Welcome to our live, uninterrupted coverage from Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the third and final Monument from this spring. We'll have complete text coverage throughout the day as the race unfolds, and don't forget we've also got live race coverage from the women's race, right here.
We're about 20 minutes from the roll out here in Liege and most of the riders and teams have signed on. It's brisk out there this morning, but we should have clear skies and decent racing conditions later in the race. No major news this morning, and it looks like everyone is starting but in the women's race, Ruth Winder is out after coming into contact with a positive COVID case. Story is just here.
🇧🇪 #LBLOn an early morning in Liège! 👋🏻 pic.twitter.com/HnjzMwnZbGApril 25, 2021
Before the race gets cracking, take a look at our five-riders to watch piece. It's only slightly out of date, given that Pidcock isn't riding but just gloss over that fake news and pretend I wrote about Alejandro Valverde instead. Or Pogacar. Or anyone you want to be honest with...
This year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège will feature a total of 11 categorised climbs, spread out across 259.5 kilometres of tough, arduous racing through the lumpy terrain of Wallonia.
The first 100 kilometres are uneventful, with just one climb featured as the peloton – as per the race’s name – travels in a southerly direction towards Bastogne.
One rider included in our riders to watch piece was Mike Woods and the Canadian has spoken ahead of today's race.
"Certainly, to try and repeat the performance that I had in 2018, where I finished second – or better. I’d love to land on the podium, it’s a very strong field, and I’d like to try to go after the win. I love this race, it’s one of my favourite races on the calendar. Just like Fleche, it really suits my skillset. It’s a really demanding course, but I’m in the best form of my life and I’m feeling really strong, and as long as I have a bit of luck and my teammates are riding well, I think there’s a real opportunity to go after the win and, if not, podium."
Do you trust that the team will be there to support you? (His team asked this question, not us).
Woods: Of course! You know, certain guys have their finish lines already put on the course. You’ve got guys like Guillaume Boivin, Guy Sagiv, and Reto Hollenstein, who their goal is to just make sure I’m in position at the base of La Redoute. That’s their goal, that’s their finish line. But then guys like Daryl and Krists, they’re going to have to make it far deeper to help out and be aggressive in the race. Helping me is actually going to be them, in some instances, being on the attack, but we’ve been just bouncing off each other so well – Krists and Daryl and I, we’ve been racing so well together since the start of the year. They’ve been the guys behind my wind, and I trust them completely.
15 minutes away from the rollout of the men's edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Remember we have live race coverage from the women's race, right here. 98km to go in that race.
We're really spoiling you this morning, here's more from Woods. To be fair, I like the Pacman comparison.
What do you think makes Liege-Bastogne-Liege so unique?
"I think what makes Liege so unique is that it’s a very long race, it’s 260 k, but it’s also that with about 100-110 km to go you start hitting these climbs. There are climbs prior to that, but you start hitting these climbs and they start happening in quick succession with no opportunity for recovery. You just start getting hit over the head again and again and again. And this is one of those races that is less of a race from the front as opposed to a race from the back. Guys just start getting spat out the back. Pacman starts coming, he starts eating up guys behind and you need to be sure that you’re well placed, and you have a strong head and that you’re willing to just get through those succession of climbs."
Here's our official start list too. Five minutes until the riders leave Liege.
One bit of news for your start list, "Unfortunately, Andreas Leknessund won't start at Liège-Bastogne-Liège for us today due to sickness", Team DSM announced on social media.
And we're officially racing the 2021 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. 258km to go.
The first climb of the day, the Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne, is some way off but we should still see an early break form in the opening kilometers.
Right now Roglic is near the front, and the defending champion has a really solid team around him.
1 Primoz Roglic
2 Robert Gesink
3 Lennard Hofstede
4 Paul Martens
5 Sam Oomen
6 Christoph Pfingsten
7 Jonas Vingegaard
UAE Team Emirates were forced to miss La Fleche Wallonne but they arrive in Liege with several potential cards to play. In theory, though, it's all about Pogacar but keep an eye on McNulty too. He could go deep into the race. Pogacar is a favourite for sure though.
11 Tadej Pogacar
We have the break of the day starting to form with just over 250km to go. That didn't take long. Loïc Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Sergei Chernetski (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) are the first to break away but more riders are on the move.
246km to go
Looks like three more riders have joined in on the break's fun and we now have 7 leaders. Laurens Huys and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Loïc Vliegen and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Sergei Chernetski (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). They've already got a decent gap of almost five minutes with 246km to go.
5'50 is the latest time gap, so the bunch are really letting this one go in the early stages of the race. They won't be concerned, and they might even let the break gain ten minutes before starting to up the tempo. There's a long, long way to go.
7'20 now for the leaders with 243km to go. Rapid start from the leaders. Here's who we have up the road.
Laurens Huys and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Loïc Vliegen and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Sergei Chernetski (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).
That gap is starting to hold at the moment, so we're locked at 7'20 right now with 240km to go.
The seven leaders have reached Sougné-Remouchamps and they've now got nine minutes over the peloton, so the gap has increased yet again.
Tomasz Marczyński, 37, is the most experienced rider in the break, but not the only WorldTour rider to make the split. The rider from Poland won two stages of the Vuelta four years ago but hasn't done a huge amount since to be honest. This is his seventh ride in Liege though.
Loïc Vliegen is maybe the biggest name in the break. He was 24th in the race last year and has some decent results to his name since turning pro with BMC Racing back in 2015.
Sergei Chernetski is no push over, either. He won the Arctic Race back in 2018 and has spent time at Katusha, Caja Rural, Astana and now Gazprom. This is the 31-year-old's first start in Liege.
233km to go
The break hit ten minutes and as expected the bunch wake from their slumber and it's Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma who react first and start to up the pace. No panic, they'll just hold the break at arms length for the time being and let them fade as the race unfolds.
In other news, Chris Froome has admitted that he's not posting the same numbers in training as he did pre-Dauphine 2019 crash but that he's trusting the process as he looks to return to the top. The four-time Tour de France winner heads to Romandie next (he's won there twice) and has also talked about the Olympic Games. He admits that on his current form he won't make the cut. The story is here.
In other major news, Darwin Atapuma claimed his first UCI race victory since 2016, taking home stage 8 of the 2021 Vuelta a Colombia on Saturday. Here's our story on his win. He's one of those riders that I don't think we covered enough during his WorldTour career.
The gap has continued to rise and it's up to 10'30 now. That's brought UAE Team Emirates to the front as well. There's no concern but I think a few teams just want to have a bit more control in these early stages.
221km to go
221km to go and the gap is at 10'30 with QuickStep, Jumbo and UAE leading the chase for now.
Ten minutes for the #LBL escapees, but the peloton isn’t too concerned about this gap. We’re still a long way from the first climb of the day.April 25, 2021
🇧🇪 #LBLAfter almost 40km, a group of seven has established a lead of 10:30. All our riders have remained in the field.April 25, 2021
Rainbow stripes are earned and a deserved rarity, and what better time to pull them out than when Specialized is celebrating the presence of two World Champions on its sponsored teams, for the final monument of the spring Classics campaign?
Followers of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège will see Specialized’s Tarmac SL7 in a dashing new rainbow colourway.
Anna van der Breggen and Julian Alaphilippe will be riding the latest version of Specialized’s Tarmac, featuring a graphic design finish that pays respect to their World Champion status. The full story is here.
Here's the team based around the men's world champion for today. Stacked.
31 Julian Alaphilippe
Meanwhile, 46km to go in the women's race. One rider is off the front but the bunch are still together. Full coverage is just here.
211km to go
A reminder of the situation here. We have Laurens Huys and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Loïc Vliegen and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Sergei Chernetski (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) off the front and they have 10'20 over the peloton with 211km to go.
We're about 20km from the first ascent of the day, the Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne. It's not a major obstacle but it's the first time in the race in which the pace and rhythm will change and internally at least some riders will know if they're on a good day or not.
The peloton have dragged back 20 seconds on the seven-man break, so the gap is down to 10'10 with 203km to go.
200km to go
Just nudging into the final 200km and the gap is still holding at 10'10.
The climbs come thick and fast in the second half of the race. After our first climb, we have:
Côte de Saint-Roch
Côte de Mont-le-Soie
Côte de Wanne
Côte de Stockeu (stèle Eddy Merckx)
Côte de la Haute-Levée
Col du Rosier
Côte de Desnié
Côte de La Redoute
Côte des Forges
Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons
192km to go
192km to go and the gap is back under ten minutes for the first time in a while. It's at 9'45 with 192km to go.
The break are about to hit the foot of the first climb, the Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne. It's a 2.8km ascent with an average gradient of 6.2 per cent. 185km to go.
The bunch have just upped the pace ever so slightly and it's immediately had an effect, with the gap down to 8'50. 183km to go.
The break crest the top of the first climb intact, just as the main field are about to hit the lower slopes.
173km to go and the peloton are over the first climb of the day. The gap to the break remains stable at 8'35. There's just over 10km to go in the women's race.
Still the three favourite teams on the front with UAE, QuickStep and Jumbo doing all the work at the moment.
Just over 30km until the next climb on the course but it's rolling terrain all the way until the break hit the Côte de Saint-Roch. They've just found a few seconds on the bunch, so the gap is up to 8'40. A reminder of the riders in the break, we have Laurens Huys and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Loïc Vliegen and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Sergei Chernetski (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).
The women's race has just concluded with a thrilling finale that saw Demi Vollering beat Annemiek van Vleuten to the win. Longo Borghini was third. Here's our report, with results and photos to follow...
Here's the top ten from the women's race
|1||Demi Vollering (Ned) Team SD Worx||03:54:31|
|2||Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar Team Women||03:54:31|
|3||Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||03:54:31|
|4||Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM Racing||03:54:31|
|5||Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Team SD Worx||03:54:33|
|6||Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma Women Team||03:55:58|
|7||Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Team SD Worx||03:55:58|
|8||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope||03:55:58|
|9||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||03:56:30|
|10||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Team BikeExchange||03:56:30|
Meanwhile, back in the men's race and there are 149km to go, with the break at 8'15. The tougher terrain still awaits both the break and the main field.
A short, sharp descent for the break before the road kicks up and they start the second climb of the day, the Côte de Saint-Roch.
136km to go
Laurens Huys and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Loïc Vliegen and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Sergei Chernetski (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) hit the climb and their advantage is ticking along at just over eight minutes.
Israel Start Up Nation have joined in with the pace setting on the front of the peloton, as they look to work for Mike Woods, who missed out on the podium in La Fleche Wallonne because of some poor positioning. He's been second here before and is a real contender.
130km to go
Into the final 130km of the race and the gap continues to come down. It's at 7'14 now with the second climb of the day out of the way.
Movistar have joined the party at the front of the peloton too as they look to set things up for Valverde, who turns 41 today.
Look, I've made him a card.
There's a headwind blowing as we make our way back to Liege with 126km to go. At the back of the bunch a few riders are calling for cars and taking off some layers, which is a good indication that the race is about to hot up.
🇧🇪 RACE RECAP 🇧🇪'I was a bit sick overnight. But I think given the circumstances we still did a good race' - @AmandaSpratt 🎙 #LBLwomen #LBL 🏁https://t.co/3CBp6XSAMKApril 25, 2021
This is just a wearing down process at the moment with the break working well together but continuing to lose a few seconds here and there as the peloton show a bit more commitment. The gap is at 7'07, with 123km to go.
🇧🇪 #LBLJust over halfway... 124km to go. "Easy" going in the peloton for now, it'll heat up soon. #BicyclesChangeLives 🖐 pic.twitter.com/SkfJwt248RApril 25, 2021
All of Movistar are moving up now as UAE post a couple more domestiques on the front as well and instantly the gap comes down to 6'40. Teams in general are starting to organise themselves.
Still about 20km from the next climb, the Côte de Mont-le-Soie. 116km to go.
Bahrain Victorious have formed a gaggle of riders just off the front. They have a former winner in the race in Wout Poels of course.
Ineos are also keeping out of trouble but who is their out-and-out leader for today? They have some incredible depth within their ranks, even without Tom Pidcock in the race.
81 Richard Carapaz
Jumbo have just one rider on the front and that's been the case for most of the rae so far, as the rest of the team rally around the defending champion Primoz Roglic. 109km to go and the break are at 6'32.
100km to go
100km to go and the gap to the seven-rider break is 6'23. The Côte de Mont-le-Soie
is looming on the horizon.
Matteo Fabbro has a rear flat but he should be fine when it comes to chasing back.
The break are about to hit the foot of the Côte de Mont-le-Soie as UAE continues to drive the pace at the front of the bunch.
The climb that's coming up is only 1.7km in length but it averages over 7% and after four hours of racing it's going to hurt. This race is a real war of attrition. 96km to go.
The break lines out on the climb itself as their advantage swings a little closer to 6'00.
Tomasz Marczynski takes over at the front of the break and takes a long pull on the front. The gap continues to drop, however, and it's below six minutes now. 5'45 to be exact.
A problem for Kevin Vermaerke at the back but he's chasing again. He won the U23 version of this race in 2019, of course. A huge U23 talent and now in his first season as a WorldTour rider with Team DSM.
The break have just crested the top of the climb. 5'14 is the gap.
Luis Leon Sanchez, the man with arguably the best kit in the peloton moves to the front for Astana Premier Tech.
Nieve is the next rider to drop back to the team cars. Not if he has a problem or just wants to pick up some fresh bottles but it looks like he needs some assistance with his bike.
89km to go and the seven leaders have 5'05 as they start the climb of the Côte de Wanne.
Woods has three men on the front now and I think there's a growing sense that this race could really kick off well before the final couple of climbs. Andreas Schillinger is about to be dropped but he's not the only one.
Tony Gallopin has been dropped. That's something of a surprise this early in the race.
86km to go
Tomasz Marczynski's class is showing on the climbs as he takes another long pull towards the end of this climb. 86km to go and the gap is at 4'50.
Luis Leon Sanchez has attacked and he's joined by Fraile and Rowe. A few more then move clear as well but it's coming back together. 82km to go.
Teams like Astana want a hard race but they can't wait for riders like Pogacar and Roglic to attack. They need to break things up nice and early and that's what they're trying to do now. The gap is down to 4'20.
We're coming up to the Côte de Stockeu now. It's just 1km in length but it averages 12 percent. It's a real brute as we see Ineos lead the peloton towards the climb itself. The break have just started the ascent.
Shoulders are starting to rock in the break now and it's all gone very quiet. All you can hear is their breathing and the revving of the moto. Once again it's Tomasz Marczynski who sets the pace with a six-rider length shadow following him.
To their credit, the break make it over the climb intact but with their advantage down to 4'33 with 80km to go.
Matthews is second wheel on the climb, with Ineos riders either side of him. Gaudu is well placed too, alongside Fuglsang and Carapaz.
Vegard Stake Laengen has done a lot of work on the front today and he's starting to slide out the back of the peloton.
The break are on the Côte de la Haute-Levée, with the peloton just at the base as McNulty slips back. That's a bit of a surprise.
Enric Mas is also struggling just off the back, which is another surprise.
75km to go
75km to go and the break hold a 4'24 advantage over the peloton. Hideto Nakane has been dropped alongside McNulty.
Former winner Gilbert has a little dig and it kicks off another wave of attacks.
Alaphilippe is near the back of the peloton but he doesn't look to be in any trouble as the pace settles back down after those moves. 74km to go.
Massive acceleration from Van Avermaet.
He's taken two riders with him. 72km to go.
Jumbo Visma bring it back together but it's getting tetchy out there.
The break are holding their own at the moment with the gap holding at 4'12 for now.
The Col du Rosier is next, in about 7km as Alaphilippe's teammates take control as Roglic just settles in the middle of the peloton.
We're onto the Col du Rosier, the longest climb in the race at 4.4km, and the gap is at 4'00 with 64km to go. Surely we'll see counter attacks on this climb from within the main field.
Mechanical for a Cofidis rider as Trek attack at the foot of the climb.
The move from Trek just lines out the field. Niklas Eg is the rider in question but Cofidis hit the front next and the entire peloton has been lined out.
Alaphilippe has two men sitting second and third as Cofidis continue to lead peloton. Howes has been dropped. Kangert too.
A few splits starting to appear in the peloton as Dries Devenyns moves up and tries to settle things down but then Wellens attacks with 62km to go. The break are just at 2'46.
Alex Aranburu has kicked off the front with a good move and there's a clutch of riders chasing him down. QuickStep are looking, once more, to bring things back together.
The two breakaway riders have been caught but the attacks keep coming.
Padun is the next rider to go and he's chasing two riders from DSM and Lotto Soudal. 59km to go.
Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious), Mark Donovan (Team DSM) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) are the three counter attackers but they have Bernard chasing them down. No time gaps at the moment.
Tomasz Marczynski can miss a few turns now and tell the rest of the break that he has a teammate coming up. He's chosen to keep working though.
Mechanical for Poels, who needs assistance. It's going to be hard to come back at this point.
The break have established a better buffer though, with the gap at 3'18. The three counter attackers timed their move perfectly.
Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious), Mark Donovan (Team DSM) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) have put a minute into the peloton. 52km to go.
50km to go
The peloton have drifted out to four minutes behind the break and two minutes behind Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious), Mark Donovan (Team DSM) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal).
Two minutes for Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious), Mark Donovan (Team DSM) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) isn't a massive concern but the peloton can't really afford to give them too much time.
The seven riders in the break are now on the Côte de Desnié.
The three chasers are on the climb too.
Pieter Serry has been called into action once again as he moves up and sets the tempo for the peloton. They know that they need react at this point. 48km to go.
A few more splits in the peloton and a batch of rides are dropped. Carr from EF among them.
After this climb we have a long descent and then it's onto one of the best climbs in cycling, the Côte de La Redoute.
Howes made it back after being dropped earlier. So to recap we have our seven leaders out front with a 2'44 gap over the peloton. There's a three man counter in between both groups and we have 45km to go.
Deceuninck-QuickStep take control now with 44km to go and four of them, including Alaphilippe hit the front. Gilbert, meanwhile, is at the back of the peloton.
The three chasers are a minute back on the early break. 42km to go.
Gilbert is picking up a bidon from his team car.
Ineos move up on this rapid descent with Luke Rowe leading the charge.
37km to go and the seven leaders have reached the foot of the Côte de La Redoute.
The peloton are at 2'02 back as the break starts to split up.
We're down to five riders in the front group.
Crash in the bunch. Movistar Trek, Alpecin all have riders down.
Rota has gone solo but a couple of riders are trying to get back on terms.
It's Huys and Rota leading the race, with the bunch strung out on the climb. It's Cofidis again leading the pace.
Now Ineos take over with 35km to go.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is the rider on the front and there are three teammates on his wheel. Yates looks like their protected rider at this point.
The Padun group only have about 20 seconds on the Ineos peloton.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is sprinting up the climb and Roglic and Alphilippe aren't there. Pogacar is there. Roglic is chasing.
Roglic has made it, just.
Woods, Schachmann, Valverde are there but Ineos have the numbers.
Alaphilippe has been caught out here but there's still a long way to go.
Rota and Huys lead still as the Padun group is caught.
Adam Yates now takes a pull on the front of this dangerous move.
Yates is trying to break this move up, as the two leaders have their advantage down to 42 seconds.
We have four leaders now as Alaphilippe sits about 5 seconds off the Ineos group.
Tao Geoghegan Hart moves to the front again but the world champion has made it back. 30km to go.
The contenders group has swelled to about 40 riders. Will Ineos put the hammer down again? As we see Huys attack once more.
Roglic has just one teammate left, so he can't afford to miss any splits.
DSM are setting the pace on the front of the peloton with 27km to go as Loic Vliegen attacks and leads the race. He has 40 seconds on the contenders group.
25km to go
The penultimate climb, the Côte des Forges is coming up.
We're down to about 35 riders in the main field as we see Loic Vliegen push on and edge out a slender lead.
Trek are setting the pace now, giving Ineos and easier ride but this race is going to blow up on the next climb.
Big attack from Tao Geoghegan Hart with 24km to go.
Loic Vliegen has utterly cracked. He's going backwards and fast.
Ineos are going to set up Yates.
Tao Geoghegan Hart kicks on again and Yates is on his wheel. Matthews, Martin and several others are struggling.
23.4km and Yates has gone. He's got one rider on his wheel, Pogacar is closing.
The early break has been caught with Yates now on the front and setting the pace. Carapaz is well placed.
The Côte des Forges is such a tough climb and so many riders have missed out. Roglic, Valverde and the world champion are in the second group.
Pogacar wants to kick on because some of his closest rivals have been distanced.
21km and Carapaz attacks. Massive move.
No one is chasing!
Yates is on the front and he's stopped pedaling. Carapaz has timed this so well. Where are the pre-race favourites?
We have just one climb to go.
Jumbo and QuickStep have riders in the second group but none of their leaders as Carapaz build up a 17 second lead with 19km to go.
UAE are leading the chase but the gap has gone out to 22 seconds.
The Yates and Roglic groups have come back together but bringing back Carapaz is going to be a huge task after 240km of racing.
It's 20 seconds with 17km to go and Ineos still have Yates and Kwiatkowski waiting in the wings.
It's gone out to 25 seconds now with Carapaz tearing down this descent and heading for the last climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. 16km to go.
The Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons is just 1.3km in length but it averages 11 per cent. 21 seconds is the lead but that can be wiped out in just a few meters.
Have Roglic and co timed their races to perfection or are they simply not able to follow Ineos' race? We'll find out on this climb. 15km to go as Movistar lead the chase for Valverde.
Carapaz hits the climb. He's got 22 seconds.
The World Champion is second wheel with Knox leading. 16 seconds for Carapaz.
Gaudu moves up.
19 seconds now.
Carapaz looks good. He's got 15 seconds. Now 18.
They can see him out front. 17 seconds now.
Carapaz looks back. 12 seconds now.
Woods is there, just to the side of Alaphillipe and UAE now take over.
He's caught. Just like that. Formolo with a huge turn of speed.
Formolo grits his teeth and sets the pace with 13.5km to go.
Woods attacks with 13.4km to go and Roglic is struggling.
Woods, Pogacar, Alaphilippe, Gaudu and Valverde have made the split with 12.9km to go.
Five riders all with a chance of winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege with Roglic leading the chase. Ineos though have imploded. They don't have any left in contention.
There's still a bit of climbing left as Mohoric attacks from the second group and Chaves goes after him with Yates on his wheel.
Carapaz is out the back of the chase group.
Gaudu has lifted the pace with 11km to go. These five riders have 6 seconds but now Woods attacks again and Kwiatkowski attacks from the chase.
This is all coming back together again. 10.9km to go.
Woods keeps going and Alaphilippe brings us back to five leaders. They've got about 15 seconds. It was down to less than 10.
Now Roglic accelerates from the second group.
The gap just went from 20 seconds to 15 seconds.
Schachmann helps Roglic with the pace setting but I think Hirschi is still in this chase group. 19 seconds.
The five leaders are starting to work together but who is the favourite for a sprint? Alaphilippe? Valverde? Pogacar?
8km to go
The five leaders, Woods, Alaphilippe, Valverde, Gaudu and Pogacar have 26 seconds with 8.5km to go.
Valverde looks so calm at the back of the group and hasn't taken a turn in the last couple of minutes. I have a feeling that this race is his for the taking.
Mollema, Chaves, Schachmann, Formolo, Hirschi, they're in the chase group with Roglic but this isn't coming back at this point. 6.4km to go.
30 seconds but they're starting to watch each other. 5.9km to go.
If Valverde wins he will equal Eddy Merckx's record of five wins.
3.8km to go and the gap is holding at 32 seconds.
There are no more categorized climbs so Gaudu and Woods might have to improvise. They can't afford to wait for the sprint.
2.3km to go as the road flattens out.
1.6km to go. They're looking at each other.
Caught by Alaphilippe.
Pogacar is on the front but they've slowed right down. 1km to go.
Last corner. Valverde leads out.
Pogacar at the back.
Just 500m to go.
Pogacar beats Alaphilippe with a perfectly timed sprint.
Tadej Pogacar wins the 2021 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
It looked like Alaphilippe had the win after he came around Valverde but the Tour de France winner came from the very back to win.
Gaudu was third, Valverde fourth and Woods fifth.
Pogacar used Alaphilippe perfectly in the sprint and once more Alaphilippe misses out.
1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 06:39:26
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
6 Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:07
Here's your top-ten for Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 06:39:26
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
6 Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:07
7 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM 00:00:07
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:07
9 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:09
10 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 00:00:09
Here's our report, results and photos from today.
Lets hear from the winner:
“I’m without words. I love this race and to win here against those names is incredible. In the sprint I knew that Alaphilippe was going longer and I stayed behind him. I was just lucky in the end it was a good wind for me because I was coming from behind and could come with speed. It's unbelievable. I’m living my cycling dream,” Pogacar said at the finish.
Full story is here.
Roglic: "For me, it was too slow at the start and too fast at the finish."
“It was slow because of the headwind and then full gas in the end and the final but I just didn’t have the best legs in the final and I couldn’t follow the best ones.”
Our full story is right here.
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