Jungels wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Bob Jungels capped Quick-Step Floors’ remarkable Classics campaign by soloing to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after forging clear over the top of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons with some 18 kilometre still to race.

From there, the Luxembourg champion time trialled his way to the finish, dosing his effort carefully on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas and then making light work of the Côte de Ans to claim the honours, 37 seconds clear of Michael Woods (EF-Drapac) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), who escaped a fragmented chasing group in the closing kilometres.

"I made the most of my rouleur abilities in the finale. I needed to be very careful with how I used my strength, especially when we got to Saint-Nicolas," Jungels said. "I couldn't push too deep. And then I still feared being caught in the finale. It was the longest kilometre in my life. I only saw I could win when I entered the last curve, not before."

Jungels’ teammate Julian Alaphilippe crossed the line just behind them in fourth, pointing to his jersey as he did so. Buoyed by victory at Flèche Wallonne in midweek, the Frenchman was the centre of much attention in the build-up to this race, and his presence in the reduced chasing group was pivotal to Jungels’ victory.

Nobody, not least four-time winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), wanted to give the fast-finishing Alaphilippe a free ride to the finish, even if it was to the obvious detriment of organising a coherent pursuit.

The general lack of organisation among the chasers – allied to Jungels’ prodigious strength – meant that the Luxembourger had 53 seconds in hand come the Saint-Nicolas, where Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) set out in determined lone pursuit.

Vandendert’s ferocious acceleration saw him close to within 25 seconds near the summit, but he lacked the horsepower to match Jungels over the other side, and was already beginning to fade even before the drag to Ans began in earnest.

In the game of bluff and counter-bluff behind, meanwhile, few seemed fully committed to the chase, and Alaphilippe even looked to take advantage of the caginess by accelerating in pursuit of Vandendert with a shade under four kilometres to go. That move withered once Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Valverde bridged across, and as the chasers fanned across the road, it was already evident that Jungels would, barring a late collapse, win Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Woods and Bardet sensed a lull and stole away from the chasers on the approach to Ans, catching and passing Vandendert on the final drag before the left-hand turn onto the finishing straight, but by that point, Jungels was already home and hosed.

Jungels’ margin of victory was the biggest since his fellow countryman Andy Schleck’s startling solo victory in 2009, and like that lone raid nine years ago, the winning move took shape on the Côte de Roche-aux-Faucons.

Jungels set a fearsome tempo on the climb itself that only Woods, Sergio Henao (Sky) and Jakob Fulgsang (Astana) could follow. That quartet was pegged back just shy of the summit, but rather than relent, Jungels kept piling on the pressure as the road flattened out and dropped, suddenly opening a lead of 20 seconds over a leading group that had been pared down to 15 or so riders by the climb.

It seemed far too early and too audacious a move to succeed in a race that has rewarded a more conservative approach over the past decade or so, but Quick-Step are seemingly operating on another plane this Spring. In many respects, Jungels’ attack was a replica of the tactic that proved so successful for Niki Terpstra at the Tour of Flanders, while Alaphilippe performed a decent imitation of Philippe Gilbert’s man-marking behind to help him augment his buffer.

"It's the greatest one-day race to me, the most beautiful," Jungels said. "As a Luxembourger, I had lots of supporters cheering for me and my family also came to see me racing, so it’s very special to win here."

How it unfolded

It was a day of unseasonal warmth in the Ardennes, with a temperature of 19 degrees at the start on Liège’s Place Saint Lambert, which rose into the mid-twenties as the afternoon progressed. The opening kilometres saw nine riders – Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Loïc Vliegen (BMC), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Mark Christian, Casper Pedersen (Aqua Blue Sport), Paul Ourselin (Direct Énergie), Antoine Warnier (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic) and Mathias Van Gompel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) – forge clear, building up a maximum advantage of 6 minutes and holding a buffer of 4 minutes until deep into the race.

As ever, the succession of climbs that followed the turn at Bastogne gradually began to take a toll on the peloton, though the severity of the parcours also means that few riders or teams are minded to show their hands until the last hour or so of racing. Instead, UAE-Emirates kept tabs on the break with Dan Martin in mind, before the Côte de la Redoute, with 35km to go, signalled the beginning of the denoument.

Up front, the impressive Baugnies was the final survivor of the break, dropping Christian, Perez and Ourselin on Le Redoute, while Enric Mas (Quick-Step) whittled down the main peloton with a brutal turn of pace-making that did for 2016 winner Wout Poels (Sky), among others.

Vincenzo Nibali’s Bahrain-Merida squad took over on the fast run-in to the Roche-aux-Faucons, catching Baugnies in the process, but the Sicilian would make little impact on the climb, and was himself distanced shortly after Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step) ignited affairs with a rasping but short-lived acceleration.

Sergio Henao was next to try his luck, and the Colombian was soon joined by Jungels, Woods and Fuglsang in opening a small gap at the front, while a number of contenders – Michael Matthews among them – lost contact behind. Jungels persisted in his effort over the top, and suddenly the race took on a new complexion, as the chasers scrambled to organise themselves behind.

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Dan Martin seemed the most determined of the chasers, or perhaps the most alert to the danger posed by Jungels, but their attempts to form a counter-attack ultimately came to nothing. Martin’s frustration would be compounded by a puncture 8km from the finish that ruled him out of the hunt for a podium berth.

Fuglsang eventually sent Astana teammate Davide Villella to the front to try to bring some order to the chase, but the other favourites seemed either to lack the teammates (in the case of Valverde and Bardet, for example) or the motivation (Dumoulin, for instance, had Michael Matthews in the third group) to contribute wholeheartedly to the chase.

Perhaps there was little to be done in any case. Jungels’ concession of ground on the Saint-Nicolas might briefly have raised hopes among the chasers, but a rider of his qualities was hardly likely to squander a head start of almost a minute, and so it proved.

"Bob Jungels was the strongest guy today. He deserves his victory. When he went clear on La Roche-aux-Faucons, the pace was really high," Bardet said. "We attacked in the finale and we weren’t able to see him so we knew we were racing for the second place because he’s such a class rider, we knew we couldn’t bridge the gap on the flat."

Jungels’ victory is the third by a Luxembourg rider at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after Marcel Ernzer in 1954 and Andy Schleck nine years ago, and it continues a startling period of success for Quick-Step Floors, who have now won 27 races in 2018 through 12 different riders. At times, they almost seem to be racing among themselves.



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Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors6:24:44
2Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:00:37
3Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 2 - Cell 2
4Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:00:39
5Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 6 - Cell 2
8Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-ScottRow 7 - Cell 2
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 8 - Cell 2
10Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:45
12Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:48
13Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:51
14Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:06
15Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:24
16Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:44
17Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:08
18Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates0:02:41
19Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:50
20Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:02:53
21Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:56
22Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 21 - Cell 2
23Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:07
24Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 23 - Cell 2
25Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 24 - Cell 2
26Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 25 - Cell 2
27Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 26 - Cell 2
28Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 27 - Cell 2
29Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team SkyRow 28 - Cell 2
30Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension DataRow 29 - Cell 2
31Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 30 - Cell 2
32Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 32 - Cell 2
34Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 33 - Cell 2
35Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step FloorsRow 34 - Cell 2
36Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 35 - Cell 2
37Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 37 - Cell 2
39Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 39 - Cell 2
41Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 41 - Cell 2
43Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-HansgroheRow 42 - Cell 2
44Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:15
46Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:17
47Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 46 - Cell 2
48Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:18
49Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 48 - Cell 2
50Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:22
51Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 50 - Cell 2
52Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 51 - Cell 2
53Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:03:24
54Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:03:25
55Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Trek-Segafredo0:03:34
56Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:03:37
57Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:03:42
58Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:04:01
59Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team0:05:25
60Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:06:00
62Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:08:50
63Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb0:09:08
64José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team0:09:17
65Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-Alpecin0:09:18
66Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Aqua Blue SportRow 65 - Cell 2
67Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb0:09:24
69Alex Howes (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:10:11
70Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 69 - Cell 2
71Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 70 - Cell 2
72Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 71 - Cell 2
73Paul Ourselin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 72 - Cell 2
74Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 73 - Cell 2
75Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 74 - Cell 2
76Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 75 - Cell 2
77Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-JumboRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 78 - Cell 2
80Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 79 - Cell 2
81Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 80 - Cell 2
82Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension DataRow 81 - Cell 2
83Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 82 - Cell 2
84Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:11:36
85David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:11:43
86Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:12:03
87Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 86 - Cell 2
88Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-SegafredoRow 87 - Cell 2
89Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Benjamin King (USA) Dimension DataRow 89 - Cell 2
91Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 90 - Cell 2
92Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 91 - Cell 2
93Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 92 - Cell 2
94Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 93 - Cell 2
95Bram Tankink (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 94 - Cell 2
96Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 97 - Cell 2
99Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 98 - Cell 2
100Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-ScottRow 99 - Cell 2
101Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:12:47
102Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky0:14:06
103Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 102 - Cell 2
104Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb0:14:32
105Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 104 - Cell 2
106Edward Dunbar (Irl) Aqua Blue SportRow 105 - Cell 2
107Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
108Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:15:48
109Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 108 - Cell 2
110Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 109 - Cell 2
111Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 110 - Cell 2
112Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 111 - Cell 2
113Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 112 - Cell 2
114Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 113 - Cell 2
115Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 114 - Cell 2
116Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 115 - Cell 2
117Wout Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 116 - Cell 2
118Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 117 - Cell 2
119Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 118 - Cell 2
120Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:16:35
121Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:18:05
122Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates0:18:06
123Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 122 - Cell 2
124Rory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team Emirates0:18:15
125Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
127Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-AlpecinRow 126 - Cell 2
128Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue SportRow 127 - Cell 2
129Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 128 - Cell 2
130Justin Jules (Fra) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 129 - Cell 2
131Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
132Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFRomain Sicard (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFFloris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-JumboRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFBert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFJos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFDanny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFAlexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 137 - Cell 2
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 138 - Cell 2
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFBryan Nauleau (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 140 - Cell 2
DNFRein Taaramäe (Est) Direct EnergieRow 141 - Cell 2
DNFPiet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 142 - Cell 2
DNFDries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 143 - Cell 2
DNFMathias Van Gompel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 144 - Cell 2
DNFMaxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 145 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Deruette (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 146 - Cell 2
DNFLaurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 147 - Cell 2
DNFAntoine Warnier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 148 - Cell 2
DNFGregory Daniel (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 149 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 150 - Cell 2
DNFMaxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFChristophe Masson (Fra) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 152 - Cell 2
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 153 - Cell 2
DNFJulien Mortier (Bel) WB Aqua Protect VeranclassicRow 154 - Cell 2
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 155 - Cell 2
DNFLukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team SkyRow 156 - Cell 2
DNFJohannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 157 - Cell 2
DNFFranco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFRémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 159 - Cell 2
DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 160 - Cell 2
DNFBenoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 161 - Cell 2
DNFLéo Vincent (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 162 - Cell 2
DNFKim Magnusson (Swe) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 163 - Cell 2
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 164 - Cell 2
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 165 - Cell 2
DNFLoïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 166 - Cell 2
DNFRúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-SegafredoRow 167 - Cell 2
DNFJulien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 168 - Cell 2
DNFMaxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 169 - Cell 2
DNFScott Davies (GBr) Dimension DataRow 170 - Cell 2
DNFLasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 171 - Cell 2
DNFCasper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Aqua Blue SportRow 173 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-ScottRow 174 - Cell 2


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