Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ireland's Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche in Liege crash

Movistar team rider Alejandro Valverde
Movistar team rider Alejandro Valverde

Spain's Alejandro Valverde wrapped up a remarkable Ardennes classics season when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege yesterday, four days after triumphing on the Fleche Wallonne.

The Movistar rider, who finished second in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, outsprinted a reduced group of top guns at the end of a hilly 253-kilometre ride.

France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third.

Rodriguez's team mate Dani Moreno attacked in the final kilometre but fell short as Valverde easily beat his rivals to claim his third Liege title.

The 2009 Tour of Spain champion, whose late kick also earned him a third Fleche Wallonne title on Wednesday, completed his second Fleche and Liege double after 2006.

Several pre-race favourites were effectively ruled out of contention in a crash that happened about 40 kilometres from the finish.

Ireland's Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche, the Cannondale-Garmin and Team Sky leaders respectively, were involved with defending champion Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) also hitting the tarmac.

As a result of the pile-up, only about 40 riders were left in the peloton chasing breakaway riders Michele Scarponi (Astana) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE).

Both were reined in with about 25km left and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Gianpaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) found themselves ahead of the pack.

When the peloton caught up Valverde stayed calm, covering his rivals' accelerations as he waited for a sprint.



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