Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021

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Pogacar denies Alaphilippe to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) takes the win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) takes the win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) out-sprinted world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021.

The Tour de France winner made the winning move on the final climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons with 13km to go along with Alaphilippe, third-placed finisher David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), four-time Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation).

The five eked out a 30-second margin but, with the finish line in sight, the five played a game of cat-and-mouse as the chasing group closed in.

Alaphilippe jumped first but Pogacar used the draft to preserve his momentum and came around with the bike throw to the line to win by half a wheel.

It was the second time that Alaphilippe had the victory in La Doyenne only to see it evaporate before his eyes. In the postponed 2020 edition, Alaphilippe celebrated too soon and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) beat him by a tyre-width, although the Frenchman was later relegated to fifth.

Pogacar was in that group in the autumn edition in 2020 and was miffed that Alaphilippe had deviated from his line and forced him to stop his sprint. His revenge came in the sunshine of the spring Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021.

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2021 Liège-Bastogne-Liège standings
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 6:39:26
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
6Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:07
7Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
8Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:09
10Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious

2020 edition

Known as La Doyenne - the oldest of the Classics - Liège-Bastogne-Liège closes out the Ardennes Classics with a last-man-standing war of attrition across 259.1km and 11 classified climbs in the rolling hills of eastern Belgium.

From 1992 until 2019, Liège-Bastogne-Liège finished in the industrial suburb of Ans rather than in Liège with the last climb of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas just 5.5km from an uphill run-in to the finish line.

In 2019, the race finish returned to the centre of Liège now with the Côte de la Roche-Aux-Faucons the final climb with 13.3km to go.

The move hasn't turned the Monument into a sprinter's affair, however, with 2019's rainy edition won by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) after a solo attack on the Roche-Aux-Faucons. 

In 2020, the race was held in late October after being postponed due the coronavirus pandemic. New world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) sparked the winning move on the final climb, and was followed by Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb). 

The four riders cooperated but still had a slim margin over the chasing group. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain McLaren) attacked to bridge across, leading out the sprint. Alaphilippe dodged his way through the group and celebrated what he thought was a victory only to have Roglic continue through and pip him at the line. The jury later relegated the Frenchman for irregular sprinting to fifth, with Hirschi and Pogacar rounding out the podium behind Roglic.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège route

Liège-Bastogne-Liège winners

Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a maker of legends, and no male rider has won more than the biggest Belgian name in cycling, Eddy Merckx, who accumulated five titles in the race between 1969 and 1975.

The most successful active rider is the evergreen Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who has four wins (2006, 2008, 2015, 2017) - equalling Moreno Argentin (1985, 1986, 1987, 1991) - and the most podium appearances in history with eight. His 2017 victory also made him the oldest winner of the race at 36 and 363 days.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège climbs

  • Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne, 183.2 km. to go
  • Côte de Saint-Roch, 135.9 km. to go
  • Côte de Mont-le-Soie, 95.1 km. to go
  • Côte de Wanne, 86.8 km. to go
  • Côte de Stockeu (stèle Eddy Merckx), 80.2 km. to go
  • Côte de la Haute-Levée, 76 km. to go
  • Col du Rosier, 61.8 km. to go
  • Côte de Desnié, 48.4 km. to go
  • Côte de La Redoute, 35.3 km. to go
  • Côte des Forges, 23.4 km. to go
  • Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, 13.4 km. to go

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021 teams

  • AG2R Citroën Team
  • Alpecin-Fenix
  • Astana-Premier Tech
  • Bahrain Victorious
  • Bingoal WB
  • Bora-Hansgrohe
  • Cofidis
  • Deceuninck-QuickStep
  • EF Education-Nippo
  • Gazprom-RusVelo
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
  • Israel Start-up Nation
  • Jumbo-Visma
  • Lotto Soudal
  • Movistar Team
  • Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
  • Team Arkea-Samsic
  • Team BikeExchange
  • Team DSM
  • Team Qhubeka Assos
  • Total Direct Energie
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • UAE Team Emirates

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