As is tradition, Liège-Bastogne-Liège will mark the third and final instalment of the Ardennes Classics when it is held in Belgium on April 23, following on from thrilling editions of Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne which were both won by Demi Vollering (SD Worx).
The one-day race also concludes the Spring Classics season and opens the door to the late-spring and summer stage racing season that will kick off at the revamped seven-day La Vuelta Femenina on May 1.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège made its debut on the women’s calendar in 2017 won by Anna van der Breggen. The Dutch rider went on to win the second edition in 2018, while Annemiek van Vleuten also won two editions in 2019 and 2022, while Lizzie Deignan took victory in 2020 and Vollering in 2021.
Cyclingnews highlights some of the biggest talking points ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, to add to our preview of the major contenders and route guide for the 142.8km race from Bastogne to Liège.
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Van Vleuten questions place in Ardennes
Annemiek van Vleuten lines up as the defending champion at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and has won the race twice in her career. A favourite to win a third time, she said that the route suits her better than both Amstel and Flèche.
However, the World Champion enters the Spring Classics finale without a victory this season, and it has caused her to question her place at the Ardennes Classics.
Van Vleuten set out with a targeted program to compete in six one-day events this spring but has only managed to finish in the top 10 at Strade Bianche (4th) and Flèche Wallonne (7th).
Normally a dominant figure in the spring one-day races, questions about her early-season form have begun to swirl. Van Vleuten has considered her form and results, too, and said that while she is in good shape, the depth and strength of the peloton has increased compared to previous years.
“I am not feeling bad, I feel like I’m up there like in other years, but others were better,” Van Vleuten said after Flèche Wallonne. “Of course, I’m not racing for a result like seventh — I started with the idea of going for the win. After today, I can conclude that I’m not in the same position as I used to be in other Ardennes campaigns. I don’t know yet what…
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