“La Doyenne” brings 255k of racing over the famous climbs of the Ardennes this weekend.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege enters it’s 97th edition in 2011, retaining much of the history that the race has had since the first edition in 1892. Although the profile may look relatively docile, LBL is certainly a race for the climbers, or all-around riders who are on great form. The Cote de la Redoute is the first climb where the favorites will come out swinging, but at 30km to go it’s usually not the climb where the race is won.
Although the la Redoute climb is 30k from the finish, it will be tough to develop an organized team chase within the last 30k of the race due to the narrow undulating roads and the penultimate climb of the Cote de la Roche. Riders contending for the win are going to want at least one teammate with them over the top of La Redoute. Riders who are still in contention after la Redoute will either look to set up an attack on the final climb of Saint-Nicolas, or go for a long distance attack before the Saint-Nicolas comes. If recent history is any indication, either scenario could supply the race winning move.
Team Garmin-Cervelo brings a strong roster into Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Coming off a great 9th place finish in Fleche Wallone earlier this week, Christophe Le Mevel will look to repeat that performance on a course that should suit him well. Ryder Hesjedal will also be making the start in Liege, and should be a contender in the final this sunday, as he was a Fleche Wallone, finishing 13th behind Le Mevel.
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More photos from previous editions of Liege-Bastonge-Liege: