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Photo ©: Schaaf

95th Liège-Bastogne-Liège - HIS

Belgium, April 26, 2009

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Andy Schleck solos to Liège win

Luxemburger blasts clear on Côte de la Roche aux Faucons

By Gregor Brown, with additional reporting by Brecht Decaluwé in Ans, Belgium

Andy Schleck wins
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Andy Schleck won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Sunday with a well-timed attack at 20 kilometres remaining of the 261-kilometre race, on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons. The Saxo Bank rider, 23, caught and passed Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) three kilometres later. He continued solo to the finish in Ans, Belgium, with a 1:12 advantage over Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne).

"This is the most beautiful one-day race of all. I got second in Flèche Wallonne so I knew I was one of the contenders for Liège," he said. Today's race was Schleck's first win since he won the maillot blanc of best young rider at the 2008 Tour de France. His brother, Fränk, won the Amstel Gold in 2006.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the last of the three Ardennes Classics. The other two were Amstel Gold on Sunday and Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.

Rodríguez finished with a 10-second gap ahead of the sprint for third. Davide Rebellin (Diquigiovanni), Gilbert and Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) finished third through fifth.

Schleck's work finalised a day marked by a strong Saxo Bank presence. The Danish team of Bjarne Riis had former mountain biker Jakob Fuglsang pull to limit the break's advantage, Chris Anker Sørensen attack to weaken the rivals at the top of the Côte de la Vecquée and then Alexandr Kolobnev force the pace on the Côte de la Redoute.

Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

"On the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, I gave all I had. I saw that I had 100 meters and so I went full gas," said Andy Schleck. "The team worked fantastic behind. Without my teammates, this wouldn't have been possible."

Schleck's moved cancelled out a powerful early surge by Gilbert. The Walloon was eager to give his team a big victory and had attacked solo with 29 kilometres remaining. He held up to over 30 seconds on the chasers.

"It was nice, but [I] wanted the win. I felt good on La Redoute and that's why I went early," said Gilbert. "Schleck was unbelievably strong. I was able to keep up for 300 metres, but then I had to drop back."

Race starts in Place Saint Lambert

What was left of the bunch sprinted
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Few people were out in Place Saint Lambert Sunday morning for the start. Fans were probably still recovering from the party that followed the victory of the Standard de Liège football team the previous night.

The sun came out just in time for the peloton to head out of Liège. Stuck in bed with a high fever, Michael Rogers (Columbia). He was the sole non-starter.

During the first hour, Marcel Wyss (Cervélo) launched the only attack, but he was neutralised by the bunch before he reached the first climbs.

Two hours into the race, the 22-year-old Wyss managed to get away again when he snuck away with Nico Sijmens (Cofidis), Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale) and Cyril Gautier (Bbox Bouygues Telecom). The four riders built up a lead of almost 11 minutes at 100 kilometres from the finish – enough to make some teams get to work in the peloton.

Thanks to the efforts from several teams, including Liquigas, Lampre and Saxo Bank, the gap started to come down as riders negotiated a hilly course through the Ardennes forests.

Upon reaching the Côte de la Vecquée, the gap had dropped to 2:30. The Saxo Bank team then worked to regain another minute by the top of the 3km climb. The effort cost the Saxo domestiques, but Chris Anker Sørensen was ordered to attack. Dries Devenyns and Linus Gerdemann joined the Danish rider.

Big guns start firing at the Redoute

Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

By the time the leaders' group hit the famous Côte de la Redoute with 34 kilometres to go, all riders were within one minute of each other. Gautier and Dupont were the final riders left from the early break to remain free on the Redoute.

Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), José Serpa (Diquigiovanni), Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Dupont formed a move at the top. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) bridged to join.

None of them could match the power of Gilbert. Shortly after the Redoute, at 29km remaining, he seized his moment and powered away from the peloton. The Belgian blasted past the leaders group and led the race on his own, bringing back memories of the way he won the Omloop Het Volk in 2008.

While Gilbert built up a lead of 30 seconds, other riders started struggling, like Serpa who crashed out of the chasing group. Approaching the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, or better Falcon's Rock, Gilbert had 40 seconds on the peloton.

Schleck solos

The podium:
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

At the base of Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, Andy Schleck launched himself away from the bunch and passed the chasing group where his teammate Kolobnev was unable to deliver more support.

Davide Rebellin started an attack that was marked by Fränk Schleck near the top of the Faucons. Andy Schleck bridged up with Gilbert at 17km left and immediately went on his own.

Schleck started the Côte de Saint-Nicolas at 7km left with 1:34 over the chase. Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC) attacked for teammate Damiano Cunego, followed by moves from Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Rebellin.

Schleck topped the climb with 1:11. Only Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) could get free, but it was already too late to catch the lone rider.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Sirotti/www.sirotti.it

Images by Bjorn Haake / Cyclingnews.com

Images by Brecht Decaluwé / Cyclingnews.com

Images by Sonja Csury/www.allaboutcycling.de


1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank                                          6.34.32
2 Joaquím Rodríguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                 1.17
3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli    1.24
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                         
5 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha                                                 
6 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam                                         
7 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                              
8 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux                                   
9 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank                                            
10 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                      
11 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream                                      
12 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil                                            
13 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step                                              
14 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank                                                 
15 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale                                    
16 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto                                             
17 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Silence-Lotto                                           
18 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Française des Jeux                                   
19 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                   
20 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                                     
21 David Le Lay (Fra) Agritubel                                                
22 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana                                                 
23 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank                                               
24 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel                                           
25 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                         
26 Nicki Sørensen (Den) Saxo Bank                                              
27 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis                                               
28 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam                                        
29 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Milram                                                 
30 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Katusha                                                 
31 Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                       
32 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank                                                 
33 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Saxo Bank                                        
34 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli      
35 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Columbia-Highroad                                      
36 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                
37 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank                                               
38 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Columbia-Highroad                             1.35
39 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas                                              
40 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis                                             1.38
41 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step                                         1.43
42 José Serpa (Col) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli        2.09
43 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas                                               2.24
44 Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam                                   2.54
45 Chris Froome (Ken) Barloworld                                               
46 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas                                              
47 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas                                            
48 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                 
49 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil                                            
50 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank                                                
51 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil                                         
52 Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                   
53 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Columbia-Highroad                                     
54 Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana                                            
55 Christian Pfannberger (Aut) Katusha                                         
56 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                      2.57
57 Clément Lhotellerie (Fra) Vacansoleil                                   3.06
58 Christian Knees (Ger) Milram                                            3.19
59 Peter Velits (Svk) Milram                                               3.20
60 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                            
61 Iñaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                         
62 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                                3.26
63 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis                                            3.48
64 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana                                              5.37
65 Michael Albasini (Swi) Columbia-Highroad                                6.06
66 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                           6.25
67 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli    
68 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                   
69 John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld                                          
70 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana                                                
71 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                  
72 Egoi Martínez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                       
73 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step                                                
74 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Slipstream                                   8.01
75 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel                                             
76 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                            
77 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano                                      9.05
78 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                   10.37
79 Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam                                     11.05
80 Françis De Greef (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                        
81 Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis                                               
82 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Française des Jeux                                 
83 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                       
84 Craig Lewis (USA) Columbia-Highroad                                         
85 Jacob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank                                              
86 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step                                             
87 José Luis Arrieta (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale                                    
88 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Milram                                                
89 Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel                                             
90 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                        
91 Rubén Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                         
92 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                                               
93 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                      
94 Iñigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                     
95 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank                                                 
96 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                 
97 Nikita Eskov (Rus) Katusha                                                  
98 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha                                                   
99 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Slipstream                                       
100 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale                                       
101 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Barloworld                                        
102 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld                                      
103 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne                                      
104 Volodimir Gustov (Ukr) Cervélo TestTeam                                    
105 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Katusha                                          
106 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step                                            
107 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis                                                 
108 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                           14.20
109 Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano                                      14.21
110 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil                                            
111 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam                               15.26
112 Alberto Losada (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne                                      
113 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                          
114 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d'Epargne                                     
115 Sergey Klimov (Rus) Katusha                                           16.29
116 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Milram                                           
117 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                            
118 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux                                        
119 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                             
DNF Gerben Löwik (Ned) Vacansoleil                                             
DNF Reinier Honig (Ned) Vacansoleil                                            
DNF Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil                                              
DNF Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                           
DNF Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                        
DNF Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano                                         
DNF Theo Eltink (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                             
DNF Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                                            
DNF Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano                                            
DNF Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel                                          
DNF Yann Huguet (Fra) Agritubel                                                
DNF Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel                                               
DNF Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel                                              
DNF Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin-Slipstream                                    
DNF Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-Slipstream                                    
DNF Lucas Euser (USA) Garmin-Slipstream                                        
DNF Huub Duyn (Ned) Garmin-Slipstream                                          
DNF Jason Donald (USA) Garmin-Slipstream                                       
DNF Maryan Hary (Fra) Cofidis                                                  
DNF Bingen Fernández (Spa) Cofidis                                             
DNF Jean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis                                           
DNF Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                      
DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                        
DNF Sven Renders (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                            
DNF Ben Hermans (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                             
DNF Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                         
DNF Tom Criel (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                               
DNF Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator                            
DNF Serge Pauwels (Bel) Cervélo TestTeam                                       
DNF Edward King (USA) Cervélo TestTeam                                         
DNF Peter Wrolich (Aut) Milram                                                 
DNF Björn Schröder (Ger) Milram                                                
DNF Matthias Russ (Ger) Milram                                                 
DNF Alan Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                         
DNF Juan José Oroz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                     
DNF Johann Tschopp (Swi) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                 
DNF Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                
DNF Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                               
DNF Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                        
DNF Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                         
DNF Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-NGC                                               
DNF Benjamin Noval (Spa) Astana                                                
DNF Berik Kupeshov (Kaz) Astana                                                
DNF Jesús Hernández (Spa) Astana                                               
DNF Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                               
DNF Martial Ricci-Poggi (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                          
DNF Benjamin Gourgue (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                             
DNF Mathieu Drouilly (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                             
DNF Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                           
DNF Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                             
DNF Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                   
DNF Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                       
DNF Antonio Colom (Spa) Katusha                                                
DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux                                   
DNF Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux                                      
DNF Aurelien Duval (Fra) Française des Jeux                                    
DNF Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française des Jeux                                    
DNF Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-Highroad                                    
DNF Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-Highroad                                        
DNF Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia-Highroad                                        
DNF Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas                                             
DNF Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Liquigas                                            
DNF Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas                                        
DNF Jurgen Van de Walle (Bel) Quick Step                                       
DNF Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step                                            
DNF Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step                                               
DNF Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank                                              
DNF Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank                                             
DNF Juan Manuel Gárate (Spa) Rabobank                                          
DNF Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank                                        
DNF Steve Cummings (GBr) Barloworld                                            
DNF Marco Corti (Ita) Barloworld                                               
DNF Giampaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld                                          
DNF Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Barloworld                                          
DNF Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank                                        
DNF Luca Celli (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli           
DNF Nazareno Rossi (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli       
DNF Luis Angel Maté (Spa) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli      
DNF Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli    
DNF Rui Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne                                           


1 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom                                  32 pts
2 Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam                                         16
3 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale                                        8
4 Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank                                                6
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                        4
6 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank                                           4
7 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli       3
8 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis                                                  2
9 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank                                               1
10 José Serpa (Col) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli           1