- - Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2024

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2024

photo credits @ WTFK

Tadej Pogačar took a stunning victory in today’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, after attacking the field with a brutal acceleration on the Côte de la Redoute with 34km remaining.

“It was a miserable day from the start, but we kept pushing hard with the team. We made a good pace so we kept a little bit more warm,” Pogačar said of the day that had started in four-degree weather.

“It was quite emotional for me all day riding on the bike and thinking of Urška’s [Žigart, his partner] mother from two years ago when we had to go home, and last year when I broke my hand. The last two years were really difficult anyway. I was riding for Urška’s mother today and I’m really happy that finally I can again win this beautiful race,” he continued, paying tribute to his fiancée’s mother, who died shortly before this race in 2022.

“Thanks to all the team that worked for me today. It was amazing teamwork and I couldn’t have done it without them. I’m full of emotion.”

Victory in Liège this year marks Pogačar’s second victory in the race after winning in 2021, and the sixth Monument victory of his career. He will now go on to the Giro d’Italia, where he will be hoping to take his first Grand Tour victory since 2021.

Race Highlights 

Attacks got underway at the drop of the flag, with Gil Gelders (Soudal Quick-Step), Rémy Rochas (Groupama-FDJ), Enzo Leijnse (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Cristian Scaroni (Astana Qazaqstan), Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Wanty), Iván Romeo (Movistar), Fabien Doubey, Paul Ourselin (both TotalEnergies) and Loïc Vliegen (Bingoal WB) eventually forming the day’s first breakaway effort.

The group later went on to establish an advantage of around three minutes, while UAE Team Emirates and Alpecin-Deceuninck controlled the peloton.

Ourselin took the KoM points along the Côte de Bonnerue as the break held to a steady lead, slightly increasing its gap over the next 100km of racing.

Heading into the final 140km, the gap started to fall along the Côte de Saint-Roch, as UAE Team Emirates continued to apply the pressure. Meanwhile, a crash caused William Junior Lecerf (Soudal Quick-Step), Chris Hamilton (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Toon Clynhens (Flanders-Baloise) to go down, almost ensnaring Van der Poel as well. But, the world champion got through unscathed.

Shortly thereafter, another crash plagued the peloton again, tying up most of the field including Van der Poel and Tom Pidcock.

As a reult, Van der Poel found himself 45 seconds down on the main peloton, with his teammate Oscar Riesebeek working hard to bring him back, but 10km later they still hadn’t made many inroads.

In the meantime, the peloton caught the break on the Côte de Wanne, as Israel and UAE continued to set the pace to try to keep Van der Poel and his group away, while an untimely mechanical problem saw Pidcock distanced from the group.

UAE continued setting a fierce pace along the Côte de Stockeu, while Pidcock tried to bridge with way to the group, only to find himself stuck bewteen the two groups alongside Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal Quick-Step) and Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ).

Pidcock et al eventually rejoined the peloton with 72km to go, quickly followed by the Van der Poel group.

Things eventaully settled over the next few kilometers, with riders biding their time, while UAE was still controlling the pace. 

Heading into the final 40km, UAE Team Emirates’ Domen Novak led along the Côte de la Redoute. With 900m to go on the climb, Pogačar launched his winning attack, with Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) initially able to follow, but the Slovenian dropped the Ecuadorian quickly on the hardest part of the climb.

Cresting the top of the climb, Pogačar had already pulled out a gap of over 10 seconds, with the likes of Skjelmose and Van der Poel not responding at all.

Pogačar contiued to eck out an advantage, reaching almost a minute with 30km to go.

Behind, Healy and Romain Bardet attacked out of the group, a move that was quickly followed by Benoît Cosnefroy (Decathlon AG2R Mondiale) and Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ). 

With 20km to go, Pogačar’s lead had grown to a minute and twenty seconds. On the final climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, the four chasers began attacking each other, with moves firing from the third group as well, including from Bernal.

With 6km to go, Van der Poel made the junction to the chase group, but it became a race for second and third, as Pogačar was clearly away.

Bardet later came home safely in second, while Van der Poel won the sprint for third, after the Dutch rider opened up early sprint to hold off Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny).

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