Following a week with both Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne La Doyenne is a veritable war of attrition. One by one riders are dropped while travelling the Ardennes’ hills. Usally the race boils down to a sprint of a select group – that is, if you can still talk of sprinting after such an onslaught. It’s fair to say that the leading contender is the rider who has enough juice left for a jump or a sprint after such a demanding race.
Valverde will want to treat himself to a birthday present on April 23th. He turns 37 two days after the race and will look to add a fourth title after winning in 2006, 2008 and 2015. He is in the form of his life with wins in the Ruta del Sol , Volta a Catalunya, Tour of the Basque Country, and La Fléche Wallonne.
Another rider who is not to be ruled out is former World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski. The Pole skipped the Flemish campaign to shine in the Ardennes after winning Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo in March. In last week’s Amstel Gold Race, he was bested on the line by Gilbert (who has been forced to pull out of Liège-Bastogne-Liège due to a tear in his right kidney). Kwiat possesses the punchy style necessary to win in the Ardennes and should be an active player from La Redoute to the finish.
Daniel Martin took the win in 2013 after his team Garmin dominated the finale of that year’s race. Martin is not afraid of taking up responsibility when necessary and is lethal when he gets a sniff of victory. Last Wednesday, he finished in second in La Fléche Wallonne.
Favourites Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2017
*** Daniel Martin, Alejandro Valverde, Michal Kwiatkowski, Rui Costa, Rigoberto Uran
** Warren Barguil, Michael Albasini, Jarlinson Pantano, Roman Kreuziger, Romain Bardet
* Tom Dumoulin, Ion Izagirre, Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Samuel Sánchez
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Route and profile
Route and profile final 48km
Climb details Côte de la Ferme Libert
Climb details Côte de la Redoute
Climb details Côte de la Roche aux Faucons
Climb details Côte de Saint Nicolas
Liege and Bastogne at Google maps
Climb details Liège–Bastogne–Liège