Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge has won the second Monument of his career today, beating Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and Michal Kwiatkowski of Omega Pharma-Quick Step to the line to claim victory in the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Defending champion Dan Martin of Garmin Sharp had attacked from a select group inside the final kilometre and as he reeled in the two riders ahead, Katusha's Giampaolo Caruso and AG2R's Domenco Pozzovivo, it looked as though the Irish rider might become the first man to win back-to-back editions since Michele Bartoli in 1997 and 1998.
Coming round the final bend, however, and poised to lead the race into the final 300 metres Martin, second to Valverde at the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, crashed to the ground, with no other rider involved in the incident.
Instead it was Australian national champion Gerrans who triumphed at the end of the 263km race, adding the oldest Monument, nicknamed La Doyenne and first raced in 1892, to his palmares which already include the 2012 edition of Milan-San Remo.
"It's incredible," said Gerrans afterwards. "I don't have the words to express what I'm feeling. It was really a super hard race all the way at the finish. And I really have to thank my team. With 30kms to go, I actually felt I didn't have good legs but they insisted. I owe them a lot. You never know what happens on such a final.
"I just gave the maximum until the final bend. To win here really is a dream come true. It unfolded perfectly for me. I was well placed and managed to avoid Dan Martin who crashed just in front of me. I then had the legs to finhish well.
"I was confident I could beat guys like Valverde and Gilbert on a sprint like that one but after 250kms, everything can happen.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.