Luik-Bastenaken-Luik, World Cup Round 4

Belgium, April 20, 1997

1996 Results and Reports



Bill notes: I have always thought of this Ardennes Classic as Luik-Bastenaken-Luik which really is because I have mixed more with flemish bike teams and riders over the years than Wallonie influences. It is in Wallonia, that is true, so if you like Liege-Bastogne-Liege, then fine. In html, it takes more to write Liege than Luik (pronounced, sort off "lerk").

At any rate it is the oldest of the classics with the first race in 1890.

Profile of Route

Route and Times

       09:50h Start: Liege-Kongress-Palast/Convention Palace 0 km
       11:47h Cotes de Saint Roche 66 km
       12:33h Bastogne 95 km
       14:11h Cotes de Wanne 155 km
       14:26h Cotes d'Hezalles 164 km
       14:47h Cotes de Stockeau 178 km
       15:17h Cotes de Rosier 196 km
       16:04h Cotes de la Redoute 226 km
       16:26h Cotes de Forges 245 km
       16:58h Liege 258 km
       17:06h Arrival Ans, Rue Jean Jaures 263 km

"La Doyenne", is the oldest of the great classics which was first raced on 1892. The race covers 263 kms. over twelve "Cotes".

 1. Cote de Saint-Roch
 2. Cote de Mormont
 3. Cote de Wanne
 4. Cote des Hezalles
 5. Cote d'Aisomont
 6. Cote de Stockeu
 7. Cote de la Haute Levee
 8. Cote du Rosier
 9. Cote de la Vecquee
10. Cote de la Redoute
11. Cote de Sprimont
12. Cote du Sart-Tilman

Jalabert is Favourite

Frenchman Laurent Jalabert, from Team ONCE, starts as the big favorite for the Belgian classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which will be disputed on Sunday. The number one rider in the world affirmed yesterday to L'Equipe, that this season he's feeling in form, "but not at maximum". "On the contrary", he says, "I have won some races (Paris-Nice and Fleche Wallone) by saving my strength". Jalabert has never won Liege-Bastogne-Liege and in his opinion prefers it to Fleche Wallone or other Classics that he has ridden. "Among other things, it is similar to my region (South of France), the roads where I train. It looks custom made for me".

Jalabert announced to L'Equipe, that after the Grand Prix de l'Escaut, next Wednesday and the Dutch Classic, Amstel Gold Race, next Saturday, he will limit himself to training until the Tour of Luxembourg (June 12-15), followed by la Vuelta a Cataluna and the French Championship, before disputing the Tour thirteen days after.

But Museeuw has designs too

World champion Johan Museeuw of Belgium is out to disprove theories of a jinx when he lines up in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycling race on Sunday

The Belgian World Cup holder has been plagued by bad luck in all three previous World Cup races, crashing during the Milan-San Remo sprint finish, colliding at a crucial time in the Tour of Flanders, and suffering a five punctures in the Paris-Roubaix.

His mishaps were reminiscent of past misfortunes which have been suffered by most reigning world champions who have subsequently worn the rainbow jersey in the past decade.

``I don't believe in (a curse)...and even if it was true the jersey would still be worth it,'' he said.

Museeuw, who has won the World Cup series for the past two years, nevertheless feels it will be difficult to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, a testing 262-km ride in hilly southern Belgium.

``On paper this race suits me the least,'' Museeuw, 31, said. ``I'll probably have an extremely difficult time.''

In-form Frenchman Laurent Jalabert, by contrast, feels at home on hilly courses and is hot favourite to complete the Belgian 'Ardennes double' after having romped to victory in Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne classic race.

The current number one in the UCI rankings feels relieved and relaxed after Wednesday's impressive victory.

``The pressure is off,'' he said. ``The Ardennes classics are always among my main goals. I'd like to win both races but one out of two is not bad either,'' said Jalabert, who has already notched up eight v

ictories this season. Last year, Jalabert pulled out of Liege-Bastogne-Liege because of a lingering knee injury and he finished fourth two years ago.

``If I ride as well on Sunday as I did two years ago I'll have little to worry about...even though it has been proven this season that it is not always the best rider who wins in World Cup races,'' he said.

Jalabert, 28, rated Italian Michele Bartoli, compatriot Richard Virenque and Dane Rolf Sorensen -- the Milan-San Remo winner and 1993 Liege-Bastogne-Liege victor -- among his main rivals.

Jalabert stands out

After the Waalse Pijl Laurent Jalabert is the only big favourite for LBL. Theo de Rooy, team leader of the Rabobank, is optimistic about the chances for Rolf Sorensen. "Everybody will look to Jalabert. Rolf has recovered well from Paris-Roubaix. He can start from a defensive position. After the Tour of Vlaanderen he has nothing lose anymore. Our team has a second chance with Michael Boogerd. I count on him. He has to divide his power better than last Wednesday.

TVM's Cees Priem: "I hope on an early escape with Maarten den Bakker. That's better for him than a finale with Jalabert, Bartoli and Gianetti."