Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014: Results
1. Simon Gerrans (Australia)
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spain) s.t.
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) s.t.
4. Gianpaolo Caruso (Italy) s.t.
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy) + 0.03
6. Tom-Jelte Slagter (The Netherlands) s.t.
7. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) s.t.
8. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) s.t.
9. Daniel Moreno (Spain) + 0.05
10. Romain Bardet (France) + 0.06
There is often one major classic each year that gets tagged as being a bit dull and that award will no doubt go to La Doyenne in 2014. The race seemed to save all the excitement for a gripping last 5 kilometres.
Today’s breakaway was made up of Marco Minnaard, Pieter Jacobs, Pirmin Lang, Michel Koch, Jaco Venter and Matteo Bono and they estabished a lead of 15 minutes when they took the roundabout in Bastogne to head back towards Liege.
Bono proved the strongest in the end, riding off solo before being caught late in the race.
It was strangely quiet in the peloton today with Rui Costa’s crash and the abandons of Andy Schleck and Joaquim Rodriguez the only talking points early on. That, of course, is if fans are still considering Andy abandoning as a talking point. The younger Schleck just can’t seem to re-capture the form that led him to victory here in 2009.
The Redoute was crested without any notable attacks and even the brief attempts to escape on the Roche-aux-Faucons lacked any real cohesion. This resulted in a much larger than normal peloton approaching the St Nicolas with Possovivo and Caruso escaping the group towards the summit.
The duo’s led was never more than 12 seconds with Orica-Greenedge doing a lot of the work to bring them back. However, they were still clear on the rise to the final bend and for a moment it looked like their aggresion would be rewarded.
It took the champion to make a decision and Daniel Martin decided he was going to go alone, attacking the group, creating a small gap and managing to get on Caruso’s wheel on the final bend. It looked like game, set and match to the Irishman until his bike went from under him and he hit the ground hard.
Simon Gerrans would benefit most from Martin’s misfortune as he took the sprint ahead of Valverde to win his 2nd Monument after his Milan-Sanremo win in 2012.
It was an unusual edition of La Doyenne but credit must go to Orica Greenedge, keeping Gerrans in the mix on the steep climbs all day and setting him up for the win. He was clearly the rider benefiting most from the lack of attacks and he kept his cool in the sprint.
Heartbreaking for Martin and also deserving a mention is Kwiatkowski, the most consistent rider of Ardennes week along with Vaverde, who took another podium place but couldn’t pull off victory. Local favourite Gibert finished 8th but was invisible all day and failed to have any impact on the race.
(more to follow)
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