Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) celebrates as he wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege (AFP/Getty Images)
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) attacked out of a small chasing group to catch Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)
within sight of the flamme rouge and take the win in the 2012
Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Nibali had jumped from the field on the
penultimate climb and tried to solo in the last 20km, but the Kazakh
gave chase to claim his first Classic win.
Nibali exhaustedly crossed the finish line 20 seconds later, and Iglinskiy’s teammate Enrico Gasparatto
was third, winning the chase group’s sprint. Last year’s winner
Philippe Gilbert (BMC), who had long been part of that group, relaxed
when he realized he had no chance and rolled easily over the line in
This race is often decided on La Redoute, but this year the action
waited until the Cote de La Roche aux Faucons, with 20km to go. La
Redoute had indeed reduced the field, and from there, BMC put up a
furious pace around defending champion Gilbert. They caught and passed
the remnants of the day’s escape group. But at the top of the climb, it
was Nibali at the head of things, and he took off alone on the descent,
only to be caught again at the last minute.
At the start in chilly Liège, 200 riders
left the Saint-Lambert Square while the sun was peeping through the
dark clouds. Even before the official departure, outsider Igor Anton
(Euskaltel-Euskadi) hit the deck and broke his collarbone.
The peloton on the Saint Roch
In almost every Spring Classic this year, the early breakaway only
got away after the first hour of racing and La Doyenne was no different.
Despite several earlier attempts, it took an hour before three riders
escaped after 40km of racing: Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma – Quick
Step), Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano) and Kevin Ista (Accent Jobs –
Veranda’s Willems),and they were soon joined by Reiner Honig
(Landbouwkrediet-Euphony), Grégory Habeaux (Accent Jobs – Veranda’s
Willems) and Alessandro Bazzana (Team Type 1 – Sanofi). By that time,
the gap had skyrocketed to more than 12 minutes. That was the signal for
the Katusha team of top favorite Joaquím Rodriguez to start working.
In Bastogne – at the turning point – rain showers tortured the riders
when they reached the feed zone. From there, the gap dropped from 12
minutes to seven minutes after the second climb of the day, the Côte de
Saint-Roch. The average speed
dropped back to 38km/h while Katusha kept the gap at around seven
minutes in the long zone before the third climb of the day, the Côte de
Wanne. The peloton started getting restless while several riders were
beginning to feel the pain of the demanding Ardennes course, getting
dropped on the Wanne. The gap was down to just over five minutes after
Gilbert and the BMC offensive
Just before hitting the Cote de Stockeu, the front group lost Geschke
in a crash and while in the peloton, favorite Samuel Sanchez
(Euskaltel-Euskadi) ran into problems as well. The gap dropped to under
three minutes on the long, demanding climbs. On the Levée , Pierre
Rolland (Europcar) attacked, accompanied by Vasil Kiryienka (Europcar)
and David Le Lay (Saur-Sojasun). They caught the five remaining leaders
by the 4km long climb up the Col du Rosier. The peloton, led by BMC and
Lotto Belisol, trailed the front of the race by one and a half minutes
while riding in and out of rain showers.
The fast pace set by the newcomers in the break resulted in several
dropped riders, but the gap back to the peloton remained above one
minute. The rain continued to come down, and the riders packed
themselves in dry, warm clothes. Cataldo, Bazzana, Rolland, Lelay and
Kiryienka held on to a fairly consistent 1:30 lead for a while. Mads
Christensen (Saxo Bank) jumped from the field but never got far away, as
the looming La Redoute dominated things, with the teams bringing their
captains early into position.
The fearsome climb tore the lead group apart, and behind them, the
peloton gobbled up Christensen. Both Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) had technical problems on the climb, throwing
them back, while Gilbert rode easily at the head of the field. While
the chasing peloton got noticeably smaller, there was no real decisive
Kiryienka and Rolland came over the top with about a 45-second lead,
with Cataldo chasing them and struggling to catch up and hang on. He
finally made it to the other two.
BMC kept the pace high, high enough that splits started appearing in
the long, strung-out peloton. With only 25km to go, the gap had fallen
to under 30 seconds. With 21km to go, the leaders hit the penultimate
climb, the Cote de La Roche aux Faucons, with only a 14-second lead,
with BMC still leading the chase. Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)
couldn’t hold the pace and fell off the back of the field.
Kiryienka was finally alone in the lead, but was caught by a small
high-powered group including Nibali and Gilbert. Rodriguez found himself
struggling, as the field tore apart on the high-speed climb.
Iglinskiy leads Nibali
Nibali stayed at the head of things as they crested the climb, and he
took off on the descent, hoping to pick up enough of a gap on the
remaining 19km to avoid a sprint at the finish. The chase groups,
consisting of Gilbert, Gasparotto, Iglinskiy, Sanchez, Rodriguez,
Kiserlovski, Mollema, Rolland, Voeckler, Scarponi, Van Den Broeck,
Nocentini, Hesjedal, Martin, and Vanendert, were very fluid, with
multiple attacks, and very little cooperation or co-ordination.
Nibali was able to take 22 seconds into the final 15km, with
Iglinskiy and Rodriguez closest behind him. The Liquigas rider turned on
the speed, and with 10km to go, had built his gap up to 39 seconds.
Martin and Rolland were the next to attack out of the Gilbert group,
but Nibali had found his rhythm and kept pulling away. He went alone and
perhaps not quite so easily up the final climb of the Cote de Saint
Nicolas, but maintained his lead. Iglinskiy was surprisingly able to
drop Rodriguez on the steep climb, and behind them, Gilbert had
difficulties as well.
Iglinskiy crossed the top 46 seconds down on Nibali, but doggedly
gave chase, getting closer and closer. The tiring Italian was unable to
give any more and virtually within sight of the flamme rouge, he was
caught and passed by the Astana rider.
Iglinskiy powered his way up the closing climb, extending his lead
and crossing the finish line 20 seconds ahead of the exhausted Nibali.
Gasparotto won the sprint of the chase group to claim another podium
place for Astana.
1Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana Pro Team6:43:52 2Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:21 3Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:36 4Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 5Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin – Barracuda 6Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 7Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 8Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 9Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda 10Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 11Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 12Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 13Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 14Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team 15Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team0:01:00 16Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:27 17Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team0:02:11 18Julien Simon (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 19Simon Gerrans (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team 20Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling 21Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 22Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 23Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan 24Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team 25Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank 26Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team 27Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan 28Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 29Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 30Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator 31Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 32Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team 33Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 34Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 35Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre – ISD 36Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling 37Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:02:19 38Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre – ISD0:05:05 39Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 40Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team0:05:27 41Rémi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1 – Sanofi 42Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:39 43Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator 44Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale 45Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 46Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 47Alex Howes (USA) Garmin – Barracuda 48Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin – Barracuda 49Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 50Andy Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan 51Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 52Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin – Barracuda 53Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos-Shimano 54Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin – Barracuda 55Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 56Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 57Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 58Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan 59Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 60Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 61Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 62Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 63Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 64Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 65Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:05:45 66Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet0:07:29 67Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 68Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:08:22 69Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 70Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 71Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:08:28 72David Lelay (Fra) Saur – Sojasun0:08:30 73Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:08:54 74Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre – ISD 75Michael Albasini (Swi) Greenedge Cycling Team 76Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 77Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 78Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 79Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team0:11:04 80Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 81Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team0:12:18 82Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team 83Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 84Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator 85Kevin Ista (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s 86Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 87Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 88Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 – Sanofi 89Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 90Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 91Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos-Shimano 92Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank 93Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos-Shimano 94Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Team Type 1 – Sanofi 95Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team Type 1 – Sanofi 96Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi 97Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 98Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team 99Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 100Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling 101Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team 102Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 103Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Astana Pro Team 104Christian Meier (Can) Greenedge Cycling Team 105Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 106Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 107Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre – ISD 108Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling 109Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 110Daryl Impey (RSA) Greenedge Cycling Team0:12:50 111Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team0:12:54 112Simon Clarke (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team0:14:31 113Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team DNQAlejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team DNQAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team DNQJose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team DNQLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator DNQPablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team DNFBrent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team DNFMartin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team DNFKlaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team DNFAmaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan DNFChristopher Horner (USA) Radioshack-Nissan DNFJens Voigt (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan DNFJoost Posthuma (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team DNFSimone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team DNFSylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-Quickstep DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep DNFJérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep DNFAlberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team DNFEduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team DNFStefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale DNFFederico Canuti (Ita) 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Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator DNFEliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator DNFMaxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale DNFSébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale DNFChristophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale DNFThomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano DNFYukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos-Shimano DNFTom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano DNFSimon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano DNFYann Huguet (Fra) Argos-Shimano DNFThomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin – Barracuda DNFMichel Kreder (Ned) Garmin – Barracuda DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet DNFGilles Devillers (Bel) Landbouwkrediet DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet DNFFrédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet DNFKurt Hovelynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet DNFSandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat DNFKenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat DNFRémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat DNFAnthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat DNFGaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team DNFBrian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFOleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFSjef De Wilde (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFGregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFArnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFEvert Verbist (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s DNFSergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank DNFTroels Ronning Vinther (Den) Team Saxo Bank DNFJulien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1 – Sanofi DNFJulien Antomarchi (Fra) Team Type 1 – Sanofi DNFJavier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Type 1 – Sanofi DNFGeorg Preidler (Aut) Team Type 1 – Sanofi