pursuit with Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) now keeping him company, just ahead of the Omega Pharma-Lotto-led bunch.

67km remaining from 257km

Egoi Martinez and Caruso have desisted their efforts ahead of the peloton, which is still being led by Omega Pharma-Lotto.

On the Masquisard, Gilbert is visible five riders back in the main field, as he keeps a close watch on affairs.

60km remaining from 257km

Jesus Herrada has been dropped from the lead group and there are now 13 riders at the head of the race over the top of the Masquisard: Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Tony Gallopin (Cofidis), Mathias Frank (BMC), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Kanstantsin Siutsou (HTC-Highroad).

A little under 10km to the next climb, the 2.6km long Mont Theux, which has an average gradient of 5.9%.

52km remaining from 257km

On the lower slopes of Mont Theux, and it's Greg Van Avermaet who sets the tempo for the escapees. He was hugely impressive at Milan-San Remo, and led the race over the Poggio.

Incidentally, Mont Theux saw a fearsome attack from Miguel Indurain during the 1995 Tour de France. The Spaniard surprised his rivals by attacking on the eve of the race's first major time trial, although he missed out on the stage win and the yellow jersey after his breakaway companion sat on and then outsprinted Indurain at the finish.

46km remaining from 257km

44km remaining from 257km

Omega Pharma-Lotto have stopped contributing to the chase and it's been left to Leopard Trek. Frank Schleck rides past Philippe Gilbert on his way towards the front and has a word, but the Belgian looks nonplussed.

Fabian Wegman is grimacing on the front of the peloton, but in spite of his best efforts the break's advantage remains 1:40.

Katusha, Astana, Rabobank, Quick Step and Liquigas-Cannondale are all represented in the lead group, so they will not move a muscle to bring it back for now.

The BMC duo of Van Avermaet and Mathias Frank are very active at the head of the break. In the absence of Cadel Evans, Van Avermaet is the team's best chance of a result today, and the Belgian is certainly not letting his opportunity pass him by.

37km remaining from 257km

Leopard Trek's chasing has finally begin to tell. The gap is down to 1:10 as the bunch hits La Redoute.

A crash at the rear of the peloton, with Stefan Drefil (Leopard Trek) a faller. Meanwhile, his teammate Jakob Fuglsang is setting the pace on the front of the bunch.

Enrico Gasparotto surges on the steepest section of La Redoute, with Jerome Pineau the man best able to follow. Van Avermaet is also well able to respond, with Kadri and Siutsou also staying in contact.

Frank Schleck moves onto Fuglsang's shoulder, with his brother Andy on his wheel.

35km remaining from 257km

Fuglsang has been fantastic on the climb of La Redoute in the service of the Schleck brothers. His pace-setting has strung out the bunch and a number of riders are starting to suffer at the rear of the field.

La Redoute certainly weeded out the front group, with just eight riders left in front: Gasparotto is still up there, along with the Rabobank duo of Garate and Ten Dam. Van Avermaet and Pineau are also present.

Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank SunGard) attacks after the La Redoute, and makes it across to the remnants of the break, the five riders who lost contact on the climb.

30km remaining from 257km

Nicki Sorensen's attack has been brought back, as have the riders who were dropped from the lead group on La Redoute.

29km remaining from 257km

26km remaining from 257km

24km remaining from 257km

Gilbert knows that Leopard Trek will be looking to launch on offensive on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, so he won't have his remaining teammates work before then.

Garate struggles on the early slopes of the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, and indeed the break has split to pieces on the climb. Enrico Gasparotto has clearly been the strongest man and he is gone clear with Greg Van Avermaet.

Double attack from the Schleck brothers on the Roche aux Faucons. Gilbert follows with ease and the trio open up an instant lead on the peloton.

Frank went first and then Andy followed, but he had Gilbert on his wheel.

The trio are picking off the remnants of the break and will soon be up to Gasparotto and Van Avermaet.

20km remaining from 257km

The Schlecks and Gilbert have caught up to Gasparotto, Van Avermaet and Jerome Pineau over the top of the climb.

17km remaining from 257km

Gasparotto and Pineau are dropped on a rise as they struggle to keep pace with the Schlecks and Gilbert, although Van Avermaet is doing very well to hang in there.

16km remaining from 257km

Anton and Kolobnev are brought back, as Astana take up the chase, but surely it's too late to bring back the quartet in front ahead of the Cote de Saint-Nicolas.

It will be a thrilling finish if these four stay clear. One would imagine that the Schlecks will have to try and shake off Gilbert before the finish in Ans. In theory, Van Avermaet is the fastest man here, but one would wonder how much he has left in his legs after his long spell on the front.

12km remaining from 257km

10km remaining from 257km

9km remaining from 257km

8km remaining from 257km

Andy Schleck leads on the false flat at the start of the climb. Gilbert sits between the brothers, with Van Avermaet at the back.

The pace is not that high on the climb, it's all very tentative. Andy Schleck looks back at Gilbert, and the Belgian goes to the front, but he is not accelerating.

Andy Schleck goes to the front again and Van Avermaet is dropped, but there has been no brutal acceleration, and the peloton is now just 24 seconds down.

Gilbert ups the pace at the head of the bunch and then he attacks from the front! Incredible!

5km remaining from 257km

Andy Schleck has descended well, however, and made his way back up to Gilbert and his brother.

3km remaining from 257km

Gilbert is sandwiched between the Schleck brothers. If he rides on the front, he leaves himself open to an attack, and if he rides at the back, one or other of the brothers could let a gap develop.

1km remaining from 257km

Andy Schleck leads, Gilbert second wheel, with Frank lined up behind.

Andy Schleck leads into the finishing straight.

And Gilbert comes around and wins with ease!

Frank Schleck was second in the sprint, but neither brother came close to matching Gilbert.

Not only has Gilbert completed the Ardennes hat-trick of Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he has taken an unprecedented treble, if we factor in his Fleche Brabanconne win from last week.

One would have expected a little more from the Schlecks in the finale, particularly after Andy managed to make it back on after being dropped on the Saint-Nicholas, but Gilbert gave the impression that he could have responded to every move today.


Thanks for joining us for live coverage of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for a full report, results, pictures and all the news and reactions from Ans, as Philippe Gilbert crowned his perfect spring.


1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
3 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
6 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
9 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
10 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews