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As it happened: Remco Evenepoel conquers Liège-Bastogne-Liège for a second year

Winner's podium 2023 Liége-Bastogne-Liège

Remco Evenepoel wins the 2022 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Image credit: Getty)

How to watch Liège-Bastogne-Liège – live streaming

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Start List

Liège-Bastogne-Liège contenders - 2 favourites and 8 outsiders

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023 route

A duel delayed - Tadej Pogacar and Remco Evenepoel face off at Liège-Bastogne-Liège


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 109th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

It's an unexpectedly sunny day in Liège, although thunderstorms could yet hit the race later according to the Belgian weather forecasts.

The breaking news of the morning is that Jumbo-Visma are missing two of their key support riders, Tosh Van der Sande and Sam Oomen, due to COVID-19. You can read the full report here: Oomen and Van der Sande non-starters at Liege with COVID-19

Meanwhile the sign-on is in full swing at Liège's Quai des Ardennes, and the race is due to start in about 10 minutes time with a three kilometre neutralised section.

Tom Pidcock has already talked to the media at the start. The British contender says he is in good shape and feeling confident. Or as our colleagues in report he said: "I feel pretty good today. I have the legs to follow [Tadej] Pogačar and [Remco] Evenepoel."

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023 is widely seen as a duel between Remco Evenepoel, defending champion and Tadej Pogačar, winner of the same race in 2021 and who has dominated the Classics this season with a jawdropping 12 victories to date. To read a full preview of how they and the other contenders could fare today, Cyclingnews' Patrick Fletcher has a detailed analysis here:
Liège-Bastogne-Liège contenders - 2 favourites and 8 outsiders

The race is moving through Liège en route to the official start.

A third rider is DNS for Liège this morning in addition to Sam Oomen and Tosh Van der Sande (Jumbo-Visma). Samuele Battistella (Astana-Qazaqstan) is also not taking part.

258.1 kilometres to go

The weather is dry (for now), thunderstorms expected later, and mid-morning temperatures 14.5 degrees Celsius. Of interest for later in the race is the 22 kmh south-easterly wind, which means a headwind all the way to Bastogne, and a tailwind on the long grind back to Liège.

A six-man group and a five-man group fuse to form the first break of the day: they are: Johan Meens (Bingoal-WB); Ruben Apers (Flanders-Baloise); Jason Osborne (Alpecin-Deceuninck); Frederik Dversnes (Uno-X Pro Cycling); Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan); Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty); Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ); Alexandre Balmer (Jayco-AIUIa); Hector Carretero (Kern-Pharma); Matthis Le Berre (Arkéa-Samsic) and Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies).

238 kilometres to go

UAE Team Emirates and Soudal-QuickStep take control at the front of the bunch for the two headline favourites of the day, Tadej Pogačar and Remco Evenepoel. But the break's margin continues to rise.

Ben Healy’s second place in Amstel Gold and before that Brabantse Pijl have brought the young Irishman into the spotlight and the EF Education-EasyPost rider had this to say on Saturday afternoon about his chances in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where last year he was a DNF.

The gap has gone up for the 11 riders ahead to just over 3:00. But it's not going any higher for now.

218 kilometres to go

Meanwhile Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes is fast approaching its finale. You can check out Cyclingnews' live updates from the race here.

The climbs on the Liège-Bastogne-Liège menu today:

Km 69: Côte de la Roche-en-Ardennes (2.9km, 5.6%)

207 kilometres to go

Here's a shot of the break of the day

4:00 for the break as they crest the summit of the first climb of the day, the Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne. 

EF Education-Easy Post add their shoulder to the wheel in the bunch's pursuit of the 11 man move as the gap oscillates between four and five minutes.

And Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes has just concluded. To find out who won in what was a breathtaking finale, our live report can be reached here.

A sudden moment of high drama: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) is caught up in a crash and has abandoned

Pogacar was caught up in a crash at km 84.5 with EF Education-EasyPost's Mikkel Honoré

UAE stopped en masse to wait for Pogačar but he opted to quit. Honore has also abandoned.  This means the top favourite for the Ardennes Classic has quit the race. We'll bring you more news as it comes through.

The break, meanwhile, has reached the most southerly point of the race and is now in Bastogne, and the gap is around 4:00.

The ASO race website reports that Pogačar is in the UAE team car and that all the other UAE riders are back in the bunch.

127 kilometres to go

Our report on the Pogacar crash can be reached here

Another shot of the break

The latest Tweet from UAE says that Pogačar is on his way to hospital for a check-up a wrist injury

Amidst all the drama involving Pogačar, the bike race continues. The gap for the 11 riders ahead has shrunk to just under four minutes. 

The race is currently racing through the southern uplands of the Ardennes, and have roughly 20 kilometres to go before they hit the Côte de Mont-le-Soie, the third of the 11 classified climbs of the day.

More info on the Pogačar crash, courtesy of sporza, who quote RTBF in-race commentator Axel Merckx, as claiming both Pogačar and Mikkel Honore, who also crashed, had punctured prior to falling.

The gap for the 11 riders ahead has shrunk to just over three minutes as we approach the Mont-le-Soie and the business end of the race.

David Gaudu, who finished on the Liège podium in 2021, has been dropped from the peloton, the official race website says. Soudal-QuickStep, meanwhile, are leading the chase and the break only has two minutes' advantage.

2:13 for the break as the race heads up the Côte de Mont-le-Soie, the third climb of the day.

Eight riders left in the break: Johan Meens (Bingoal-WB) -

Soudal-QuickStep power things along as the race heads up the Cote de Wanne, the first of the infamous trio of Wanne-Stockeu-Haute-Levèe 

Attack by Jan Tratnik (Jumbo-Visma), with Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) aslo moving out of the peloton.

Enric Mas (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) are both struggling as the remnants of the break move ahead. 

Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) is also in difficulties.

The race has dropped off the Côte de Wanne and is now heading towards the fearsomely steep Côte de Stockeu, which has the 'Eddy Merckx stone' at the top.

The counter-attackers of Sheffield and Tratnik have swept up straggler Alexandre Balmer  (Jayco-AIUIa) from the break and lost Madouas. 

On the grimly steep Stockeu, Tratnik drops Sheffield and Balmer and sets off in pursuit of the  remnants of the break ahead.

Soudal-Quickstep continue to drive on, with one former World Champion working hard for another: Julian Alaphilippe, finally back after injuries, keeps the pace high and keeps Evenepoel's cause very much alive in the break.

After the ultra-steep but thankfully short Stockeu, the peloton barrels back down into the valley and onto the third of the ultra-difficult trio of climbs, the Côte de la Haute-Levèe (3km, 6.3%).

Bahrain Victorious and Ineos Grenadiers briefly take over the chase on the Côte de la Haute-Levèe (3km, 6.3%), as Alaphilippe drops back and his teammates take over.

Tratnik ploughs on with his sole pursuit of the break on the Côte de la Haute-Levèe and has cut the gap to 30 seconds. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën), meanwhile, becomes the umpteeth outside favourite to be dropped.

73 kilometres to go

The infamous Wanne-Stockeu-Haut Levée trio has wreaked havoc in the peloton, and just 60-70 riders remain, as Louis Vervaeke heads the chase for Soudal-QuickStep.  

Spots of water drip down the TV camera as another rain shower hits the race, and Tratnik reaches the five riders ahead.

64 kilometres to go

The race moves onto the Col du Rosier (4.5km, 5.7%), the longest climb of the day and Tratnik takes a long turn at the front of the break, meaning Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies) is struggling.

The break splinters almost completely under Tratnik's efforts and only Jason Osborne (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan) managed to hold onto his back wheel - although to judge from the way Velasco is grimacing he won't be there for long.

Alaphilippe returns to the front of the peloton and turns up the volume one last time. Evenepoel is fourth in the string, with Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) glued to the Belgian's back wheel in yet another strong performance for the young Irishman.

Alaphilippe swings off and Louis Vervaeke and Ilan Van Wilder are the last riders at the front for Soudal-QuickStep and Evenepoel. 

Tratnik ploughs on imperturbably as Jason Osborne (Alpecin-Deceuninck) starts to struggle with just over a kilometre to go on the Rosier.

At the summit of the Rosier, the two race leaders (Tratnik and Velasco) have a gap of just over a minute on a peloton led by QuickStep-Soudal. They've now got a long, rainsoaked descent to tackle before the next climb, the Côte de Desnié (1.6km, 7.4%).

A little more info on the Pogačar crash via Sporza and an in-race interview with the UAE team car, saying that "He is being examined in hospital because he has pain in his hand."

Tratnik and Velasco are still ahead of the peloton but having come off the Rosier, the gap is down to 40 seconds and the lead race car has just shot past the duo, which is hardly a vote of optimism.

 A kilometre to go on to the summit of the relatively benign Cote de Desnié (1.6km, 7.4%) and Tratnik and Velasco have a 40 second advantage. The rain is now setting in more heavily.

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) makes a determined dig from the peloton, testing QuickStep-Soudal's control at the head of affairs and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) storms past him. Neither attack goes anywhere, but it reduces Evenepoel's support to just one rider, Ilan Van Wilder, at the front of the bunch,  Louis Vervaeke has been dropped.

45 kilometres to go

Next up is the Côte de la Redoute, the most emblematic climb of the whole of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. If you want to quickly swot up on it before the ascent, you could do worse than read this: What is the Côte de la Redoute? Inside the decisive climb of Liège-Bastogne-Liège

And here's a picture of the LBL peloton being led along by Soudal-QuickStep

The tension is mounting perceptibly in the peloton as we head down the long, long descent to the Côte de la Redoute. This was the scene of Evenepoel's solo attack in last year's LBL, don't forget. So even if this year's edition doesn't reach the final false flat where Evenepoel made its move but veers off some 200 metres from the summit to tackle another climb, the unclassified Côte de Cornemont, straight afterwards, it's always a key moment of the entire race.

Tratnik and Velasco have reached the riverside town of Remouchamps at the foot of La Redoute with an advantage of 26 seconds.

Tratnik and Velasco - who has been on the front of the race for over 200 kilometres - are still just ahead at the foot of La Redoute.

Van Wilder is moving ahead at the front  of the peloton and Evenepoel is just behind. 

The peloton is forming a long string of pain behind Van Wilder and Evenepoel.

500 metres from the top are caught by the Van Wilder-led peloton. The break of the day is over.

Pidcock is still shadowing Evenepoel as the group steadily is getting smaller. No attack yet from the Belgian.

33 kilometres to go

Pidcock powers through the rain to join Evenepoel. Pidcock had said pre-race he was confident he'd be able to stay with him and so far he's keeping his word.

Medical update from UAE's Dr. Adrian Rotunno (Medical Director) : "Tadej suffered fractures to the left scaphoid and lunate bones. The scaphoid will require surgery which he will undergo this afternoon with a specialist hand surgeon here in Genk."

Evenepoel drives on with Pidcock on his wheel and the two have an advantage of 12-15 seconds from Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) and his teammate Ciccone.

30 kilometres to go

When Evenepoel went, Pidcock just didn't have an answer. And the gap in less than a kilometre is now 30 seconds. Simply staggering.

Evenepoel drives on alone and barring a skidding back wheel on a right-hand bend, he seems to be doing just fine. Monument number two in the Belgian's career isn't in the bag yet, there's still the Cote des Forges, and the horrendously steep Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons to come, but it's looking very good for him.

Pidcock, meanwhile, is on the point of being swept up by Skjelmose and Ciccone.

23 kilometres to go

Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) and Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) are doing their utmost to bridge across to the four chasers behind. The rain, meanwhile, is falling in sheets.

Lotto-Dstny rider Andreas Kron has taken a spectacular tumble into a hedge and is lying headfirst in the garden, feet pointing skywards. But very thankfully he gets back on his feet looking more or less unscathed.

The peloton has swelled considerably, sweeping up all the chasers and it's now 1:17 down on Evenepoel.

If Evenepoel does stay away, then he will have saved his team's Classics season for a second straight year, in the same race to boot.

Evenepoel is moving through the parkland and backstreets that leads to the Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons, the last classified climb of the 2023 LBL and of the Spring Classics as well. 1:17 the gap. 

Evenepoel is looking anything but uncomfortable despite the rain and the horrendous steepness of this climb. Behind Ben Healy launches an attack, looking for his third Classics runner's up spot in 10 days.

Sivakov replies to Healy's attack, dragging Buitrago up with him, but Healy can respond well and tries to go clear for a second time.

Evenepoel reaches the top of the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons with a 1:18 advantage on counter-attackers Buitrago and Healy.

No comment needed

10 kilometres to go

And as the battle for victory becomes ever-clearer, the battle for the right to stand next to Evenepoel is hotting up. Healy is still ahead of Buitrago and a counter-attacking Tom Pidcock and the remnants of the peloton, but the gaps are tiny. All bar the one to the man ahead, that is.

Evenepoel still has a 90 second advantage as he tears down the final descent into LIège.

Pidcock, Healy and Buitrago have 30 seconds on the chasers, in a three-way battle for two remaining spots on the podium.

Evenepoel is set to become the first World Champion to win Liège since Moreno Argentin won in for a third of four times in 1987.

A grin at the cameras from Evenepoel. He's almost there, and he knows it.

Evenepoel has time to talk to the team car as he powers under a motorway bridge. The gap drops slightly to 1:24, but he's taking it calmly as he knows he's got this in the bag.

One last right-hander and it's into the finishing straight at the Quai des Ardennes for Remco Evenepoel.

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) wins the 109th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Healy leads into the right hand corner ahead of Buitrago and Pidcock.

Buitrago launches the sprint, but Pidcock comes round easily to take second. Buitrago is third, Healy fourth.

Evenepoel waved two fingers as he crossed the line, a reminder that he is also the first repeat winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège since Italian Classics great Michele Bartoli in 1997-1998.

The question of what could have happened had Pogačar stayed in the race and not crashed out can't be ignored, of course, but ultimately the answer is the same as ever in these situations:  we'll never know. There's no denying that was a hugely impressive performance by Evenepoel whatever and it provides a major boost to his and his team's morale for the Giro d'Italia as well.

And here's a first photo of the winner:

The results from the 109th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Some words from the winner: “It was a difficult race, with the rain the roads were quite slippy, my back wheel went a bit like it did last year [on a corner. But what a race my team did, with colossal support and it wasn’t easy either with those early attacks from Jumbo-Visma.”

And some comments from Tom Pidcock (Ineos-Grenadiers), second in the 2023 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"Of course this was hard, there are no easy races now, and I measured my effort on La Redoute so I knew I could close the gap on the descent. But the next climb `[the Cote de Cornémont] I was on the limit and I knew I could either commit full gas and maybe end up for nothing, or wait a bit and try and go for second. And I still got second, so I think the plan paid off."

For the full Cyclingnews' report on the 2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, click here:

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Remco Evenepoel claims stunning solo victory as Tadej Pogacar crashes out

And here's a picture of the winner's podium, l-r Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) - third; Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) - winner; Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) - second.

That wraps it up from Cyclingnews live coverage, but check on the website for further news updates and the full race report throughout the evening.

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