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93rd Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Race Preview
 
By Staff
Date: 4/28/2007
93rd Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Race Preview
 

By: Andrew Kappes

93rd Liège-Bastogne-Liège 262km

The last Ardennes classic of the season has arrived in the Pro Tour. It's the 93rd Liège - Bastogne - Liège, a favorite of many of the riders. The Cycling season is just heating up, and the Giro D'Italia is looming in about two weeks. Liège - Bastogne - Liège is certatinly not an easy warmup race for the Giro as  it features 12 major climbs, including the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, which is about 5.5 kilometers from the finish. It has an average gradient of 11.1%.
 
Course Profile Official Race Website

Mountain passes & Hills

Km 57.5 Côte de Ny 1.8 km climb to 5.7% Category hills
Km 83 Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne 2.8 km climb to 4.9% Category hills
Km 129 Côte de Saint Roch 0.9 km climb to 12% Category hills
Km 173 Côte de Wanne 3.1 km climb to 6.1% Category hills
Km 179.5 Côte de Stockeu 1.1 km climb to 10.5% Category hills
Km 185 Côte de la Haute-Levée 3.4 km climb to 6% Category hills
Km 197.5 Côte du Rosier 4.0 km climb to 5.9% Category hills
Km 210 Côte de la Vecquée 3.1 km climb to 5.9% Category hills
Km 227.5 Côte de la Redoute 2.1 km climb to 8.4% Category hills
Km 233 Côte de Sprimont 1.4 km climb to 4.7% Category hills
Km 248 Côte du Sart-Tilman - Tilff 3.6 km climb to 5.3% Category hills
Km 256.5 Côte de Saint-Nicolas 1.0 km climb to 11.1% Category hills


The Peloton climbs the Côte de Saint-Nicolas Photo © Corvos Images


2006 Podium Photo © Corvos Images

Top 10 Pro Tour Team-by-Team Breakdown:

Caisse D'Epargne

: Caisse brings defending champion Alejandro Valverde, who was just short of an Amstel Gold victory last week. The 2006 Pro Tour champion is looking for his first major win of the season, and the course seems to suit his likings. Caisse brings a few other guys who can win this race, including Luis Leon Sanchez, Jose Vincente Garcia-Acosta, and David Lopez.

Caisse D'Epargne Startlist:

1 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Spain

2 GARCIA ACOSTA José Vicente Spain

3 LOPEZ GARCIA David Spain

4 PEREZ SANCHEZ Francisco Spain

5 REYNES MIMO Vicente Spain

6 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin Spain

7 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin Spain

8 SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon Spain

Quickstep-Innergetic:

World Champion Paolo Bettini is still looking for his first major victory of 2007. He rode very well in last week's Amstel Gold Race, and this course is ideal for him. There isn't any major contender on this team other than Bettini, so we should expect everyone on Quickstep devoted to a podium place by Bettini, who won this race in 2000 and 2002.

Quickstep Startlist:

11 BETTINI Paolo Italy

12 BARREDO LLAMAZALES Carlos Spain

13 ENGELS Addy Netherlands

14 TANKINK Bram Netherlands

15 TOSATTO Matteo Italy

16 VAN DE WALLE Jurgen Belgium

17 VASSEUR Cédric France

18 VISCONTI Giovanni Italy

Lampre-Fondital:

Damiano Cunego finished third at last year's Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and he is in good form this season, making him an early favorite for this year's edition. This will be a good warmup for Cunego's Giro run, and should be an early indicator on how well he will do in the first grand tour race.

Lampre-Fondital Startlist:

21 CUNEGO Damiano Italy

22 BONO Matteo Italy

23 LOOSLI David Switzerland

24 POSSONI Morris Italy

25 RIGHI Daniele Italy

26 SZMYD Sylvester Poland

27 VALJAVEC Tadej Slovenia

28 VILA ERRANDONEA Francisco Javier Spain

T-Mobile:

T-Mobile will bring a few contenders to this year's race. Patrik Sinkewitz rode well last week at the Amstel Gold, he finished fourth in this race last year. Aussie Michael Rogers will look to get into form, he should ride well. Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen is also expected to start for the Pink and White.

T-Mobile Startlist:

31 SINKEWITZ Patrik Germany

32 BARRY Michael Canada

33 DAVIS Scott Australia

34 HANSEN Adam Australia

35 HONCHAR Serhiy Ukraine

36 KIRCHEN Kim Luxembourg

37 MERCKX Axel Belgium

38 ROGERS Michael Australia

Rabobank:

Michael Boogerd was robbed of a podium place at his final Amstel Gold Race last week. Hopefully for him and his Rabobank squad, that snub fueled his desire for Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He comes as a favorite, after riding well last week. He has never won this race but would like to add one in his final Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Rabobank brings in a loaded squad behind him, including Milan-San Remo winner Oscar Friere, Paris-Roubaix podium placer Juan Antonio Flecha, Thomas Dekker, and Pieter Weening.

Rabobank Startlist:

41 BOOGERD Michael Netherlands

42 BOVEN Jan Netherlands

43 DEKKER Thomas Netherlands

44 ELTINK Theo Netherlands

45 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio Spain

46 FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar Spain

47 MOERENHOUT Koos Netherlands

48 WEENING Pieter Netherlands

CSC:

2006 Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck will wear the coveted race number 51, leading his CSC team into Liege-Bastogne-Liege. CSC once again brings a slew of contenders, including Jens Voigt and Frank's little brother Andy Schleck. Also riding for CSC will be Americans Bobby Julich and Christian Vandevelde.

CSC Startlist:

51 SCHLECK Frank Luxembourg

52 JULICH Bobby United States

53 KOLOBNEV Alexandr Russia

54 KROON Karsten Netherlands

55 SCHLECK Andy Luxembourg

56 SORENSEN Nicki Denmark

57 VANDEVELDE Christian United States

58 VOIGT Jens Germany

Astana:

2005 champion Alexandre Vinokourov will lead his Astana team into battle this weekend. Vino hasn't raced much so far this season, but is looking to get into good form for a Tour de France run in July. Also riding for Astana on Sunday will be Andrey Kashechkin.


2005 Podium Photo © Corvos Images

Astana Startlist:

61 VINOKOUROV Alexandre Kazahkstan

62 ABAKOUMOV Igor Russia

63 COLOM MAS Antonio Spain

64 FREI Thomas Switzerland

65 IGLINSKIY Maxim Kazahkstan

66 KASHECHKIN Andrey Kazahkstan

67 KESSLER Matthias Germany

68 YAKOVLEV Serguei Kazahkstan

Predictor Lotto:

Aussie Cadel Evans and American Chris Horner will lead Predictor into this year's race. Horner finished an impressive eighth at last year's edition, and Evans will be looking to accomplish a similar feat that Stuart O'Grady did at Paris-Roubaix. He will look to become the first Australian rider to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Predictor Startlist:

71 EVANS Cadel Australia

73 BRANDT Christophe Belgium

74 CIONI Dario David Italy

75 HORNER Christopher United States

76 JUFRE POU Josep Spain

77 VAN HUFFEL Wim Belgium

78 VAN SUMMEREN Johan Belgium

79 MERTENS Pieter Belgium

Liguigas:

Ninth place finisher from last year Danilo Di Luca is back for the mean green to lead his team into this year's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The 2005 Pro Tour champ has been in good form, and recorded a similar win earlier this year at Milano-Torino. Also riding for Liquigas will be Franco Pellizotti and Vincenzo Nibali. Now that the Killer is back, will he add the Queen of the Ardennes to his palmares?

 


Photo
© Corvos Images
 

 

Liguigas Startlist:

81 DI LUCA Danilo Italy

82 ALBASINI Michael Switzerland

83 CARLSTRÖM Kjell Finland

84 FAILLI Francesco Italy

85 NIBALI Vincenzo Italy

86 NOE' Andrea Italy

87 PELLIZOTTI Franco Italy

88 SPEZIALETTI Alessandro Italy

Euskaltel-Euskadi: Classics specialist Samuel Sanchez will ride for Euskaltel on Sunday. Also riding for Euskaltel will be Unai Etxebarria and Inigo Landaluze. Sanchez has ridden fairly well so far this season, and is looking for his first big win of the season.

Euskaltel-Euskadi Startlist:

91 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Spain

92 ASTARLOZA CHAURREAU Mikel Spain

93 BRU PASCAL Yon Spain

94 ETXEBARRIA ARANA Unai Venezuela

95 GALDOS ALONSO Aitor Spain

96 LANDALUZE INTXAURRAGA Inigo Spain

97 PEREZ MORENO Ruben Spain

98 VERDUGO MARCOTEGUI Gorka Spain

Other Major Contenders:

What a season Gerolsteiner is having? Davide Rebellin finished second at Paris-Nice, and won Fleche Wallone on Wednesday, and won this race in 2004. He is also the current Pro Tour leader. Stefan Schumacher pulled a surprise last week at the Amstel Gold Race, and is an early favorite for Liege-Bastogne-Liege.


Will Rebellin repeat his 2004 performance? Photo © Corvos Images

Gerolsteiner Startlist:

141 REBELLIN Davide Italy

142 FOTHEN Markus Germany

143 KLINGER Tim Germany

144 KOHL Bernhard Austria

145 SCHUMACHER Stefan Germany

146 WEGMANN Fabian Germany

147 ZAUGG Oliver Switzerland

148 ZBERG Marcus Switzerland

Discovery Channel and Saunier Duval will bring in a few young guns to this year's race. Discovery will bring Paris-Nice winner Alberto Contador, Stijn Devolder, Vladimir Gusev, and Yaroslav Popovych. Saunier Duval will bring Italian hot shot Riccardo Ricco, who is in fantastic form for a young rider.

Discovery Channel Startlist:

181 CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto Spain

182 DEVOLDER Stijn Belgium

183 GUSEV Vladimir Russia

184 MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN Egoi Spain

185 NOVAL GONZALEZ Benjamin Spain

186 PAULINHO Sergio Miguel Moreira Portugal

187 POPOVYCH Yaroslav Ukraine

188 VAN GOOLEN Jurgen Belgium

Saunier Duval-Prodir Startlist:

121 RICCO Riccardo Italy

122 CAMANO ORTUZAR Iker Spain

123 DE LA FUENTE RASILLA David Spain

124 BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto Spain

125 COBO ACEBO Juan Jose Spain

126 DURÁN AROCA Arkaitz Spain

127 MORI Manuele Italy

128 SIMONI Gilberto Italy

It should be an exciting race on Sunday, and the talented studded field certainly has made it hard to predict a winner. I see either Alejandro Valverde or Paolo Bettini taking the victory, but there is a slew of contenders that can easily take their hopes away from them at the Liege-Bastogne-Liege this weekend. If you live in North America, you can catch the race on www.cycling.tv. A full listing of the race's palmares maybe found here.

 
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