The Liège-Bastogne part of the race is nothing special. The riders penetrate the Ardennes on rolling roads before turning back at the roundabout in Bastogne. Still 150 kilometres and the race has yet to start, effectually.
Côte de Saint-Roch in Houffalize – after roughly 120 kilometres – gives a first taste of what’s in store before the race intensifies on the Côte de Mont-le-Soie with 95 kilometres out.
Yet, the race starts to warm up properly with three climbs inside 12 kilometres. The riders tackle Côte de Wanne (2.7 kilometres at 7.4%), Côte de Stockeu (1 kilometre at 12.5%) and Côte de Haute-Levée (3.1 kilometres at 7%) in quick succession before continuing onto the Col du Rosier, which is the longest climb of the day: 4.4 kilometres at 5.9%. Still 60 kilometres remaining at the summit.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège introduces a new climb in 2021. The Côte de Desnié is 1.6 kilometres long and averages 8.1%, while it precedes the pivotal ascent of the Côte de la Redoute. The 2 kilometres climb out of the valley averages 8.9% with ramps up to 13%. A short drop and short climb lead to Sprimont before the sharp Côte des Forges appears.
The energy sapping Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons is supposed to be the last climb of the day, but… no, it is not. The 1.3 kilometres climb at 11% is crested with 13 kilometres remaining. The riders plunge down a short drop which continues onto a draining false flat and, ultimately, a climb of 1 kilometre at 6.2%. Following a flat section the riders fly down into Liège with 8 kilometres to go. The last 2 kilometres of the race are flat.
Last year, Julian Alaphilippe accelerated on the Roche-aux-Faucon. Marc Hirschi and Primoz Roglic jumped to his wheel, while Tadej Pogacar and Michal Kwiatkowski made it across on the false flat plateau. Another acceleration by Hirschi dropped Kwiatkowski and Matej Mohoric chased down the leaders in the descent.
Alaphilippe celebrated in the streets of Liège, but Roglic won the race. Moreover, the World Champion was relegated to fifth place because he moved right off his line when he opened the sprint.
The route takes in an elevation gain of 4,500 metres.
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 2021: routes, profiles, more
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