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Valverde wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège

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Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) leads the break

Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) leads the break
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is the Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is the Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner
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The sprint to the finish line...

The sprint to the finish line...
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Rory Sutherland (Movistar)

Rory Sutherland (Movistar)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin)

Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin)

Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Bauke Mollema (Trek)

Bauke Mollema (Trek)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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David Tanner (IAM Cycling)

David Tanner (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin)

Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) after crossing the line

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) after crossing the line
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling)

Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Zdeněk Štybar (Etixx-QuickStep)

Zdeněk Štybar (Etixx-QuickStep)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty Groupe Gobert)

Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty Groupe Gobert)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Rui Costa (Lampre Merida) after finishing fourth

Rui Costa (Lampre Merida) after finishing fourth
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis)

Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek)

Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A smiling Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) on the starline

A smiling Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) on the starline
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fränk Schleck (Trek) had his day ended by a crash

Fränk Schleck (Trek) had his day ended by a crash
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Nico Roche (Team Sky) before the crash that saw him record a DNF

Nico Roche (Team Sky) before the crash that saw him record a DNF
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton passing a field of flowers

The peloton passing a field of flowers
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sammy Sánchez (BMC) with his wife and children before the start of the race

Sammy Sánchez (BMC) with his wife and children before the start of the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sammy Sánchez (BMC)

Sammy Sánchez (BMC)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quick Step)

Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step)

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will need some help eating all that jamon

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will need some help eating all that jamon
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde with his son Pedro on the start line

Alejandro Valverde with his son Pedro on the start line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Dylan Teuns (BMC) crosses the line

Dylan Teuns (BMC) crosses the line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) about to raise his arms in triumph as Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) curses his second place

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) about to raise his arms in triumph as Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) curses his second place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde with his son after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège for a third time

Alejandro Valverde with his son after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège for a third time
(Image credit: ASO)
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Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) checks on Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) checks on Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had plenty of fans out today

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had plenty of fans out today
(Image credit: ASO)
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There was lots of support from the fans in Liege to start the race

There was lots of support from the fans in Liege to start the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There were no collapsing inflatable arches today

There were no collapsing inflatable arches today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The pace was high but there was time for a nature break

The pace was high but there was time for a nature break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves and Carlos Betancur enjoy a chat mid-nature break

Esteban Chaves and Carlos Betancur enjoy a chat mid-nature break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A nice colourful photograph of the race

A nice colourful photograph of the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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An Ag2r-La Mondiale soigneur on bidon duty

An Ag2r-La Mondiale soigneur on bidon duty
(Image credit: ASO)
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The calm before the storm on the Côte de Saint Roch

The calm before the storm on the Côte de Saint Roch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton

The peloton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michele Scarponi (Astana) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

Michele Scarponi (Astana) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders at the the base of the Côte de Saint Roch

The riders at the the base of the Côte de Saint Roch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The colour of the Côte de Saint Roch

The colour of the Côte de Saint Roch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton heading up the Côte de Saint Roch

The peloton heading up the Côte de Saint Roch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There was support for the world champion on the Côte de Saint Roch today

There was support for the world champion on the Côte de Saint Roch today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There were all kinds of flags at the Côte de Saint Roch today

There were all kinds of flags at the Côte de Saint Roch today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Some Andy Schleck fans on the Côte de Saint Roch with their flags

Some Andy Schleck fans on the Côte de Saint Roch with their flags
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fans pack the Côte de Saint Roch

Fans pack the Côte de Saint Roch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Zdeněk Štybar (Etixx-Quick Step)

Zdeněk Štybar (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) sans tongue

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) sans tongue
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)

Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Angelo Tulik (Europcar)

Angelo Tulik (Europcar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Perrig Quéméneur (Europcar)

Perrig Quéméneur (Europcar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Otto Vergaerde (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) in the break

Otto Vergaerde (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) in the break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Otto Vergaerde (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)

Otto Vergaerde (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Clément Chevrier (IAM Cycling) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida) lead the early break

Clément Chevrier (IAM Cycling) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida) lead the early break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne

The Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Europcar all over the front of the race at the Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne

Europcar all over the front of the race at the Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pierre Rolland (Eurpcar)

Pierre Rolland (Eurpcar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton's pace starts to up

The peloton's pace starts to up
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Out on the open road

Out on the open road
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The iconic Côte de Saint Roch was once again a key feature in the race

The iconic Côte de Saint Roch was once again a key feature in the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Some colour in the forest

Some colour in the forest
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Plenty of fans on the Côte de Stockeu for the race today

Plenty of fans on the Côte de Stockeu for the race today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton in the early-morning sun

The peloton in the early-morning sun
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton making its way up the Côte de Stockeu

The peloton making its way up the Côte de Stockeu
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton on the Côte de Stockeu

The peloton on the Côte de Stockeu
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marc de Maar (Team Roompot)

Marc de Maar (Team Roompot)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)

Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Dani Moreno (Katusha)

Dani Moreno (Katusha)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nathan Haas (Cannndale-Garmin)

Nathan Haas (Cannndale-Garmin)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michał Gołaś (Etixx-Quick Step)

Michał Gołaś (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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David Tanner (IAM Cycling)

David Tanner (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bryan Nauleau (Europcar)

Bryan Nauleau (Europcar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Last minute start line interviews for Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Last minute start line interviews for Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Dmitry Kozonchuk (Katusha) feeling the pain

Dmitry Kozonchuk (Katusha) feeling the pain
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nathan Earle (Team Sky) with bandages from last week's Amstel Gold Race

Nathan Earle (Team Sky) with bandages from last week's Amstel Gold Race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Danish champion Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Danish champion Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida)

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rory Sutherland (Movistar)

Rory Sutherland (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling)

Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Estaban Chaves in the middle of an Michele Scarponi and Tanel Kangert Astana sandwich

Estaban Chaves in the middle of an Michele Scarponi and Tanel Kangert Astana sandwich
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC with Dylan Teuns controlling the pace

BMC with Dylan Teuns controlling the pace
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) stretches his legs just a little early in the race

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) stretches his legs just a little early in the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)

Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michele Scarponi (Astana)

Michele Scarponi (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Team Sky)

Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rafał Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Rafał Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Robert Kišerlovski (Tinkoff-Saxo) on the inside of Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka)

Robert Kišerlovski (Tinkoff-Saxo) on the inside of Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Brent Bookwalter (BMC)

Brent Bookwalter (BMC)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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José Herrada (Movistar)

José Herrada (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wilco Kelderman (Lotto Jumbo)

Wilco Kelderman (Lotto Jumbo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin)

Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky)

Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Laurens ten Dam (Lotto Jumbo)

Laurens ten Dam (Lotto Jumbo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabio Felline (Trek)

Fabio Felline (Trek)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale)

Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Petr Vakoč and Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quick Step)

Petr Vakoč and Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A grimacing Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen)

A grimacing Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sergey Lagutin (Katusha) gets out of the saddle

Sergey Lagutin (Katusha) gets out of the saddle
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sergey Lagutin (Katusha)

Sergey Lagutin (Katusha)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giovanni Visconti (Movistar)

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katusha spent a lot of the race on the front today

Katusha spent a lot of the race on the front today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) with Michele Scarponi (Astana)

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) with Michele Scarponi (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Michele Scarponi (Astana)

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Michele Scarponi (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michele Scarponi (Astana) with Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

Michele Scarponi (Astana) with Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) finishes in 11th place after an impressive ride

Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) finishes in 11th place after an impressive ride
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished in 13th place

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished in 13th place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) cross the line together

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) cross the line together
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) crosses the line just ahead of world champion Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) crosses the line just ahead of world champion Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) crosses the line in 22nd place

Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) crosses the line in 22nd place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) relax before the start of the race

Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) relax before the start of the race
(Image credit: ASO)
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A concentrated look from Julien Vermote (Etixx-Quick Step)

A concentrated look from Julien Vermote (Etixx-Quick Step)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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On the start line of the 2015 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

On the start line of the 2015 Liège-Bastogne-Liège
(Image credit: ASO)
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The peloton racing through Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The peloton racing through Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins in Ans

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins in Ans
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katusha attacks

Katusha attacks
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep)

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Valverde leading the peloton

Valverde leading the peloton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Racing Team

BMC Racing Team
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Astana riders in a small group

Astana riders in a small group
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katusha

Katusha
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The field together at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The field together at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Racing Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Racing Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders race at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Riders race at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the podium

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates his win

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrates his win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) tops the Liege-Bastogne-Liege podium

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) tops the Liege-Bastogne-Liege podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alaphilippe, Valverde and Rodriguez on the podium

Alaphilippe, Valverde and Rodriguez on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege podium

Liege-Bastogne-Liege podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) kisses the winner's trophy

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) kisses the winner's trophy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) receives the winner's trophy

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) receives the winner's trophy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leads the group

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leads the group
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The peloton climb a step ascent

The peloton climb a step ascent
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The field is about to start a climb

The field is about to start a climb
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The peloton climb through the town of Houffalize during the 101st Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The peloton climb through the town of Houffalize during the 101st Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) takes a hard-fought win

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) takes a hard-fought win
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) beats Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) to the line

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) beats Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) to the line
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) takes his third win at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) takes his third win at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

In the end, Liège-Bastogne-Liège followed the anticipated script. A succession of teams tried and failed to rid themselves of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and the Spaniard duly claimed the uphill sprint in Ans to take his third victory at La Doyenne, seeing off Julian Alaphillipe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha).

Valverde's first triumph came in 2006, the year of the Operacion Puerto blood doping scandal, and the second came in 2008, the year his DNA was matched to the blood bags found in Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes' possession in Madrid.

The Spaniard eventually served a two-year ban after a protracted case that went all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but he returned seemingly missing without a beat in 2012. Valverde turned 35 on Saturday and, somehow, he has just enjoyed the best Ardennes week of his career, placing second at Amstel Gold Race last weekend before claiming his third Flèche Wallonne win on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Valverde gave the impression that he was always in control of his brief in the finale, even setting the tempo on the front on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas in a bid to dissuade late attacks, and while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) were distanced over the top, he remained safely part of the leading group of ten on the approach to the finish in Ans.

Katusha were the final team to try to break Valverde's resolve. Dani Moreno punched clear of the leading group underneath the red kite and looked to have opened a winning gap, only for Valverde to steal across with 500 metres remaining. Rodriguez was planted on his rear wheel, and the rest of the group scrambled across soon afterwards.

But even though Valverde led out from distance, the result was never in doubt, as he claimed the win with more than a bike length to spare over the youngster Alaphilippe, who had also placed second on the Mur de Huy in midweek.

"This is incredible for me," Valverde said. "There was a difficult moment when I saw Moreno go away, but I decided to get across to him. I had to try and get him, even if it was a risk and I risked losing energy for the final."

Alaphilippe's sprint was lengthened somewhat by having to come around a slowing Rodriguez, but in truth he was never likely to catch Valverde, who, as at Flèche Wallonne, seemed to have an extra gear. In the rain-soaked finale, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) took fourth place, while Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), an attacker on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons claimed fifth ahead of Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

The finale of the race was marred by a large crash ahead of the Côte de La Redoute that ended the hopes of the past two winners, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), and ultimately forced a greater reduction of the main peloton than any climb other than the final categorised ascent of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas. In keeping with recent history at La Doyenne, the selection came from the back rather than the front for the most part, and with nobody able to make the difference in the closing kilometres, a group finish was inevitable – and so too, perhaps, was Valverde's win.

How it unfolded

A brisk start to proceedings meant that it took almost an hour of racing for the day's early break to take shape, with Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) eventually beating a way clear with Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Otto Vergaerde (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Clement Chevrier (IAM Cycling), Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18) and Rasmus Quaade (Cult) after 40 kilometres.

They built up a lead of seven minutes at one point only for Europcar's unexpected show of force on the front to bring their margin under control ahead of the troika of the Côte de Wanne, Côte de Stockeu and Côte de la Haute-Levée with 80 kilometres remaining, by which point a determined delegation from Astana had taken up the reins.

Their aim was to dictate the terms and conditions of the break that would form ahead of the race's denouement and they duly succeeded. After Andriy Grivko laid the groundwork on the Stockeu, Tanel Kangert and Michele Scarponi found themselves off the front after the Haut-Leveé in the company of Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing).

By the Rosier, Arredondo and Boaro had been dropped, but with Chaves persuaded to contribute to the pace-setting, the three leaders padded their advantage out to almost a minute on the Maquisard with a shade under 50 kilometres remaining, before Movistar and Etixx-QuickStep began to inject some life into the pursuit.

The pace ratcheted up still further following the large crash on the approach to the Côte de la Redoute that eliminated Martin, Gerrans (the Australian would crash again while chasing back on), Nicolas Roche (Sky), Matthias Fränk (IAM Cycling) and Fränk Schleck (Trek) from contention, and the peloton was reduced to just 40 riders or so by the base of the climb.

Up front, Kangert was forced to relent on La Redoute, and his absence – allied to the increase in intensity behind – saw Scarponi and Chaves swept up at the base of the Roche-aux-Fauçons with a little over 22 kilometres remaining. It was stalemate most of the way up the climb, as Nibali, Kwiatkowski and Bardet all sized one another up, before Kreuziger punched his way clear within sight of the summit.

Kreuziger, who is still racing pending a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing on his biological passport case, was joined by Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) on the way down the other side, and the trio built up a lead of 25 seconds as Movistar and Etixx dithered behind. As leaden drops of rain began to fall, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) took up the reins, and his forcing brought the peloton back to within sight of the leaders at the base of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

Valverde looked to control the pace on the early slopes before Nibali's much-anticipated attack finally arrived as the gradient stiffened but although he pegged back the three leaders, he couldn't forge clear alone. His attack did, however, put paid to the hopes of Kwiatkowski and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) among others, and when Dani Moreno took over near the summit, it ultimately led to the winning selection being formed.

Romain Bardet took a flyer on the treacherous descent but he was unable to force his way clear, although his move did distance Nibali himself and reduced the leading group to just ten riders on the approach to Ans.

As the gradient pitched upwards, Dani Moreno scorched off the front and as all eyes turned to Valverde to chase, it briefly looked as though he might benefit from the impasse behind to claim the win. On this occasion, however, Valverde's thinking was clear, and he bounded up to his wheel on the approach to the final left-hand bend.

"I started as the big favourite, and I knew all the world watching me, but I knew that I could do something all the same," Valverde said. "It's been an amazing week."

 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team6:14:20
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
3Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
4Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
5Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
6Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
8Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
10Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
11Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:10
12Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
13Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:24
14Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
15Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha
16Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
17Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:32
18Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:44
19Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:00:52
20Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:00:58
21Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
22Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:04
23José Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18
24Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:06
25Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
26Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka
27Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
28Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
29Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
30Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
31Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:10
32Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
33Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
34Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
35Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:01:30
36Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:41
37Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
38Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky0:02:03
39Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge0:02:41
40Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:02:49
41Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:04:37
42Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step0:04:44
43Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling0:05:02
44Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:05:31
45Huub Duyn (Ned) Team Roompot0:06:05
46Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
47Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin
48Dominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
49Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Team Roompot
50Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha
51Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
52Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
53Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
54Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
55Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
56Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge
57Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
58Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
59Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
60Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
61Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
62Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:06:22
63Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:08:09
64Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:08:18
65Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida
66Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
67Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team
68Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge
69Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
70José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team0:09:22
71Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
72Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:09:32
73Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
74Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
75Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
76Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
77Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
78Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.fr
79Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team
80Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
81Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
82Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
83Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
84Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
85Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:10:16
86Mike Terpstra (Ned) Team Roompot
87Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
88Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
89Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team Roompot
90Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:11:28
91Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr0:11:39
92Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:12:02
93Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:13:04
94Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha0:15:04
95Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:16:43
96Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
97Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
98Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
99Maxime Mederel (Fra) Team Europcar
100Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFSimon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
DNFDaryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFRory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team
DNFMaxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNFGianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNFMichal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNFJulien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNFAlessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFDaniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFNathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFBenjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFMatej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNFBen Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
DNFKlaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team
DNFTejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
DNFDmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha
DNFMaxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha
DNFSébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFBruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFPawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFMichael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNFJose Rodolfo Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida
DNFDiego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFDennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFLouis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFNicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
DNFPhilip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky
DNFNathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky
DNFDanny Pate (USA) Team Sky
DNFJulian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
DNFFrank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
DNFYukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
DNFFabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFBryan Naulleau (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFPerrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFBertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFBram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFMike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNFLawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNFCaleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNFJohannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNFThierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFThomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFOtto Vergaerde (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFMathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNFClement Chevrier (Fra) IAM Cycling
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNFPatrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling
DNFLarry Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
DNFArthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFKévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFBenoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNFJussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr
DNFSimone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFFrancis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFYannick Eijssen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMarco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMatthew Brammeier (Irl) MTN - Qhubeka
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
DNFYohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFNicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFAnthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFCesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18
DNFBartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18
DNFPaul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
DNFMarc De Maar (Ned) Team Roompot
DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Team Roompot
DNFSjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Team Roompot
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Team Roompot
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNFRomain Lemarchand (Fra) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNFChristian Mager (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNFMartin Mortensen (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNFMichael Reihs (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNFFabian Wegmann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
DNFRasmus Christian Quaade (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling

 

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