Ahead of this Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Bell Helmets have released a video that features thoughts on the Belgian race from members of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, including Laurens ten Dam.
“Liège is my training course,” says the Dutch rider. “I actually train more in Belgium than in The Netherlands. I know every corner there... It really is the hardest race out there.”
Ten Dam tells the story of his first Liège-Bastogne-Liège when he got dropped with 60km to go and finished over 15mins down on race winner Alejandro Valverde.
He hasn’t really been able to train intensively lately because of broken ribs.
Teammate Bram Tankink says, “Liege is one of the hardest races out there, if not the hardest one of the year.
“When you ride up the Roche-aux-Faucons or the Saint-Nicolas in training, you don’t think much of them, but after racing for 260km nothing comes easy anymore. You’re not eliminated by bad luck here, you are eliminated by fatigue.”
The LottoNL-Jumbo team leaders for the 101st edition of the race will be Wilco Kelderman and Paul Martens.
“Liège is a great race and I think it suits me with those longer climbs,” said Kelderman, who finished 10th in La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. This will be his first Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Here are links to the Strava segments for all of the race’s key climbs (the final figure on each line being the point in the race of the climb)
• Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne 2.8km @ 4.9% - 79.0km
• Côte de Saint-Roch 0.8km @ 12% - 125.5km
• Côte de Wanna 2.7km @ 7% - 169km
• Côte de Stockeu 1.1km @ 10.5% - 175.5km
• Côte de la Haute-Levee 3.4km @ 6% - 181.5km
• Col du Rosier 4km @ 5.9% - 194km
• Col du Maquisard 2.4km @ 5.6% - 207km
• Côte de la Redoute 2.1km @ 8.4% - 218.5km
• Côte de la Roche aux Faucons 1.5km @ 9.9% - 234km
• Côte de Saint-Nicolas 1km @ 11.1% - 248km
Most of the climbs come in the second half of the race giving aggressive riders the chance to attack before the finish in the northern Liège suburb of Ans.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.