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Poels wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

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Alejandro Valverde sitting in the peloton

Alejandro Valverde sitting in the peloton
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Albasini makes his move on the Côte de la Rue Naniot with Rui Costa trying to close the gap

Michael Albasini makes his move on the Côte de la Rue Naniot with Rui Costa trying to close the gap
(Image credit: ASO)
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Sam Oomen (Giant-Alpecin)

Sam Oomen (Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: ASO)
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An Orica-GreenEdge rider digs deep

An Orica-GreenEdge rider digs deep
(Image credit: ASO)
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Alejandro Valverde looking alert in the snow

Alejandro Valverde looking alert in the snow
(Image credit: ASO)
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The breakaway riding through the snow

The breakaway riding through the snow
(Image credit: ASO)
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The snow falls heavily as the break pushes on

The snow falls heavily as the break pushes on
(Image credit: ASO)
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The snow made for very low visibility

The snow made for very low visibility
(Image credit: ASO)
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The Cote de Saint-Roche is one the more iconic climbs in cycling

The Cote de Saint-Roche is one the more iconic climbs in cycling
(Image credit: ASO)
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The breakaway passing though a village

The breakaway passing though a village
(Image credit: ASO)
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Is that a Movistar rider or a ninja?

Is that a Movistar rider or a ninja?
(Image credit: ASO)
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The Movistar team control affairs

The Movistar team control affairs
(Image credit: ASO)
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Carlos Betancur of Movistar at sign on

Carlos Betancur of Movistar at sign on
(Image credit: ASO)
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Simon Geschke's (Giant-Alpecin) beard was a definite asset in the snow

Simon Geschke's (Giant-Alpecin) beard was a definite asset in the snow
(Image credit: ASO)
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Simon Gerrans is interview on stage

Simon Gerrans is interview on stage
(Image credit: ASO)
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As a former winner, Dan Martin was a pre-race favourite

As a former winner, Dan Martin was a pre-race favourite
(Image credit: ASO)
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Armindo Fonseca (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)

Armindo Fonseca (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)
(Image credit: ASO)
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An emotional Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium

An emotional Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium

Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Albasini after the race

Michael Albasini after the race
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The reality of winning Liege starts to sink in for Wout Poels

The reality of winning Liege starts to sink in for Wout Poels
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek-Segafredo)

Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek-Segafredo)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) on La Redoute

Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) on La Redoute
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Laurent Didier on La Redoute

Laurent Didier on La Redoute
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Dimension Data)

Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Dimension Data)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Carlos Betancur was one just a handful of riders with bare legs

Carlos Betancur was one just a handful of riders with bare legs
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Italian champ Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Italian champ Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Albasini checks who is chasing

Michael Albasini checks who is chasing
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) finishes Liege

Chris Froome (Team Sky) finishes Liege
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alex Howes was Cannondale's top finisher

Alex Howes was Cannondale's top finisher
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Caleb Fairly (Giant-Alpecin)

Caleb Fairly (Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) crosses the line in fourth

Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) crosses the line in fourth
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Rory Sutherland leads the peloton

Rory Sutherland leads the peloton
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal)

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM Cycling)

Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM Cycling)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michel Kreder (Roompot - Oranje Peloton)

Michel Kreder (Roompot - Oranje Peloton)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Adam Yates was very rugged up today

Adam Yates was very rugged up today
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)

Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Bernard Hinault is a regular at ASO races

Bernard Hinault is a regular at ASO races
(Image credit: ASO)
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Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme with Gary Verity

Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme with Gary Verity
(Image credit: ASO)
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Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo)

Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal)

Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin)

Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin)

Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: ASO)
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Dan Martin is surrounded by pink balloons

Dan Martin is surrounded by pink balloons
(Image credit: ASO)
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A smiling Simon Gerrans pre-race

A smiling Simon Gerrans pre-race
(Image credit: ASO)
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Paolo Tiralongo looking serious pre-race

Paolo Tiralongo looking serious pre-race
(Image credit: ASO)
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Dario Cataldo of Astana

Dario Cataldo of Astana
(Image credit: ASO)
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Astana's Vincenzo Nibali

Astana's Vincenzo Nibali
(Image credit: ASO)
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Movistar controlling the race for Valverde

Movistar controlling the race for Valverde
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Albasini leading the quarter to the line

Michael Albasini leading the quarter to the line
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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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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Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale)

Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team)

Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team) would finish fourth

Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team) would finish fourth
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Ilnur Zakarin snuck away to claim fifth place

Ilnur Zakarin snuck away to claim fifth place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Warren Barguil crosses the line for sixth

Warren Barguil crosses the line for sixth
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Ilnur Zakarin wonders waht could have been

Ilnur Zakarin wonders waht could have been
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin)

Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquin Rodriguez in eighth place

Joaquin Rodriguez in eighth place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Enrico Gasparotto tucked in the middle of the first chase group

Enrico Gasparotto tucked in the middle of the first chase group
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Petter Nordhaug finished off the day in 20th place

Lars Petter Nordhaug finished off the day in 20th place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) finishes 29th

Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) finishes 29th
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nordhaug (Team Sky) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Nordhaug (Team Sky) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Di Marchi (BMC) leading the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Di Marchi (BMC) leading the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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De Gendt looking cold at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

De Gendt looking cold at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nordhaug (Team Sky) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Nordhaug (Team Sky) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The breakaway at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The breakaway at 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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The riders faced very cold and snowy conditions for Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The riders faced very cold and snowy conditions for Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A breakaway heads off at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

A breakaway heads off at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The small group rolling at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The small group rolling at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Di Marchi (Astana) Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alessandro Di Marchi (Astana) Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Paolo Tiralongo bundled up at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Paolo Tiralongo bundled up at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Samuel Sanchez (BMC) Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Samuel Sanchez (BMC) Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cyril Gautier (AG2R La Mondiale) Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Cyril Gautier (AG2R La Mondiale) Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Loic Vliegen (BMC Racing Team) Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Loic Vliegen (BMC Racing Team) 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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Roman Bardet (AG2R la Mondiale) Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Roman Bardet (AG2R la Mondiale) Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The fields, fans and racers at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The fields, fans and racers at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The farm country around Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The farm country around Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The peloton at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton rides through twisty roads at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The peloton rides through twisty roads at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The windy roads of Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The windy roads of Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The breakaway at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The breakaway at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders wore face masks to try and stay warm at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Riders wore face masks to try and stay warm at 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 completely covered up to protect themselves from the cold at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Riders completely covered up to protect themselves from the cold at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Maxim Bouet tries to eat some food at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Maxim Bouet tries to eat some food at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders were nearly unrecognizable at the snowy and cold Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Riders were nearly unrecognizable at the snowy and cold Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez getting food at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Joaquim Rodriguez getting food at 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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Valverde in the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Valverde in the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Valverde in the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Valverde in the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Team Movistar rider tries to stay warm in cold, cold weather at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Team Movistar rider tries to stay warm in cold, cold weather at 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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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) struggling with his gloves at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) struggling with his gloves at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Joaquim Rodriguez at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Etixx-QuickStep rider trying to stay warm at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Etixx-QuickStep rider trying to stay warm at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC leads the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

BMC leads the group at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Team Katusha at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

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

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katusha's Angel Vicioso gets assistance from his team

Katusha's Angel Vicioso gets assistance from his team
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katusha riders go back to the car for support

Katusha riders go back to the car for support
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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IAM Cycling mystery rider all bundled up at snowy Liege-Bastogne-Liege

IAM Cycling mystery rider all bundled up at snowy Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Maxim Bouet at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Maxim Bouet at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Petr Vakoc at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Petr Vakoc at 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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Snow on the cars at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Snow on the cars at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx)

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels secures Team Sky first-ever Monument victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels secures Team Sky first-ever Monument victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La MOndiale) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La MOndiale) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Albasini led the four-man winning breakaway up the final climb at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Albasini led the four-man winning breakaway up the final climb at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) attacks on the Côte de la Rue Naniot in an attempt to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) attacks on the Côte de la Rue Naniot in an attempt to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) finished fifth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) finished fifth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo NIbali (Astana) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Vincenzo NIbali (Astana) at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) rode in support of his team at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Chris Froome (Team Sky) rode in support of his team at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Losada at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Alberto Losada at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was hoping to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was hoping to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Etixx-QuickStep riders sit in the field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Etixx-QuickStep riders sit in the field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Etixx-QuickStep at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Etixx-QuickStep at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julian Alaphilippe at the front at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Julian Alaphilippe at the front at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Dan Martin in the field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Dan Martin in the field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Julien Vermote leading the field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Julien Vermote leading the field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Etixx-QuickStep lead the main field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Etixx-QuickStep lead the main field at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels gave Team Sky their first-ever Monument win

Wout Poels gave Team Sky their first-ever Monument win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) hold up his trophy after winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) hold up his trophy after winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michael Albasini (Orica) was second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Michael Albasini (Orica) was second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(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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Wout Poels tops the podium at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels tops the podium at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa was third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Rui Costa was third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege podium: Rui Costa (Lampre), Wout Poels (Team Sky), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge)

Liege-Bastogne-Liege podium: Rui Costa (Lampre), Wout Poels (Team Sky), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins 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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Colourful peloton on the climb at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Colourful peloton on the climb at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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It was a packed climb at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

It was a packed climb at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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An early breakaway at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

An early breakaway at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The breakaway at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

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

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Liege-Bastogne-Liege
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It was snowing at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

It was snowing at 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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The peloton climbs at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The peloton climbs at Liege-Bastogne-Liege
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The snow fell heavily in the Ardennes at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, invoking memories of Bernaud Hinault’s iconic 1980 victory and even causing the race to be re-routed, but Wout Poels rode through the blizzard to put an end to Team Sky’s long wait for a Monument victory.

The Dutchman followed Michael Albasini’s (Orica-GreenEdge) move up the Côte de la Rue Naniot, the new steep cobbled climb introduced to shake up the race’s finale, and held him off in the sprint. Former world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) finished a close third having been part of the move, while Samuel Sanchez (BMC), the fourth member of the group, was unable to produce a sprint and finished a distant fourth.

"I still can't believe it," said Poels, who became only the fifth Dutchman to win La Doyenne, and the first since Adri Van Der Poel 28 years ago. "The conditions were really difficult today and at the end we were all really tired."

For all the talk of Alejandro Valverde’s overwhelming favourite status, and for all the work his Movistar teammates subjected themselves to on the front of the bunch, the defending champion couldn’t manage to make the top 10. It was a similar story for Etixx-QuickStep; they had strength in numbers and drove a fierce pace going into the final 25km, but last year’s runner up and Julian Alaphilippe finished in the main group with Valverde, while 2013 winner Dan Martin struggled on the final climb and ended up nearly two minutes down.

It was a trying day for the riders, who repeatedly encountered mini snow storms all along the route as the weather forecasts proved true to their word. The situation was at its worst halfway along the trip out from Liège to Bastogne, with many teams posting photos of the roads covered in a blanket of snow as their car made their way out to the feed zone. An hour into the race, the organisers made the decision to alter the route and took riders off the planned course after 45 kilometres, eventually linking back up with it at kilometre 75. Given that they were back on course ahead of the first of the day’s 10 climbs, the change did little to shape the complexion of the race, and only 5km were lost from the total distance, which became 248km.

A break of eight enjoyed a few hours out front, while a fairly contained race was ridden back in the bunch. There were eight climbs in the last 80km but it wasn’t until after the fourth one, the famous Côte de La Redoute, had been crested that the race was really ignited.

The utterly miserable conditions took their toll and while crashes took out Tony Gallopin and Rafal Majka, it was largely down to who kept themselves warm, well fed, and most comfortable. Poels’ relatively slow sprint and the fact that Albasini was unable to get near to coming round him demonstrated how exacting the day had been.

How it unfolded

The leaden drops of rain that fell as the peloton gathered at the Place Saint-Lambert for the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège prefigured what they would face on the long road south. Word had already reached Liege of early morning snowfall in the Ardennes, and shortly after rolling out of the City of the Prince-Bishops, it was announced that the race would be re-routed to avoid the most treacherous roads ahead of the day’s first climb, the Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne, knocking five kilometres off the overall distance.

By that point, the day’s early break had established itself, with Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff), Paolo Tiralongo (Astana), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) and Jeremy Roy (FDJ) slipping off the front inside the opening 15 kilometres of racing. The seven combined well together to cover 42 kilometres in the first hour and build up a lead of 8:45 over a main peloton where most of the contenders were all but unrecognisable beneath capes, snoods and jackets.

Etixx-QuickStep was the first team to take matters in hand at the head of the bunch, working to stabilise the break’s advantage, and they were later joined on the front by Alejandro Valverde’s Movistar guard. Their combined efforts chipped away at the break’s lead over the Saint-Roch – the roadsides on the climb lighter of Luxembourg fans than during the Schleck brothers’ heyday – and by the Côte de Wanne with 84 kilometres remaining, the gap was less unwieldy 4 minutes.

The only real frisson on the Haut-Levée was a banal crash involving Chris Froome, but the Sky rider unclipped before falling into the verge and quickly re-joined the peloton. On reaching the second feed at Stavelot shortly afterwards, however, the race was again buffeted by driving snow. Though, mercifully, it was not sticking to the ground, the headwind and grim conditions underlined that this was to be a war of attrition.

Movistar’s pace-making brought the leaders back to within two minutes on the Col du Rosier, where the snow was replaced by steady rain and where Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) decided to counter-attack from the peloton, and he was still giving chase alone over the Col du Rosier. At the front, meanwhile, De Marchi fragmented the unity of the leading group by attacking near the summit. 48.5 kilometres from home, De Marchi, De Gendt and Edet had a lead of 1:50 over the peloton.

The endgame

Race organisers introduced the Rue Naniot, a 600-metre cobbled climb with an average gradient of 11% in a bid to discourage riders from playing a waiting game, and it duly produced the race-winning attack. There was, however, the suggestion that its presence softened the impact of the previous climbs, with the favourites riding conservatively and sending teammates up the road instead.

There was next to no movement in the bunch on the Côte de La Redoute, once a key flashpoint of the race, but the race was ignited on the 15km run to the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons, the third last climb. Andriy Grivko (Astana) went on the attack while Etixx-QuickStep drove a fearsome pace on the downhill that saw Edet and De Marchi, the last remnants of the breakaway, swallowed up.

Carlos Betancur, amazingly opting for bare legs over leg warmers, then attacked on the approach to the Côte de Saint-Nicholas, before Grivko tried his luck again and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) also got involved. When they hit the climb, Betancur made another move and the pace was such that Vincenzo Nibali and Simon Gerrans were both dropped.

Bardet attacked over the top of the climb, and then Diego Rosa and Ilnur Zakarin went on the offensive, but a group of around 25 riders would be together jotling for position as they hit the Rue Naniot. About halfway up the 600-metre climb, Albasini surged and the steep gradients took their toll, with gaps appearing among the main group.

Valverde was left in the middle of the group as Sanchez, Costa and Poels proved the only ones who could stay on terms with Albasini. With most riders shorn of teammates, a concerted chase never materialised and, as the road kicked up again into Ans, it became clear the group of four had done enough to earn the right to fight for the victory.

Poels was the first to go, and he led into the final left-hand bend. Albasini looked in a good position on the Dutchman’s wheel but Poels hung on impressively to seal the biggest win of his career.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky6:24:29
2Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
3Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida
4Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team0:00:04
5Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:09
6Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:11
7Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team0:00:12
8Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha
9Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
11Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
12Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
13Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
14Michael Valgren (Den) Tinkoff Team
15Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
16Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
17Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team
18Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
19Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data
20Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
21Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling
22Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
23Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
24Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - Merida0:00:40
25Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
26Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
27Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Astana Pro Team
28Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
29Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:47
30Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:18
31Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre - Merida0:01:29
32Huub Duyn (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton
33Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
34Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
35Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
36Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
37Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:01:41
38Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:01:51
39Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:53
40Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
41Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling
42Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data
43Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff Team0:01:56
44Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
45Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
46Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
47Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step
48Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
49Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton
50Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Movistar Team0:02:01
51Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:02:21
52Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal
53Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) Dimension Data0:02:22
54Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:35
55Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida0:02:40
56Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge0:02:49
57Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:02:51
58David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step
59Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
60Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Trek-Segafredo0:03:00
61Laurens De Plus (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:03:11
62Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:39
63Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:04:02
64Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton0:04:17
65Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:04:33
66Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ
67Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEdge
68Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
69Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky0:04:38
70Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre - Merida0:05:27
71Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
72Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJ
73Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
74Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ
75Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ
76Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
77Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
78Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
79Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
80Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
81Yury Trofimov (Rus) Tinkoff Team
82Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
83Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky
84Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
85Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo
86José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18
87Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
88Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
89Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:05:47
90Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
91Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
92Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff Team
93Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data
94Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:06:11
95Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - Merida0:06:49
96Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team Katusha0:06:50
97Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdge0:07:18
98Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
99Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:07:24
100Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
101Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
102Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:07:49
103Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
104Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton0:08:01
105Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step0:08:17
106Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie0:08:19
107Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:08:31
108Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff Team0:08:42
109Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:09:07
110Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 180:09:31
111Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:10:31
112Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
113Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team
114Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
115Fredrik Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin
116Lawrence Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
117Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team
118Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team
119Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:11:35
120Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
121Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:11:47
122Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:12:25
123Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:12:48
124Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
125Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
126Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:12:53
127Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:12:56
128Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
129Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) IAM Cycling
130Reinier Honig (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton0:13:27
131Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:13:36
132Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
133Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:14:06
134Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek-Segafredo
135Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
136Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale Pro Cycling
137Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
138Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
139Sindre Skjoestad Lunke (Nor) Team Giant-Alpecin
140Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
141Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
142Oliver Zaugg (Swi) IAM Cycling
143Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
144Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Team Katusha
145Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18
146Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
147Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
148Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton
149David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling
150Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:14:42
151Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:14:44
152Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
153Caleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
154Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFPetr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
DNFTiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha
DNFRein Taaramae (Est) Team Katusha
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) Lampre - Merida
DNFMario Jorge Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida
DNFPavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Team
DNFDario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFPaolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
DNFOmar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Dimension Data
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Dimension Data
DNFJack Haig (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
DNFDaryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
DNFJérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMarinus Cornelis Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFTony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFGregor Muhlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
DNFDominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
DNFJarlinson Pantano Gomez (Col) IAM Cycling
DNFClement Chevrier (Fra) IAM Cycling
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
DNFLilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFJeremy Cornu (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFFabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFFabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFPerrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFAngelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFTom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling
DNFBenjamin King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling
DNFMichael Woods (Can) Cannondale Pro Cycling
DNFJack Bobridge (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
DNFBram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
DNFDennis Van Winden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
DNFAlexey Vermeulen (USA) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
DNFMichel Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton
DNFNick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton
DNFArthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ
DNFKévin Reza (Fra) FDJ
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFJens Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
DNFArmindo Fonseca (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
DNFJulien Loubet (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept

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