Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Dan Martin wins La Doyenne

Garmin-Sharp man becomes second Irish rider to win cycling's oldest monument - and the first British-born victor

by Simon_MacMichael   April 21, 2013  

Liege-Bastogne-Liege logo 2013

Dan Martin of Garmin-Sharp has become just the second Irish rider to win cycling's oldest Monument, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, responding to an attack from Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez ahead of the flamme rouge and then dropping the Spaniard to take the biggest win of his career and pull off the major victory he has long been threatening to achieve.

Martin's victory is the third in the race from an Irish rider, following Sean Kelly's two wins in the 1980s, and is also the first from a rider born in Great Britain - he hails from Birmingham, and is a former British junior champion before switching his allegience to Ireland, his mother's native country. Rodriguez finished second, with Alejandro Valverde of Movistar, winner in 2008, third.

Martin's team mate, Ryder Hesjedal, had attacked on the last but one of today's big climbs in a move that resulted in just four other riders joining the Garmin-Sharp pair to contest the finale, the others - besides Rodriguez and Valverde - being AG2R's Carlos Betancur and Lampre-Merida's Michele Scarponi.

In the 2011 Giro di Lombardia, Martin had got the better of Rodriguez to beat the Spaniard to second place behind Leopard-Trek's Oliver Zaugg, and earlier this week he was just edged off the podium as he finished fourth in Flèche Wallonne. Today, he alone was able to follow Rodriguez on the run-in to the finish in Ans, on the outskirts of Liège, of the 261.5 kilometre race nicknamed La Doyenne.

The six-man group had hit that final climb with less than ten seconds' advantage over a chasing group, its members having bridged across to Hesjedal on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, the summit of which came just 5.5 kilometres from the finish.

The Canadian, who will begin the defence of his Giro d'Italia title in two weeks' time in Naples, had reached the foot of that ascent with a 20 second lead, having time trialled his way down from the previous climb - the Côte de Colonster, replacing the Côte de Roche aux Faucons, missed out due to roadworks - where he had attacked in response to a move from Saxo-Tinkoff's Alberto Contador.

The race had burst into life on the Côte de la Redoute, crested with 38.5 kilometres to go, David Lopez attacking from the main group and Team Sky colleagues including Chris Froome and Richie Porte spreading across the narrow road behind to make it near impossible for anyone to go off after him.

With big names including Contador and world champion Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing holding back, some riders did manage to get round the Sky riders at the front of the group to join Lopez.

The remains of what had been a group of six riders that had got away early on in the 261.5 kilometre race, who at one point had held an advantage of nearly a quarter of an hour over the main group, had been swept up ahead of the summit of Côte de la Redoute.

Those riders were Lotto-Belisol’s Bart De Clercq, Vacansoleil-DCM’s Frederik Veucheulen, Sander Armée of Topsport, IAM riders Jonathan Fumeaux and Pirmin Lang, and Europcar’s Vincent Jérôme.

As they swung onto the bottom of the Côte de la Redoute, their advantage was just one minute, with teams including Sky, BMC and RadioShack-Leopard having all taken stints at the front of the main group to reel in the break.

By the time the race hit the top of the climb, the seven men out in front were Lopez, AG2R’s Romain Bardet, Jakob Fuglsang of Astana, Rui Costa from Movistar, BMC’s Mathias Frank, Katusha’s Alberto Losada and Lampre-Merida’s Damiano Cunego.

Heading towards the final 30 kilometres, Lopez, Cunego and Bardet attacked again and found themselves alone at the head of the race. Behind, FDJ’s Pierrick Fédrigo had joined the other four members of the break, but they were picked off as the race headed up the Côte de Colonster and Hesjedal made the move that signalled the start of the finale.

For all the work they put in, Sky come away from the Classics campaign that it had huge hopes for with no victories, Sergio Henao coming closest with his second place in Flèche Wallonne.

Gilbert, who comes from just down the road and two years ago was unbeatable in the Ardennes, was also unable to get into the group that would ultimately contest the win, with 2013 now going down as one of the blackest years in Belgian cycling - believed to be the first time in 98 years that no rider from Europe's most cycling-mad nation has won a Spring Classic.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2013 result

1  Daniel MARTIN          Garmin-Sharp        06:38:07
2  Joaquin RODRIGUEZ      Katusha                 at 3 seconds
3  Alejandro VALVERDE     Movistar                   9
4  Carlos BETANCUR        AG2R La Mondiale           9
5  Michele SCARPONI       Lampre-Merida              9
6  Enrico GASPAROTTO      Astana                    18
7  Philippe GILBERT       BMC Racing                18
8  Ryder HESJEDAL         Garmin-Sharp              18
9  Rui COSTA              Movistar                  18
10 Simon GERRANS          Orica-GreenEdge           18
11 Benoît VAUGRENARD      FDJ                       18
12 Igor ANTON             Euskaltel                 18
13 Romain BARDET          AG2R La Mondiale          18
14 Rinaldo NOCENTINI      AG2R La Mondiale          18
15 Lars Petter NORDHAUG   Blanco Pro Cycling        18
16 Sergio HENAO           Team Sky                  18
17 Nicki SÖRENSEN         Saxo-Tinkoff              21
18 Jelle VANENDERT        Lotto-Belisol             26
19 Simon GESCHKE          Argos-Shimano             56
20 Diego ULISSI           Lampre-Merida             56

 

10 user comments

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Great finish by Dan Martin.

No Sky rider in the top 15. Back to the drawing board for their Classics campaign then.

Highlights will be on ITV4 tonight (Sunday) at 9pm and at http://www.itv.com/itv4/

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1775 posts]
21st April 2013 - 17:28

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Andy Schleck finishes in front of Contador - what a result! Keep it up Andy!

In Sky's defence they did start the fireworks in the finale - shame they don't have anyone who can finish it off. Why were Thomas and Eddy not part of the Ardennes squad?

posted by Metjas [240 posts]
21st April 2013 - 20:25

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thanks for the reminder-puts itv4 on Smile

posted by fast as fupp [11 posts]
21st April 2013 - 20:54

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Got the highlights set to record, missed the whole thing today after a family meal out Crying

I did look at the results

Andy Schleck 41st, only 1.20 down, does this mean he's decided to stop throwing in the before the end of every race this season? Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8132 posts]
21st April 2013 - 20:59

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One of those ultra rare moments when I feel proud of being a Brummie. Noice one myte.

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posted by G-bitch [298 posts]
21st April 2013 - 21:02

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Gkam84 wrote:
Andy Schleck 41st,

No wonder he has been unable to finish a race, he's been giving Jan Ulrich a run for his black Forrest gateaux!

Oh and well done to Irelands most loved Brummie! Tongue
Very much deserved

posted by kitkat [181 posts]
21st April 2013 - 21:32

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What are Sky doing with Geraint Thomas, he surely should be a little more high profile

posted by fred22 [206 posts]
22nd April 2013 - 8:48

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fred22 wrote:
What are Sky doing with Geraint Thomas, he surely should be a little more high profile

Perhaps him and EBH are in the TdF squad and are just fine tuning their programme rather than a full blown attack on the classics.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2425 posts]
22nd April 2013 - 9:58

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stumps wrote:
fred22 wrote:
What are Sky doing with Geraint Thomas, he surely should be a little more high profile

Perhaps him and EBH are in the TdF squad and are just fine tuning their programme rather than a full blown attack on the classics.

Agree. Also no Sky rider who rode the Cobbleds, carried into FW or LBL - completely different races, different riders. And if they had, they'd have been on their knees and fit for nothing. The Cobbled squad had been in serious training since Nov, and desperately needed a break.

G wont be on the Giro team (being saved for the Tour). My guess is he'll be riding Bayern Rundfahrt late May as team leader going for GC (he won it in 2011)

posted by Sam1 [206 posts]
22nd April 2013 - 10:50

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Metjas wrote:
Andy Schleck finishes in front of Contador - what a result! Keep it up Andy!

In Sky's defence they did start the fireworks in the finale - shame they don't have anyone who can finish it off. Why were Thomas and Eddy not part of the Ardennes squad?

EBH is clearly out of sorts and has been all spring to date. As I've posted elsewhere, the Cobbled Classics squad have been hard at it in training since Nov - they all need a break - inc G.

posted by Sam1 [206 posts]
22nd April 2013 - 10:51

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