Cycling News

World champion Remco Evenepoel defends Liège-Bastogne-Liège title

World champion Remco Evenepoel defends Liège-Bastogne-Liège title

World champion Remco Evenepoel won Sunday’s 109th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the fourth Monument of the season, defending his title to the delight of the Belgian crowds. The highly anticipated Liège-Bastogne-Liège showdown between Tadej Pogačar and Remco Evenepoel has was scuppered, as the Slovenian ace crashed out in the first half of Sunday’s La Doyenne with a broken wrist. Evenepoel takes fine form into the Giro d’Italia, which starts in two weeks.

Introduction and Course

It looked like finally Pogačar and reigning titlist Evenepoel were going to get down to 2023 business. Pogačar, the 2021 champ, was rolling, having taken the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne in his last three races. The podium men in the last two of those three races—Ben Healy, Mattias Skjelmose, Mikel Landa and Tom Pidcock—were on the start line.

Michael Woods, 2018 runner-up and fourth in Wednesday’s La Fleche Wallonne, and Guillaume Boivin flew the Canadian flag.

The fourth Monument of the season took place over 258 Belgian kilometres. Eleven climbs awaited the riders, with the final three sure to elicit attacks. The Cote de La Redoute crested at the 224 km mark—it was 1.8 km of 7.8 percent. Next came Cote des Forges, 1.2 km of 7.8 percent. The last ascent was Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons, a nasty affair at 1.3 km of 10.1 percent, peaking with 13 km until the finish line in Liège. It was a wet edition.

Eleven riders formed the day’s breakaway, an even mix of WorldTeam and ProTeam fellows. They had a 4:00 gap by the first climb of the day.

Between the first and second climbs, at the 84.5 km mark, Pogačar crashed with an EF Education-Easypost rider, Dane Mikkel Frølich Honoré. Both had to abandon.

By the middle climbs, the breakaway was in pieces, and Jumbo-Visma’s Czech Jan Tratnik bridged to its remnants….

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…