Flat roads in the Ardennes are rare, but it’s only after 70 kilometres the 2.8 kilometres climb up Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne is crested. Some 30 kilometres later the riders are in Bastogne at the Rond-Point de la Doyenne, which is the halfway turn point. Until here it was all the calm before the storm. The way back is always much hillier.
Compared to previous years, the return route lies much more to the east. This way Côte de Wanne and Côte de Haute Levée are replaced by Côte du Pont, Côte de Bellevaux and Côte de la Ferme Libert. After this the route is on familiar soil again.
At 4.4 kilometres, Col du Rosier is the longest climb of the day. The average gradient is 5.9% and at an altitude of 565 metres the top marks the highest point of the day. The route continues to Col du Maquisard, a 2 kilometres climb at 5%. Almost child’s play compared to the last climbs.
Next in line is the iconic Col de la Redoute – 2 kilometres at 8.9% with steepest ramps of up to 13%. A short drop runs to the equally short climb up to Sprimont before a longer descent ushers in the finale.
First the short, steep Côte de la Roche aux Faucons (1,3 kilometres at 11%) and then it’s on to the energy sapping Côte de Saint-Nicolas – 1.1 kilometres with the steepest section of 10.9% in the first 500 metres, while the full ascent is averaging 8.6%. At the top there is only 4.5 kilometres left, the first 3 kilometres in descent and the last 1.5 kilometres go up at a nasty 5%.
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Liege and Bastogne at Google maps