Alejandro Valverde of Movistar has followed up Wednesday’s win at Flèche Wallonne with victory in today’s 101st edition of the oldest of cycling’s Monuments, Liège-Bastogne- Liège.
As happened earlier in the week, it was Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Julian Alaphilippe who finished second, while Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez finished third.
Just ahead of the flamme rouge to signify the start of the final kilometre, Rodriguez’s team mate Daniel Moreno attacked from a front group of a dozen riders and got a good lead on his pursuers until Valverde, who celebrated his 35th birthday yesterday, led the chase to bring him back.
Valverde’s victory is his third in the race known as La Doyenne, with the record for most wins held by Belgium’s Eddy Merckx, who triumphed five times.
With 20km remaining of today's 253km race, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Roman Kreuziger attacked, Katusha‘s Giampaolo going with him, the pair subsequently joined by Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang.
They were brought back by the front group with around 6km remaining on the Saint-Nicolas climb, the last of the day before the finish.
Meanwhile world champion Michal Kwiatkowski was losing contact with the main bunch, as was past winner and local hero Philippe Gilbert, one of a number of riders caught up in crashes today.
Others to hit the deck today included Team Sky’s Nicolas Roche, who seemed badly hurt after a nasty chute ahead of the finale that brought a lot of men crashing to the ground, among them Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans who remounted but crashed out of the race for good shortly afterwards.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.