Twenty-five teams have been selected to take part of Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2013, which will take place on April the twenty-first.The following nineteen teams have been selected in compliance with International Cycling Union rules :
Following the team directors’ meeting on Saturday afternoon, it was confirmed that the 98th edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday 22nd April will have 25 teams and 200 starters.
Last year’s winner, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) of Belgium will have the race number ‘1’ for the 257.5 kilometre race.
Amongst the other favourites are Spain’s Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), former double winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Andy and Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Bellisol).
Other top names who did not take part in the mid-week Fleche Wallone – won by Rodríguez – include Italy’s Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Milan-San Remo winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
Racing will start at 1040 and the earliest finish is expected at 1648 local time.
© Presse Sports
Ruled out of the end of Fleche Wallone because of a puncture, Frank Schleck was unable to give it his all on the Mur de Huy. But after three days of resting up and training easy, the rider from Luxembourg tells letour.fr that he is up for the win in La Doyenne. “I’m here to go for the victory. We know all the favourites and we know that everything is possible.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
“In Fleche I was unlucky enough to puncture around 12 kilometres from the finish and I used up a lot of energy getting back on again. But my form’s good, I can’t do anything to avoid bad luck – nobody can.”
“Beating Gilbert in the sprint, though, is very hard. I don’t know where it will be possible to move ahead, but you have to be ahead of him before the finishing straight if you want to win.”
© Presse Sports
For Katusha leader and 2012 Fleche Wallone winner Joaquím Rodríguez, nothing compares to the Ardennes Classics, he far prefers them more than the Tour or the Vuelta or the World Championships - but when asked why, at first he pretends not to know.
“I couldn’t tell you – it’s like if I asked why you preferred blondes or brunettes,” he jokingly says to letour.fr
“Seriously, though, these are races I’ve loved since I was a kid, I would sit and watch them at home with my family, and I really do prefer them to any others. When it comes to cycling, this is my ‘magic week’.”
Rodríguez knows which is his favourite hotel room, though – that would be room 11 in the Belgian hotel belonging to Valerio Piva, his Katusha manager, near Liege and where Katusha have been staying for the last week. Room 11 is, according to Piva, the ‘lucky room’ – which Cipollini used the night before winning the 2003 World Championships, Bartoli before taking Liege-Bastogne-Liege twice in the 1990s, Argentin before winning Liege four times between 1985 and 1991, Kim Kirchen before winning Fleche in 2008 and Rodriguez himself before taking Fleche in 2012. (For the record, Xavier Florencio is his room-mate. )“Here’s hoping it brings me the same kind of luck tomorrow,” Rodríguez says, “if I win again, I’ll buy it off Valerio for keeps!”
Although clearly in good spirits, Rodríguez is keeping his feet on the ground when it comes to tomorrow’s race.
“I love this race and I’ve always done pretty well in it,” the 32-year-old says, “But I know how hard it is, and I’m going to race tomorrow as if I hadn’t won Fleche Wallone.”
“From the La Redoute(km 223) climb onwards is where it really gets tough, but this year, with the bad weather that’s forecast, your team-mates will have worked a lot harder beforehand, they’ll have dropped back, and there will be a much smaller group of favourites in the front group. It’s going to be a lot harder to control than when it’s dry.”
© Presse Sports
© Presse Sports
Last year, the number sequence was simple: after 1st places on the Flèche Brabançonne, the Amstel Gold Race and the Flèche Wallonne, Philippe Gilbert finished… 1st on Liege-Bastogne-Liege! Times have changed and the 2011 world number 1 rider’s drought of success has shaken Belgium, but once again the numbers are giving hope to the country three days from the ‘the old lady’ of the classics. Phil Gil’s series in the Ardennes started modestly with a 12th place, then a more convincing 6th place in Valkenburg and especially a 3rd place at the summit of the Mur de Huy yesterday. This trend is naturally encouraging, especially when the irresistible winner of La Flèche, Joaquim Rodriguez, is himself playing down his chances on the last of the Belgian classics. He may just be bluffing, so anything is still possible for the Spaniard, who already boasts a 2nd-placed finish on this race in 2009.
Beyond the confrontation between Gilbert and Rodriguez, the findings from the races of the last week are quite ambiguous. As such, the lack of a cutting edge from the Schleck brothers does not necessarily exclude them from the struggle for triumph. The same is also true for the unfortunate riders of the Spanish clan, such as Valverde and Anton. What’s more, although it is rare that the winner in Liege leaves holes in his campaign in the Ardennes, the favourites for Sunday’s race are not exclusively confined to the classification of the Flèche Wallonne: Simon Gerrans (6th in 2009) has taken on a greater dimension since his victory on Milan-San Remo, whilst Damiano Cunego won a stage on the Tour of Trentin at the same time as his colleagues were battling on the Mur de Huy. Finally, based on recent finishes, the numbers game could also be a successful inspiration for Thomas Voeckler, winner of the Flèche Brabançonne and 5th on the Amstel Gold Race.
25 teams: the main competitors
GreenEdge Cycling Team (GEC): Albasini (Swi), Gerrans (Aus)
Lotto-Belisol Team (LTB): J.Vanendert, Van den Broeck (Bel)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step (OPQ): Devenyns (Bel), Chavanel, Pineau (Fra)
Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda’s (ACC): Scheirlinckx (Bel)
Landbouwkrediet-Euphony (LAN): Bellemakers (NL)
Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator (TSV): Van Hecke (Bel)
Team Saxo Bank (SAX): Kroon (NL)
Euskaltel - Euskadi (EUS): Sanchez, Anton (Spa), Sicard (Fra)
Movistar Team (MOV): Valverde (Spa), Costa (Por)
BMC Racing Team (BMC): Gilbert, Van Avermaet (Bel)
Garmin-Barracuda (GRM): LeMevel (Fra), Hesjedal (Can), Martin (Irl)
Team Type 1 - Sanofi (TT1): El Fares (Fra), Bertogliati (Swi)
AG2R La Mondiale (ALM): Nocentini (Ita), Roche (Irl)
FDJ-Big Mat (FDJ): Fédrigo (Fra)
Saur-Sojasun (SAU): Simon (Fra)
Team Europcar (EUC): Voeckler, Rolland (Fra)
Sky Procycling (SKY): Uran (Col)
Lampre - ISD (LAM): Cunego (Ita)
Liquigas-Cannondale: (LIQ): Nibali (Ita)
Astana Pro Team (AST): Gasparotto (Ita, Kiserlovski (Cro)
RadioShack-Nissan (RNT): F.Schleck, A.Schleck (Lux), Monfort (Bel)
Rabobank Cycling Team (RAB): Boom, Gesink, Mollema (NL)
Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team (VCD): Devolder (Bel), Hoogerland (NL)
Argos-Shimano (ARG): Geschke (Ger), Geniez (Fra)
Katusha Team (KAT): Rodriguez, Freire (Spa)
A new season begins! Now that the cobbles have had their day, it is time for the “big bumps” with the week of the Ardennes Classics and in particular the Flèche Wallonne, women’s Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege races.
This morning, a presentation of this sequence brought together a large group of journalists, a short way away from the finishing line of “La Doyenne” in Ans. Christian Prudhomme, accompanied by André Gilles, President of the Liege regional authorities, and Christophe Lacroix, the provincial representative in charge of sports, evoked the main characteristics of what makes these events monuments of cycling: the spectacular finish at the top of the Mur de Huy climb, the sequence of difficulties and the extremely tense return journey towards Liege, amongst others. The organisers have, in a way, given a lasting resonance to these unrivalled phases of the race, because an agreement stipulating that the Flèche Wallonne will finish at Huy and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in Ans until 2018 has been signed with the Province of Liege. In the pack, the most aggressive attackers can already see themselves as heroes this spring. Whilst Philippe Gilbert was head and shoulders above the rest in 2011, the beast of the classics is once again in a situation where he has to show his mettle. The same is true for Marianne Vos, the woman to watch, aiming for her fourth triumph on ‘La Flèche’.
The main participants
Accent Jobs-Veranda’s Willems:Scheirlinckx (Bel); AG2R La Mondiale: Nocentini (Ita), Roche (Irl); Argos-Shimano: Geschke (Ger), Geniez (Fra); Astana Pro Team: Kreuziger (Cze), Petrov (Rus); BMC Racing Team: Gilbert (Bel), Evans (Aus); Euskaltel-Euskadi: Anton (Spa), Sicard (Fra); FDJ-BigMat: Fédrigo, Pauriol (Fra); Garmin-Barracuda: LeMevel (Fra), Hesjedal (Can); GreenEdge Cycling Team: Gerrans (Aus); Katusha Team: Rodriguez (Spa); Lampre-Isd: Cunego (Ita); Landbowkrediet-Euphony: Bellemakers (NL); Liquigas-Cannondale: Nibali (Ita); Lotto-Belisol Team: J.Vanendert, Meersman, Van den Broeck (Bel); Movistar Team: Valverde (Spa); Omega Pharma-Quick Step: Devenyns (Bel), Chavanel, Pineau (Fra); Rabobank Cycling Team: Boom, Gesink, Mollema (NL); RadioShack-Nissan: F.Schleck, A.Schleck (Lux), Monfort (Bel); Saur-Sojasun: Coppel, Simon (Fra); Sky ProCycling: Uran (Col); Team Europcar: Rolland, Voeckler (Fra); Team Saxo Bank: Kroon (Hol); Team Type 1-Sanofi: El Fares (Fra), Bertogliati (Swi); TopsportVlaanderen-Mercator: De Vreese(Bel); Vacansoleil-DCM: De Gendt (Bel), Hoogerland (NL)
25 teams have been invited to start in the 98th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, next April 22.
The following 18 teams have been selected in compliance with International Cycling Union rules:
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA)
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ)
BMC RACING TEAM (USA)
EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI (ESP)
GREENEDGE CYCLING TEAM (AUS)
KATUSHA TEAM (RUS)
LAMPRE – ISD (ITA)
LOTTO BELISOL TEAM (BEL)
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP)
OMEGA PHARMA-QUICKSTEP (BEL)
RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM (NED)
SKY PRO CYCLING (GBR)
TEAM SAXO BANK (DEN)
VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM (NED)
Seven other teams, invited by the organisers, will make up the field for Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2012:
ACCENT JOBS – WILLEMS VERANDA’S (BEL)
PROJECT 1T4I (NED)
SAUR – SOJASUN (FRA)
TEAM EUROPCAR (FRA)
TEAM TYPE 1 – SANOFI (USA)
TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – MERCATOR (BEL)
After triumphing last Wednesday on the Fleche Wallonne and a week ago on Dutch soil on the Amstel Gold Race, Belgian Philippe Gilbert entered the history books by claiming his home race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The Omega Pharma Lotto team leader managed to cope with the pressure from his rivals and captured the win after outsprinting the Schleck brothers to the line.