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Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Preview
 
By Staff
Date: 4/24/2004
Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Preview
 
Known as the Gran'Ma of them all, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is well and truly the oldest of cycling's classics.
First run in 1892, it rides through the hilliest parts of Belgium, along routes typical of the Ardennes. In its latter stages the race, cut out for all-round riders and of an attacking temperament, offers a succession of steep hills now fully embedded in cycling lore (Wanne, Stockeu, La Redoute). As well as its unique itinerary, Liège-Bastogne-Liège can arguably boast some of the most picturesque scenery to be seen in the Ardennes. Along the way, famed ports of call bring to mind great moments in cycling history. As well as one of World War II's fiercest battles - Stavelot and Houffalize were two of the focal points of the Battle of the Ardennes.

Though a spring race per se, it has known its share of rigorous winter weather.
Germain Derycke, co-winner in 1957 with Frans Schoubben, and Bernard Hinault, who pulled off a memorable solo breakaway in 1980, won amidst blizzard conditions. With the exception of these meteorological quirks, Liège-Bastogne-Liège remains Belgium's Primavera - an athletically demanding race in which Belgian riders have proven all but invicible, with Eddy Merckx first and foremost, having managed five victories in a seven year span from 1969 to 1975, including three in a row. Moreno Argentin, Italy's maestro of the Ardennes, won for his part four times between 1985 and 1991.

Nonetheless, the list of past winners does reflects cycling's ever-widening international appeal.
Switzerland (Ferdi Kubler's two victories in 1951 and 1952), Germany (Herman Buse and Dietrich Thurau), Ireland (a pair of victories for Sean Kelly) Denmark (Rolf Sorensen), Luxemburg (Marcel Ernzer) and Russia (Evgueni Berzin) have all had their share of the spoils, as well as the Netherlands with three victories (Albertus Geldermans, Steven Rooks and Adri Van der Poel). Four Frenchmen have won Liège-Bastogne-Liège : Louis Trousselier, Camille Danguillaume, Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault who won on his debut as a professionnal in 1977 (the Badger was to strike again three years later).

Closer to us, Michele Bartoli's two successive victories (1997 and 1998) renewed with a long-standing tradition of Italian success in the Ardennes. But he fell short of three-peating, bowing down to Frank Vandenbroucke. The young Belgian prodigy successively left cold in his tracks Laurent Jalabert, Michele Bartoli and Boogerd, his three fiercest rivals. But with Bettini, a new Italian classic-hunter is born.

Organised by ASO, was established according to the regulations of the International Cycling Union (UCI). The start of the fifth round of the World Cup will be given from the place Saint-Lambert in Liège, on the 25th of April 2004 at 10h35. After a 258,5 km race, the finish will be judged in Ans.

The official presentation of the teams will take place on Saturday the 24th of April at 14h30 at the Palais des Princes Evêques. The final closing date for riders’ entries (eight per team) is Friday the 23rd of April.The list of the twenty five teams selected to participate in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège cycling race.

The 24 GS1 teams selected

* Belgium
Chocolade Jacques Wincor - Nixdorf
Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
Lotto-Domo
MrBookmaker.com - Palmans
Quick Step - Da Vitamon

* Denmark
Team CSC

* Spain
Euskatel - Euskadi (ESP)
Iles Baléares - Banesto (ESP)
Liberty Seguros (ESP)

* France
AG2R Prevoyance
Brioches La Boulangère
Credit Agricole
FDJEUX.com

* Germany
Gerolsteiner
T-Mobile

* Italy
Alessio - Bianchi
Fassa - Bortolo
Lampre
Saeco
Vini Caldirola - Nobili Rubinetterie
Saunier-Duval

* Netherlands
Rabobank

* Switzerland
Phonak Hearing Systems

* USA
US Postal - Berry Floor

1 GS2 team selected
Domina Vacanze (ITA)

The profile

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2004 Interbike

Climbs
Km 82 / Côte Saint-Roch Climb of 1,5 km at 7,7%
Km 154 / Côte de Wanne Climb of 2,8 km at 4,9%
Km 170,5 / Côte de Stockeu Climb of 2,7 km at 10,3%
Km 175 / Côte de Wanneranval Climb of 1,4 km at 10,9%
Km 194 / Côte du Rosier Climb of 4 km at 6,1%
Km 206,5 / Côte de la Vecquée Climb of 3,2 km at 6,3%
Km 223,5 / Côte de la Redoute Climb of 1,9 km at 7,4%
Km 229,5 / Côte de Sprimont Climb of 1,5 km at 5%
Km 244,5 / Côte du Sart-Tilman - Tilff Climb of 3,7 km at 5,9%
Km 253 / Côte de Saint-Nicolas Climb of 1,1 km at 11%


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