Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2018: Preview

alejandro valverde 2017 - Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2018: PreviewLiège–Bastogne–Liège is the fourth Monument of the season. It is among the toughest one-day races on the calendar and it takes the toughest individual to win. After having endured a daunting amount of sharp Ardennes hills the riders arrive in the finale with the energy sapping Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons and Côte de Saint-Nicolas in rapid succession. 'La Doyenne' amounts to 258 kilometres. (Slideshow route/profile)

The 104th edition of Liège–Bastogne–Liège will be held on Sunday the 22th of April, 2018. It is one of the oldest classics on the cycling calendar, while Eddy Merckx holds the record with five victories. But Alejandro Valverde is closing in. One more win for the Spanish title defender and he evens the score.

The 2018 edition is played out on a route of 258 kilometres with eleven hills. The emblematic Col de la Redoute ushers in the finale with its 2 kilometres at 8.9% before the race continues to Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons and Côte de Saint-Nicolas in the last 10 kilometres. The final haul up to the line is 1.5 kilometres at 5%, so it takes as strong puncher to win Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

Alejandro Valverde won La Doyenne in 2006, 2008, 2015 and 2017. Last year, he outgunned Daniel Martin on the line, while Michal Kwiatkowski came in third. Another major contender is Julian Alaphilippe, who is in fine form after his recent Tour of the Basque Country campaign. The French rider is 25 five years old, a perfect age to win his first Monument. Obviously Daniel Martin is always eyeing up the win in one of his favourite races, too. He was the victor in 2013 and in 2014 he looked ready for a back-to-back win when he crashed in the final two-hundred metres while he was very well positioned indeed. What is it going to be this year? Check out the actual cycling betting odds as given by 888sport.

Possible poor weather is always a huge factor in La Doyenne. Two years ago, snow fell heavily in the Ardennes and it was a trying day for all riders. Wout Poels rode through the blizzard and outsprinted Michael Albasini on the line, thus bringing the first Monument home for Team Sky. Last year, the race was played out in favorable conditions. Davide Formolo rode solo in the last kilometre when Dan Martin jumped across. Valverde latched onto Martin’s wheel and showed now mercy in the ensuing sprint.

All in all, Liège–Bastogne–Liège features a stellar field so only the strongest contenders will be able to win the race.

Liège–Bastogne–Liège 2018: Route maps, height profiles and more

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