Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Liège-Bastogne-Liège | Will Elisa Longo Borghini complete her spring or will Vollering strike again?


The Italian made no secret of it before the start of the season. April 21 is in capital letters Longo Borghini’s agenda. After her second place last year, the 32-year-old Lidl-Trek rider wants to harvest this year in Liège.

Longo Borghini travels to the Ardennes with great confidence. She won the Tour of Flanders and subsequently also triumphed in the Brabante Pijl. Her third place in the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday indicates that her explosiveness is also good. It makes Longo Borghini the favorite to win this monument.


Brabantse Pijl | Longo Borghini relieves Vollering at a decisive moment and solos to victory in Overijse

Or Vollering again?

Demi Vollering will try to extend her title, after she was already the best in 2021. Last year she beat Longo Borghini to the finish. However, Vollering’s form is significantly less than it was then. In 2023, at this time of year she already had the Strade Bianche, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race and Waalse Pijl to her name. She finished second in the Tour of Flanders and the Brabantse Pijl.

This year she mainly collects places of honor. Winning wasn’t possible yet. Second place in the Flèche Wallonne undoubtedly gave us confidence. The win on Wednesday went to Katarzyna Niewiadoma, who stood on the top step of the podium at a classic for the first time in five years. The Polish player seems good enough to score again.


Walloon Arrow | Kasia Niewiadoma wins after a strong final shot on the Wall of Huy, Demi Vollering is trumped

Power and pure class

Of course we cannot ignore Lotte Kopecky. The time when we described Liège-Bastogne-Liège as too tough for her is definitely over. She is not a typical climber, but she can also tackle a race like this with strength and pure class. Her spring has already been a success with victories in the Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders. Does she have the energy to strike again?

In the past six years, the winnings went to the Netherlands no fewer than five times. In addition to Vollering, ‘we’ have several contenders to complete this nice list. Shirin van Anrooij can benefit from the fact that everyone is looking at her teammate Longo Borghini. Or will she mainly have to serve?


Paris-Roubaix | Lotte Kopecky makes up some ground on Vos and Balsamo for a win in the velodrome

Even more Dutch

Visma-Lease a Bike even has several Dutch contenders. Marianne Vos stunted last week in the Amstel Gold Race after that crazy finish with Lorena Wiebes. The experienced rider normally does not have the climbing legs to go for the win, but will have to hope that she can return to the front in a good group. Of course you never know with Fem van Empel, but this race seems a bit too tough for the cross phenomenon.

Teammate Riejanne Markus also has a chance if she knows how to choose the right moment for the attack. Amber Kraak (FDJ-Suez), Yara Kastelijn and Pauliena Rooijakkers (both Fenix-Deceuninck) can also score from a breakaway.

In search of good climbers from across the border, we ended up with Ashleigh Moolman (AG Insurance Soudal Quick-Step), Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Suez), Juliette Labous (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Mavi Garcia (Jayco AlUla), Marta Cavalli and Evita Muzic (both FDJ-Suez). The latter was fourth in the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.


Amstel Gold Race | Lorena Wiebes cheers too early! – Marianne Vos wins the sprint on the Cauberg


The route differs slightly from last year. At almost 153 kilometers, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is even slightly longer than last year. However, the profile is equivalent. This means constant up and down and little rest for the riders.

A total of ten famous slopes are on the programme. The steepest is the Col de Stockeu after 74.5 kilometers. The average gradient is 12.5 percent. The Côte de la Redoute, the most famous, is number eight on the list. Traditionally, this is where the race really gets going. This is followed by the Col des Forges and Côte de la Roche-aux Faucons.

At the top of the last climb it is still fourteen kilometers to the finish in Liège. Riders who have to leave at a late stage still have a chance to return


Liège-Bastogne-Liège | Watch a summary of how Vollering becomes queen of spring

The ten climbs

Côte de Saint-Roch (1.0 km at 11.2%), another 137 kilometers
Côte de Mont-le-Soie (1.7 km at 7.9%), another 92 kilometers
Côte de Wanne (3.6 km at 5.1%), another 85 kilometers
Col de Stockeu (1.0 km at 12.5%), another 77 kilometers
Côte de la Haute-Levée (2.2 km at 7.5%), another 74 kilometers
Col du Rosier (4.4 km at 5.9%), another 71 kilometers
Côte de Desnié (1.6 km at 8.1%), another 46 kilometers
Côte de la Redoute (1.6 km at 9.4%), another 33 kilometers
Col des Forges (1.3 km at 7.8%), another 23 kilometers
Côte de la Roche-aux Faucons (1.3 km at 11.0%), another 14 kilometers


The conditions are once again wet and chilly, which makes it no coincidence that Mathieu van der Poel decided to skip the exploration and stay warm. Although it won’t be nearly as bad as last Wednesday in the Flèche Wallonne. The start is Sunday at 1:45 PM. The finish is expected around 6:30 PM.


Liège-Bastogne-Liège | “It is very special to win the three hill classics” – Demi Vollering

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