The peloton starts at about ten o’clock on the Place Saint-Lambert in Liège. He who gets first to the turning point in Bastogne earns 5000 euro. At 44.5 kilometers from the finish the Côte de la Redoute is the sign to begin the final. Via Sprimont the riders head to the Côte des Forges and at less than 20 kilometers from the end it’s time for La Roche-aux-Faucons. On the Côte de Saint-Nicolas , with just over five kilometers to go, the favourites can give a last power explosion.
Vanendert in with a chance
Alejandro Valverde proved last Wednesday in the Flèche Wallonne he has strong legs. Other possible winners are Philippe Gilbert, Michal Kwiatkowski and Bauke Mollema. Last year’s winner Daniel Martin will stand at the start in Liège as well. After a second place in the Amstel Gold Race and a sixth place in the Flèche Wallonne Lotto Belisol hopes for another striking performance of Jelle Vanendert.
Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Belisol: “The Flemish spring classics didn’t go as expected. But with the constant results of the last races we are coming back. If we could win on Sunday, we will have taken the maximum. Compared to the other classics Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a totally different race. Vanendert showed himself the past races. That’s the least we can say of Jelle.”
“Who will be the main players on Sunday? The last races made it clear that Gilbert and Valverde are in an excellent shape. But we also have to take Rodriguez, Martin and Kwiatkowski into account.”
“I’ll look back with satisfaction on Sunday evening if we have reached a top five and at least played along for the victory. If we don’t play an active role it would be disappointing. But if Vanendert can race in the same way as he did last week in Valkenburg, then something is possible.”
Jelle Vanendert: “The big difference with the Amstel is the fact that I can get to Sunday in all serenity. I don’t have any doubt about my condition anymore. I do still feel my knee, but I don’t really have hinder while racing. But the shape’s good. I’ve got the same feeling I had two years ago.”
It would be great to finish solo!
“The course might have changed, but that won’t have many influence on the race I think. On La Redoute there will be a first selection. But the real explosion will come on La Roche-aux-Faucons. I have to see I start the climb on the first rows because the better riders will be shifted from the others. I expect that on Sunday especially the strong teams like BMC, Movistar, Katusha and Astana will come to the front. But we can stand next to them. Our team has become stronger this year. With Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tim Wellens and Tony Gallopin we can play along in different race scenarios. The best scenario for me? Riding solo to the victory.”
Selection Lotto Belisol: Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.