Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2018: The Route

Sunday, 24 April 2018 - At 258 kilometres, the route of Liège-Bastogne-Liège travels over eleven hills. The ceaseless onslaught in the Ardennes runs to the steep Saint-Nicolas, which is supposed to be the last summit with 5.5 kilometres left. Yet, as always, the last 1.5 kilometre to the line go up at 5%.

Following a relatively flat opening through the Ardennes the Côte de Bonneure is the first climb, crested with some 70 kilometres done. Another 30 kilometres down the road and the riders are in Bastogne at the Rond-Point de la Doyenne, which is the halfway turn point.

The route back to Liège is much hillier, although it still takes awhile for the race to show its teeth. The Côte de Saint-Roch in Houffalize – 1 kilometre at 11.2% – is the first climb and with 152 kilometres done the Côte de Mont-le-Soie is crested. Still almost 10 kilometres to go before the uphill onslaught starts to really takes shape.

Within a 12 kilometres interval the riders face the Côte du Pont, Côte de Bellevaux and Côte de la Ferme Libert. Following a number of minor ascents the Col du Rosier is the longest climb of the day, amounting to 4.4 kilometres and averaging 5.9%. Peaking at 565 metres, the Rosier marks the highest point of the day.

The route continues to the Col du Maquisard, a 2 kilometres climb at 5%, before the iconic Col de la Redoute looms. The emblematic hill amounts to 2 kilometres, while the average gradient is 8.9% and the steepest ramps are 13%. A short drop and equally short climb lead 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 are only 5.5 kilometres left to race, the first 3 kilometres on descent and the last 1.5 kilometres go up at a nasty 5%.

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