This year marks the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
While similar to last year’s route, there is a slight change. The Rosier climb has been omitted in favour of the Côte de la Vecquée, located 69 kilometres from the finish line. The climb is not entirely new and Alejandro Valverde will enjoy its inclusion after he won the 2008 race, the last time the climb was included.
La Doyenne contains 10 climbs. There’s just one before the U-turn in Bastogne, 70 kilometres in, the Côte de la Roche Ardenne, located at 401 metres. On the road back things get more tricky. Riders face the Côte de Saint-Roch (456 metres) and after 167 kilometres the Côte de Wanne. The summit is at a little less than 500 metres and the average gradient is slightly over 11%. The race is very much on at this point.
Hardly down the descent, riders begin the famous Stockeu (steepest sectio n: 21%!). They climb towards the statue of Eddy Merckx (405 metres), but just before cresting the summit they turn left. Côte de la Haute Levée (507 metres) is the next up and is more moderate than its predecessor.
194 kilometres in, the riders arrive atop the added Côte de la Vecquée. The average gradient is 5.2% with a summit at 520 metres.
Following a long descent it’s time for the races centrepiece, La Redoute, a calf crusher with a maximum gradient of 22%. Attacks here often decide the outcome of the race. Next are Côte de Sprimont (290 metres, 6.3%) and Côte des Forges (300 metres, 6%). Still a good 30 kilometres to go now.
The short, steep Côte de la Roche aux Faucons (224 metres, max gradient 16%) makes its retuen and then it’s on to the energy sapping Saint-Nicolas (172 metres). Expect only a small selction still in contention at this point.
Last year saw a group with Joaquim Rodríguez and Daniel Martin catch up with lone escapee Ryder Hesjedal at the flanks of Côte de Saint-Nicolas. Rodríguez attacked in the final stretch but a well timed counter by Martin secured a famous victory for the Irishman.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014: Images
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