Hirschi, Alaphilippe, Pogacar and Roglic are usually the ones with a solid sprint at the end of a hard race. In fact, those four were entering the home straight last year when Mohoric appeared out of thin air. No time to dawdle, he thought, and opened the sprint. Obviously, he ran out of steam and Alaphilippe took over. He opened up a gap and with victory in sight he stopped pedalling and raised his arms in celebration. Meanwhile, Roglic kept pushing and he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in a photofinish sprint.
Usually, the decisive moves happen on the last climb, the steep Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. In 2019, Fuglsang rode away on the false flat at the top to extend his lead in the descent. The Dane won the race solo in the first edition with the redrawn finale.
After years of finishing in Ans the race finishes again were it is supposed to end – in Liège. After the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons – 1.3 kilometres at 11% – the route drops for 1 kilometre only to start climbing again. The first kilometre goes up at 3.6% and the second at 6.2% before an undulating section leads onto a 3 kilometres downhill into Liège. The last 2.1 kilometres are flat.
What are we going to see this year, a sprint of a select group or another solo victory? Or will the race be decided in the downhill? Fast descenders could take everyone by surprise – a point almost by Mohoric when he popped out of thin air in last year’s finale.
Favourites 2021 Liège-Bastogne-Liège
***** Julian Alaphilippe, Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic
**** Maximilian Schachmann, Marc Hirschi, João Almeida
*** Alejandro Valverde, Matej Mohoric, Davide Formolo, Michael Matthews
** Michael Woods, Michal Kwiatkowski, David Gaudu, Benoît Cosnefroy
* Adam Yates, Sergio Higuita, Jakob Fuglsang, Bauke Mollema, Warren Barguil