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Liege - Bastogne - Liege Discussion

Welcome everyone to the final race of the Ardennes classics; La Doyenne! 249 km between Liege and Ans to decide who is the best puncheur in the world. After having had two different winners in the previous two Ardennes classics, with Sagan winning Amstel and Ginanni winning Fleche, no one can repeat Ponzi's achievement of the "Ardennes Treble".

2016Sven FritschJan BakelantsToms Skujins
2015Simone PonziSimon SpilakJan Bakelants
2014Jan BakelantsYuri TrofimovEdvald Boasson Hagen
2013Yuri TrofimovEdvald Boasson HagenJan Bakelants
2012Frank SchleckJan BakelantsStefan Schumacher
2011Frank SchleckPatrik SinkewitzLuis Leon Sanchez
2010Frank SchleckEdvald Boasson HagenRiccardo Ricco
2009Riccardo RiccoFrank SchleckKim Kirchen
2008Alejandro ValverdeDanilo di LucaSamuel Sanchez
2007Alejandro ValverdeKim KirchenPhilippe Gilbert

Let's start with the reigning champion, the Luxemborgian pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/vsa.png Sven Fritsch. Last year he won from the early breakaway, in one of the most surprising Monument results ever. This year he'll ride in support of pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/vsa.png Ben Gastauer, who despite finishing 2nd in Grand-Duche and 4th in Amstel earlier in the season, has never finished in the top10 of the race, being last year's 16th place his best result in the race. Vesuvio also has here the three-times winner pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/vsa.png Frank Schleck, who will race here for the last time on his career

The dominator of the hilly classics this season, pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/mos.png Peter Sagan, who finally lost in a hilly classic in La Fleche Wallonne, after winning Badaling, Grand-Duche and Amstel, is another favourite that has never finished in the top10 of the race, with his 14th place in 2016 being his best result.

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/gre.png Edvald Boasson Hagen is back from PCT to fight against all his former rivals. The Norwegian has finished second twice, and has been in the top6 for the last 7 years, but has never won the race, being this the big classic that is missing in his impressive palmares

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/sva.png Jan Bakelants is a former winner in 2014, having finished in the podium for the last five years. His season so far has been very consistent, after having finished in the podium of every race he has entered so far, but he hasn't won yet, and what race is better to do it than this?

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/hug.png Simone Ponzi is another former winner of the race, being part of his "Ardennes Treble" in 2015. But the Italian is having an off season, after having to abandon in Amstel and only being 12th in Fleche. He needs to win to show his worth and follow recent success of his team

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/evo.png Toms Skujins was able to finish in the podium last year, and while the competition seems to have only got harder, he aims to repeat it

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/tsa.png Yuri Trofimov is the last former winner of the race to be in the start line (2013). He has already started his decline, but this hasn't been reflected in his result, after being 2nd in Amstel and 4th in Fleche. He has also finished in the top5 in the last 5 years!

We can't forget of Festina's duo, with pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/fes.png Simon Spilak and pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/fes.png Clement Koretzky. The Slovenian has finished four times in the top10 of the race, even being second in the 2015 edition, while the French was ninth last year

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/gzl.png Francesco Ginanni comes from winning Fleche Wallonne and will be motivated to get his first top10 result in the race since 2011!

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros16/pum.png Wilco Kelderman recently finished in Fleche's podium, and is aiming to improve in his 10th place from last year

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/pnd.png Alexey Lutsenko has never finished in the top25 of the race, but this year he has won Paris-Nice and has finished in the top10 of both Amstel and Fleche

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/jay.png Jack Bobridge is not having a great season, as he is not performing in the hilly classics and failing in the hilly tours with a tt, where he should stand out. 7th in 2015, he needs a similar result to that to prove that his pre-season training was worthy

pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/gre.png Hagen85817973pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/ebd.png Boswell80777665
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/sva.png Bakelants84817873pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/ayu.png Bellis78807574
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/hug.png Ponzi84778076pcmdaily.com/files/Micros16/prp.png Borges78758171
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/evo.png Skujins83807668pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/mos.png Vakoc80757471
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/tsa.png Trofimov82797573pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/hug.png Bilbao79777571
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/mos.png Sagan82787673pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/spy.png Bystrom79757668
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/fes.png Spilak82807467pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/spy.png Jensen78777666
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/jay.png Bobridge83748069pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/sva.png Pichon79747663
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/gzl.png Ginanni83787466pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/pnd.png Edmondson78757670
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/pnd.png Lutsenko81768172pcmdaily.com/files/Micros16/pum.png Felline77757874
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/aeg.png De Bie82777572pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/akm.png Beltran79737665
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros16/pum.png Kelderman82807267pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/akm.png Dyrnes78737765
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/ayu.png McCarthy81807464pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/nem.png Prevar78777367
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/vsa.png Gastauer82787667pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/wha.png Dowsett80747166
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/fes.png Koretzky80777971pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/evo.png Smirnovs77747872

Neither of this riders have ever finished in the top10 of the race, but have the abilities to finish this year on it, like pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/ayu.png McCarthy,
pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/aeg.png De Bie, pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/ebd.png Boswell, pcmdaily.com/files/Micros16/prp.png Borges, although some of these contenders have a better leader like pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/ayu.png Bellis, pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/mos.png Vakoc, pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/hug.png Bilbao or pcmdaily.com/files/Micros17/sva.png Pichon


Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix

Manager of [ICL] Wilier Triestina

Hoping for a Ponzi win here, he deserves it after that silly abandon.
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
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Ah what a fantastic preview, looking forward to the race immensely. Did not know that Bakelants is so freaking consistent with his podiums, also that he came 2nd behind that odd botd win. Given the current season, I can only hope for the best and perhaps another win of the La Doyenne is coming up with 3rd at AGR and 2nd at Fleche. Make it happen, Jan!
Unleash the Landa!

"It’s a little bit scary when Contador attacks." - Tommy V
"Landismo never dies" - Landa

Let's go show the world we're not entirely useless! Grin
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Guess a low Top-10 would already be a success. What a lame season Bobridge is having. Should have trained someone else I guess Smile
Top10 would in fact be a surprise seeing that Fleche was probably the exception. Pfft

Anyway it`s the wanted aim and even a top5 would for once be appreciated. Similar riders have those good days as well, why not De Bie as well.

Still undecided what to do with De Bie in future. Seeing how low the improvement from 81 to 82 hill was, I am not even sure it`s worth to pay big for 83 when Bobridge also struggles the same. Even with 80 acc hence Borges` 81 can`t be the only reason he is shining.

Likely having saved the big money and trained Olivier from 79 to 81 would have been smarter now, but back then 81 in mountain was still average only while 82 in hill with good backup stats was looking pretty good.

Hence give me a nice surprise in La Doyenne now. Pfft
A top 10 result for Sagan and a top 20 result for Vakoc would be nice results. Another top 3/5 result would be way over out plan. Fingers crossed.

roturn wrote:
Still undecided what to do with De Bie in future. Seeing how low the improvement from 81 to 82 hill was, I am not even sure it`s worth to pay big for 83 when Bobridge also struggles the same. Even with 80 acc hence Borges` 81 can`t be the only reason he is shining.

Likely having saved the big money and trained Olivier from 79 to 81 would have been smarter now, but back then 81 in mountain was still average only while 82 in hill with good backup stats was looking pretty good.

Hmm, Sagan's improvement from 80 to 82 was incredible, I guess you can never say how it works exactly with CyaLogic. Pfft But I think Sagan is a special rider thankfully to his great downhill that allows him to save energy, plus he has a lot of luck in this year. But I guess further training of De Bie should be worth it for the future as majority of 82+ HIL riders are 30+ years old. For a more immediate results, you are probably right training of Olivier would probably make a bigger impact.
Manager of Moser - Sygic
Monuments are Evonik time (it is known) and so I sure hope that Skujins can deliver again a monument. A top 5 would be nice / expected but I really want a top 3 to keep the good monument record going andafter a season without overperformances from him I feel like I deserve it.

Wish result would be:
1. Skujins
2. Ponzi (would be a great comeback after FW and AGR )
3. Bakelandts (Strava <3)

Ah well, let me dream. Smile

A Big Thank You To All MG And ICL Reporters!
And To All Who Organize Something On Daily As Well!

Eddy finally got his GC win in Pais Vasco earlier this season, now finally the win here? Hopefully he'll do a good race, though I won't complain too much if he should be using up his bad day/unlucky day of the season here Pfft

Hope to see Ponzi do good as well. Maybe a Norwegian-Italian fight for the win?
Another win goal here so I guess my expectations shouldnt be too high here either Pfft

Looking forward to see if some success is found in the ardennes in the end.
.: Manager of :.
.: Hugo Boss :.
Can't we stop with these hilly races now?
Just a minute, Heine Pfft

I have to be optimistic with Borges' performances so fingers crossed for another good day from him.

My kiss of death goes to the most traditional death kissed rider around, Eddy Boss!

Good luck everyone!
Jeez. All those crashes...

Was about to close the browser when De Bie first blocked by the first crash and then crashing himself in the 2nd peloton...

Luckily I did not and not sure how and what the hell the first group was doing but somehow De Bie plus some other crash victims made it back in time and then he was still strong enough to finally use his hill/sprint combination to win the fight for 4th.

Wonder if todays great form would have been enough to even challenge the top3 when not being involved in those 2 big crashes but doesn`t matter really now. 4th is a lot more than I expected even though just what I needed after Badaling/Amstel and trend continued after Fleche with LBL now.

Villella as 38th also finally in the area I would like to see him more often in those classics.

Thanks for the nice report and congrats to Hugo Boss. Their Giro/California luck is back and Ponzi finally with a good Ardennes classic after two to forget.

Festina with a good result as well just like Mr. Consistency Bakelants while Sagan seems to struggle slowly.

Kelderman also the unlucky one to be the one to get injured by the 2nd crash while De Bie, Lutsenko, Gastauer all made it back for good places.
Heine wrote:
Can't we stop with these hilly races now?

Finally. Yes.

Did not expect better than 8th, so I should be pleased. To finish behind a breakaway rider, who I didn't even know he exists, is not acceptable though. Bobridge keeps being way too passive in almost every hilly race he enters. Finishing most of his races from 6 to 13 or something was not my idea with his training..

Well. At least Haas finally added a backup result as 20th and also Morton as 28th ain't bad.

Congrats, dev. And thanks for the report!
Boy what a race, Trofi going down arms swinging and Sagan & Eddy showing unexpected weakness. With all those crashes, happy that Strava somehow came out easy there. Seeing how Bakelants was empty at the finish line, I must be content with 3rd place although I was secretly hoping to take a win here especially since Eddy was out of the race then.

Three podiums in three races is still a solid performance, just severely disappointed at the lack of the depth in these races. Bakelants making himself a name as an old verison of real lilfe alaphilippe. At least in this last race we got some riders in the Top 50. Pichon should be around Top 20 though but he seems to not exist in these races. At least Vanendert and surprisinlgy Fankhauser are very good. Gratz to dev and sotd, and thanks for another fantastic report, Aquarius, had me on the edge of my seat.
Edited by Shonak on 04-01-2018 09:01
Unleash the Landa!

"It’s a little bit scary when Contador attacks." - Tommy V
"Landismo never dies" - Landa

5th place is alright given the crash, although I'd have preferred if he hadn't crashed. Cheers for the report.
My favorite riders all getting rewarded. Ponzi with a deserved win, Strava getting a podium and De Bie with a great comeback for 4th.
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
Is Pushpakumara the greatest rider of all time? Or just this decade?

Awesome report btw, good aggressive racing although a little blighted by crashes. Nice to see Ponzi avenging himself as well! Smile

"What done is, is one." - Benji Naesen
Dramatic race, and Ponzi finally getting everything together to claim the win. Congratulations, dev! Despite the disappointing and unlucky stuff from Ponzi earlier in the Ardennes, this surely weighs up for it, I guess.

For my own team, I know I can't expect to fight for the top placings on the hills anymore, but I will never get used to us being completely anonymous. The line up with Beltran, Dyrnes and Hoelgaard at least shouldn't be irrelevant in such races, which they honestly speaking are now. Next year the depth is likely to just increase as well, with Teuns improving, but I fear it will only lead to more frustration if I can't get better results/racing from on day races than this.

Thank you for the report, Aquarius97!
Nice run, Borges, no biggie!

Pleasant race in the last 50km or so, despite the awful crashes. Nice to see Ponzi redeem himself after all. Congrats dev!

And thanks for the report, once again Aquarius!
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