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94th Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Live & Photos
 
By Staff
Date: 4/27/2008
94th Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Live & Photos
 

94th Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Live Coverage
 

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A break of four went away at the 24 km mark with Pierre Rolland of Credit Agricole, Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) and Tinkoff's Pavel Brutt. With 60 km to go Philippe Gilbert attempted to catch the trio but got no closer than a minute. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti


Three riders left at the start of La Redoute: Pierre Rolland, Markus Fothen and Pavel Brutt. Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen


Philippe Gilbert was the first chaser on La Redoute; home turf for Gilbert living nearby in Remouchamps. Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen

When they entered the La Radoute where the pressure of the attacks brought the four closer to the peloton led by Lampre, Caisse d'Epargne and finally Quick Step joining the chase... the attacks rained down and first Bettini attacked on the following climb of the Côte de Sprimont splitting the peloton again and pulling the peloton closer to the 4 leaders... where the four succumbed to the attacks with Pierre Rolland making a brave effort and becoming the last to be caught as Andy Schleck went on a solo attack and then was joined by Stefan Schumacher.

With 25km left to go, the 94th edition of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege is heating up. We have two leaders on the road, Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher and CSC's Andy Schleck with 20 seconds lead while Silence/Lotto, Caisse d'Epargne lead the chase.


Gerolsteiner, Lampre and Barloworld leading the bunch on La Redoute with the favorites getting ready to battle for the win.  Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen

They have a 21 second gap over the peloton, and have only been away for 9km. Schleck attacked over the notorious Cote de la Redoute, and Schumacher soon bridged the gap. World Champion Paolo Bettini also launched an effort off the front, but was reeled in a few kilometres ago. As we go live, the race is on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, which is a short climb included in the race for the first time.

Our two leaders are working very well together, and despite a number of counter attacks are keeping a consistent gap. A Saunier Duval rider has just accelerated from the front of the pack, which is now all strung out.

17 km to go - Schleck has attacked! Schumacher cannot handle the pace, and he has blown. The CSC rider has a comfortable gap. Behind, Spanish Champion Rodriguez has attacked; many riders have been kicked out the rear of the peloton. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) included.

Schleck is about to get some company, owing to the efforts of a handful of riders from the bunch. It looks like David Rebellin is there, along with Andy's brother Frank This new climb has had an effect in this classic race, and could well have launched the springboard for the race win.

CSC are in pole position now. They led the Peloton for much of the opening kilometres, clearly trying to set a quick pace. Rebllin does not want to drag the two CSC riders to the finish, so he injects some pace into the lead group. Evans and Cungeo are trying to bridge the gap to our five man lead group,; currently they are around twelve seconds back.

17km to go now. Barloworld's Austrian Champion Pffanberger is with Bettini. He has been active thus far in this year's Classics. Rodgriguez has dropped back into the Evans group, and won't assist their efforts - teammate Alessandro Valverde is in the peloton.

1636 - 16km to go. We have the four man leading group: Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck (CSC), David Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Alejandro Valvderde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Our leaders have around fifteen seconds on Cadel Evans (Lotto), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) and Valverde's team mate Joaquim Rodriguez

Our leaders have around fifteen seconds on Cadel Evans (Lotto), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) and Valverde's team mate Joaquim Rodriguez

We're on a descent towards the final climb, so the race is in a temporary lull. The Cote de St. Nicholas is going to decide the race, we're 5km away from it.

The Evans group has faded, and now are over 30 seconds in arrears; Andy Schleck has tried attacking, which Rebellin and Valverde responds to. He has gone again, and this time he has got a gap. Could he be soloing into victory in Liege? He has just 8km left.

1645 - 7km left. The gap between our one leader and the three chasers is still unknown, but it is still catchable! We're now on the Cote de St. Nicholas, which is one nasty climb. Schleck is fading; Rebellin is powering up to him. Obviously Frank Schleck is not contributing. The gap is less than five seconds now.

Valverde looks good, sat behind Rebellin. Andy gets caught, and the other Schleck attacks. Rebellin and Valverde insist on being the CSC rider's shadow up front.

5 km to go - With Rebellin's pedigree in the classics, i bet Valverde and Schleck would enjoy put ting a piece of glass in the Gerolsteiner's wheel to hinder his efforts! Attack is the only answer, I tell you! I think Valverde is the weakest out of our three leaders, with 4.7km to go. This, depending on how Frank Schleck is feeling, could be similiar to the Paris Roubaix finale.

Boonen won the sprint easily there, as his two breakaway companions simply had nothing left. Though, we should not forget Valverde and Schleck came second and third here last year


Valverde jumps for the line with Rebellin and Schleck. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

1652 - 3km left. Amstel Gold winner Damiano Cunego has been caught by the Peloton, so his day is definitely over. The chasing group with him and Evans, among overs, never made in roads to our leaders. Valverde hits the front of our leading group, Rebellin is still watching his every move.

Schleck has not been to the front in the last kilometre or so. He has to attack, so they are watching the CSC rider intently. His hands are on the drop, his cadence is consistent with the other two, he must be planning a move

Flamme Rouge - Final Kilometre - Still Valverde and Rebellin keep Schleck boxed in. No moves yet, and three are showing their Poker Face.

500 meters -  Perhaps Valverde and Schleck don't have the strength We're in the home straight. Valverde goes... He's got it, easily in the end!


Valverde celebrates!     Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Alejandro Valverde Wins!!!

Valverde attacked early into the final straight, and while Schleck was in his wheel, the CSC rider couldn't respond to the attack. Rebellin was lagging behind in third, and embarrasses us race callers - he wasn't as strong as we thought! CSC, from being in control of the race with 5 kilometres left, lost this race convincingly!oops, my mistake, Rebellin got 2nd!

We shouldn't forget that Valverde has won here in 2006, and was second last year. Add that to today's success and last week's ride in the Amstel Gold, he is certainly one of the best (and most underrated?) Classic riders around today.


The victors wave to the fans, Davide Rebellin, Alejandro Valverde and Frank Schleck . Photo c. 2008 Karen Lambrecht

Results (provisional)
1. Valverde 6h44.04
2. Rebellin @0
3. F Schleck @0

4. A Schleck @30
5. Pffanberger @40
6. Dekker @40
7. Evans @40
8. Rodgriguez @48
9. Bettini @1'03
10. Nibali @1'03

Furthermore, let's not forget that Valverde has clearly stated that his aim for 2007 is the Tour de France, so I guess he won't be as active from now until July. That was a rather frantic final 25km, and contines the exciting season of Cycling that we have witness thus far in 2008.

Leige Bastogne Leige Photo Gallery

The Classic season now until after the Tour de France; the Grand Tours take the centre of attention now. The Tour of Romandie - the forerunner to the Giro - begins on Tuesday, so no rest for the Daily Peloton team.

Thanks for joining us for the final of  today's race... Photos and complete results to follow. Have a great ride today.

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