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Liège - Bastogne - Liège - Road race - Men

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  1. 17:10 - Thanks for joining us today. Next stop, the Tour of Romandie ahead of the Giro d'Italia, which starts in Belfast on Friday 9th May.

  2. 0km - Final top ten: 1. Gerrans, 2. Valverde, 3. Kwiatkowski, 4. Caruso, 5. Pozzovivo, 6. Slagter, 7. Kreuziger, 8. Gilbert, 9. Moreno, 10. Bardet.

  3. 0km - Gerrans rounded Caruso and had both Valverde and Kwiatkowski on his wheel. But the Australian did enough to ake the win, with the Spaniard and the Pole completing the podium.

  4. 0km - Heartbreak for the defending champion, Dan Martin, who slid on the final bend and hit the deck.

  5. 0km - Simon Gerrans powers clear and takes the win ahead of Alejandro Valverde!

  6. 0.3km - Valverde finally makes his move... and MARTIN CRASHES on the final corner!

  7. 0.5km - Martin is closing in, but so are the other favourites... this is going to be very close.

  8. 1km - The peloton has the two Italians in sight going under the kite. Attack from Lampre! And Dan Martin has reacted and now leads the chase....

  9. 1.5km - Just 10 seconds now for Caruso and Pozzovivo as they hit the uphill segment - and they're tiring...

  10. 2km - The leaders are descending into lower Ans ahead of the uphil 5% drag to the finish. They could well hold on.

  11. 3km - Nibali and Rolland push hard before Nordhaug has a dig on the cobbles. The gap is 9 seconds now.

  12. 4km - Jelle Vanendert joins Gautier and Nordhaug, but it's very splintered and the two leaders have 12 seconds to play with. No Italian has won a monument for 28 races... could we see one today?

  13. 4.5km - Now Cyril Gautier of Europcar makes his move, with Lars Petter Nordhaug of Belkin. But Caruso and Pozzovivo, the two Italians, have a decent gap and are holding firm.

  14. 5km - Caruso and Pozzovivo have a small gap over the pack as Valverde puts in a dig on the right of the road. Gilbert, Gerrans and Kreuziger are all there to cover the move, and it comes back together.

  15. 5.5km - Pozzovivo goes with Caruso and they catch Denifl. But it will come back together for an uphill sprint finish in Ans, surely.

  16. 6km - Gianpaolo Caruso attacks for Katusha!

  17. 6.5km - Stephan Denifl of IAM pings off the front, while Samuel Sanchez has moved to the front of the pack for BMC.

  18. 7km - The final climb coming up, with Orica-GreenEdge moving to the front. They're onto the Côte de Saint-Nicolas (1.2 km at 8.6%).

  19. 9km - Brother Andy may have abandoned, but Frank Schleck is still in this main group. Movistar are driving the pace now.

  20. 11km - It's over for Pozzovivo and Arredondo, who are swallowed up by the fast-moving peloton, which has regrouped.

  21. 12km - Single figures now for the two diminutive leaders as they dip down to Liege ahead of the final climb of the day...

  22. 13km - Still 15 seconds for Pozzovivo and Arredondo, the two smallest rider in today's peloton.

  23. 15km - It's no Mollema, but Nordhaug, and Kwiatowski is there too, but it's coming back together as Cyril Gautier of Europcar has a pop. The pace is high, but the two leaders still have 15 seconds. Barguil now back on the front...

  24. 16km - Moreno, Valverde and Gilbert have joined Kreuziger and Nibali. Mollema looks to be there too, and Valendert. Pozzovivo and Arredondo have 15 seconds to play with.

  25. 17km - The likes of Cunego and Rolland are in this chasing group, which has caught Sanchez. But it's coming back together as Roman Kreuziger attacks for Saxo, taking Vincenzo Nibali of Astana - his former Liquigas team-mate - with him.

  26. 18km - Jelle Vanendert, second in the Amstel Gold, is leading the chase in a splinter group. Pozzovivo and Arredondo have 20 seconds to play with.

  27. 18.5km - Now onto the flat plateau after the summit and attacks are coming from all over the place.

  28. 19km - Arredondo and Pozzovivo have created a little gap as they crest the summit with BMC's Samuel Sanchez in pursuit.

  29. 19.5km - ATTACK: The pint-sized Colombian Julian Arredondo pings off the front to provoke a response bu the main favourites, Valverde, Pozzovivo, Gilbert and Kwiatkowski. Moreno, Vanendert and Nibali are all there too, and Martin.

  30. 20km - Bono is caught on the base of the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons (1.5 km at 9.3%) as Ag2R-La Mondiale and Europcar come to the front alongside Astana.

  31. 21km - Just 15 seconds now for Bono as he shakes his head in despair. He knows his time is up, just as he approaches the penultimate climb, which could prove decisive.

  32. 24km - Peter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Chris Anker Soresen (Tinkoff-Saxo) join the three chasers, but the peloton closes in and nullifies their threat. We have just the one man out ahead: Matteo Bono of Lampre-Merida. The Italian has 22 seconds. He is the last man standing of an initial six-man break that formed early on in the race and has been out for over 200km.

  33. 27km - Dennis Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Jerome Baugnies (Wanty) have joined Howes in a small chasing group. There are more riders trying to bridge the gap.

  34. 29km - Howes has 10 seconds over the pack.

  35. 30km - Bono has 40 seconds over the pack, with Garmin's Alex Howes - not Navardauskas - in pursuit.

  36. 32km - Attack by a Garmin rider. It's Navardauskas, who catches Venter just over the summit. The Lithaunian then rides clear in pursuit of Bono, who's gone solo (which is odd, seeing that he doesn't like Sundays, bloody Sundays).

  37. 33km - We're onto the Côte des Forges (1.9 km at 5.9%) as Ag2R-La Mondiale move to the front. Off the back goes Daryl Impey of Orica-GreenEdge. Kevin Reza (Europcar) and Marcus Burghardt (BMC) too. They've all worked hard for their teams today, so their slowing is inevitable.

  38. 34km - Lang and Jacobs have been caught by the peloton. So, it's just two men out in front now: Matteo Bono (Lampre) and Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka) have one minute to play with.

  39. 38km - Ben Hermans is on the front of the pack for BMC, which has slimmed down considerably. They trail the leaders by 110km with three more climbs on the agenda today.

  40. 40km - Bono and Venter have 30 seconds over Jacobs and Lang, with the peloton a further 40 seconds back. Bakelants has been caught by the peloton.

  41. 42km - Now it's Jan Bakelants on the front as Koch, Barguil and Arredondo are swallowed up by the peloton. Just Bono, Venter, Jacobs and Lang ahead of the Belgian.

  42. 43km - Koch is being caught by Barguil and Arredondo over the summit, with the rest of the pack closing in.

  43. 43.5km - Bono and Venter are over the top with 1:22 over the pack, which has splintered considerably after that flurry of attacks.

  44. 44km - Barguil, a double stage winner in the Vuelta (in what was his debut Grand Tour) is spinning a very low gear as he opens up a gap - but it's not a huge one. Numerous riders have reacted to that attack, including Valverde, Gilbert and Arredondo.

  45. 44.5km - Those 800 painted PHILs are adorning the road - someone clearly fancies Gilbert for the win today. This is around the corner from his hometown, after all. And now there's an attack from Frenchman Warren Barguil of Giant-Shimano!

  46. 45km - Pirmin Lang has also been dropped by the leaders, with Venter, Bono and Jacobs edging ahead. Now Bono opens up some daylight off the front, the Lampre man heading for the summit in pole position.

  47. 45.5km - Omega Pharma-Quick Step lead the peloton onto the Redoute working for their man Michel Kwiatkowski. The gap is 1:48.

  48. 46km - The leaders are onto the Côte de La Redoute (2 km at 8.9%). Michel Koch is the first to falter and is distanced by his fellow escapees.

  49. 50km - The decisive Cote de la Redoute is approaching as the Movistar team of Alejandro Valverde come to the front of the peloton. The Spaniard is the out-and-out favourite for victory today following his Fleche win on Wednesday.

  50. 55km - Europcar clearly fancy their chances today, as do Tinkoff-Saxo. They're doing all the work on the front with a bank of green and yellow and blue. The leaders have 2:40 now.

  51. 59km - Tinkoff-Saxo and Europcar lead the peloton over the summit of the Côte de la Vecquée with a deficit of three minutes on the five leaders.

  52. 61km - For a sixth time it's Pieter Jacobs who crosses the summit in pole position, the Topsport Vlaanderen rider clearly out for the most-agressive award. With 500 euros up for grabs over each climb, he's got 3,000 in his pocket so far.

  53. 62km - The leaders are approaching the summit of the Côte de la Vecquée (3.1 km at 6.4%). It's the sixth of 10 categorised climbs, and precedes the famous Redoute climb, which comes in 18km time.

  54. 63km - It's Europcar, BMC, Garmin and Saxo doing all the work on the front as the lead comes down to 4:05 for the breakaway riders.

  55. 65km - Europcar really trying to cause a bit of disruption in the pack, but no sign of Thomas Voeckler as yet, the Frenchman keeping his powder dry.

  56. 67km - Pirmin Lang drives the break along as they pass through a second feed zone. The gap is 4:55 for the five leaders. They are: Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Michel Koch (Cannondale), Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Matteo Bono (Lampre) and Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen).

  57. 68km - Belkin's Bauke Mollema is near the back alongside Richie Porte. Lots of people have been talking up the Dutchman's chances.

  58. 69km - The Ag2r-La Mondiale rider who hit the deck was Sebastien Minard. Lots of road rash but no broken bones is the latest news on the Frenchman.

  59. 70km - BMC, Saxo and IAM move to the fron to settle things in the pack. Sky's Richie Porte is struggling off the back. His team are already down to six riders following the withdrawal of both Froome and Kennaugh before the race. The gap is five minutes now for the five leaders.

  60. 72km - Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha joins Andy Schleck in the broom wagon. Race over for the Spaniard.

  61. 73km - The world champion Rui Costa has abandoned the race after that crash. Bad news for Lampre-Merida, the Portuguese was one of the favourites today. Still in the hunt for his first win with the rainbow stripes, is Costa.

  62. 74km - Another crash, this time involving an Ag2R-La Mondiale rider while slaloming through the team cars. That was a heavy fall, but luckily no cars were involved.

  63. 75km - CRASH: A handful of riders hit the deck, including world champion Rui Costa of Lampre-Merida.

  64. 79km - The gap has come down to 5:55 as Ramunas Navardauskas leads the peloton over the summit of the Côte de la Haute-Levée. The Garmin rider pumps his fist in anger and spits - he felt that some of the other riders around him should have contributed more on that climb, where a split could have been forged.

  65. 80km - Pierro Rolland is the Europcar rider now driving the pace on the front. It's clear that there are lots of riders out there who sniff an opportunity. Meanwhile, Marco Minnaard has been caught by the pack, just as Tom Jelte Slagter puts in a surge for Garmin. Now it's Gasparotto for Astana. This is getting pretty feisty.

  66. 81km - Joaquim Rodriguez is now off the back of the peloton. Purito has struggled in the Ardennes, coming off his bike in both previous races. His mind will no doubt be half on the Giro.

  67. 82km - There's a little split off the front of the peloton after FDJ and Europcar combine to up the tempo a little.

  68. 83km - Europcar move to the front, with Kevin Reza handing over an energy gel to Cyril Gautier, the heir apparent to Thomas Voeckler.

  69. 84km - The leaders, with 6:50 over the pack, are onto the Côte de la Haute-Levée (3.6 km at 5.6%). It's not the steepest, but it's the longest of the 10 categorised climbs today.

  70. 85km - Marcus Burghardt, one of the peloton's heavyweights, opens up a gap off the front of the peloton with a dig on a cobbled climb into the town of Stavelot.

  71. 86km - Andy Schleck has abandoned Liege-Bastogne-Liege according to his team, Trek. Another sad episode in the sorry demise of a once great rider. The 2009 LBL winner apparently has knee problems.

  72. 87km - Kwiatkowski and Martin are back in the bunch. Apparently Brian Holm, their OPQS team manager, was busy being interviewed by Danish TV when he saw his riders ping off the front and suddenly radioed in to order them back into the pack! The peloton are on the Stockeu now with Astana's Alexey Lutsenko, the U23 world champion, struggling off the back in the big ring.

  73. 88km - Once again it's Pieter Jacobs who crests the summit in pole position, with the peloton riding at 7:20. The Topsport Vlaanderen mad has a handful of seconds over his fellow escapees, with Minnaard a bit further back.

  74. 89km - Very interesting: Omega Pharma-Quick Step pair Tony Martin and Michel Kwiatkowski have opened up a small lead over the peloton on the descent of the Wanne.

  75. 90km - Minnaard still hasn't rejoined the leaders as they tackle the Côte de Stockeu (1 km at 12.4%).

  76. 92km - Andy Schleck has been dropped on the Stockeu. It will be a surprise if he finishes this now. Only two days ago he promised he and Frank would ride an offensive race and that he was targetting a top 20 or better.

  77. 94km - The peloton is only approaching the Wanne, with the pack now pretty strung out. The likes of Mick Rogers, Pierre Rolland and Dani Moreno are quite far back, but it will no doubt bunch up again over the top.

  78. 94km - Pieter Jacobs leads the break over the summit of the Wanne with 8:35 over the pack. Marco Minnaard is back with his Wanty team car after a mechanical.

  79. 95km - Meanwhile, the leaders are onto the punchy second half of the Wanne, which is played out under dense tree cover.

  80. 95km - CRASH: Some riders touch wheels and there's a spill in the middle of the pack on the side of the road. Jan Bakelandts of Trek goes down hard on a grass verge, and a couple of Tinkoff riders plough into him, including Roman Kreuziger. But they're all up and back on their way.

  81. 96km - Sad scenes in Belgium with an apparent collision between a spectator and a motorcycle. There's an ambulance on the scene and let's hope that everyone is ok. News filtering through is that the crash involved two photographer bikes.

  82. 97km - The six leaders are onto the Côte de Wanne (2.8 km at 7.2%). They now have 9:45 over the peloton.

  83. 98km - Andy Schleck is off the back of the peloton and drafting behing his Trek team car. No news on whether or not it was a mechanical or fatigue. Given his form, you can't rule out the latter.

  84. 102km - In a little while we have three climbs in succession: the Cote de Wanne, the Stockeu and the Haute-Levee. This is where it will start to get frisky and we can expect the lead to tumble. It's currently at 10:22 with Garmin, Movistar, BMC and Omega Pharma combining on the front of the pack.

  85. 107km - Britain's Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has just won the opening stage of the Tour of Turkey ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Theo Bos (Belkin).

  86. 108km - We had some leg warmers this morning but now all the riders are in shorts and short sleaves with the sun shining down through the odd cloud. The gap is 10:50 now.

  87. 112km - BMC's Steve Cummings is on the front of the peloton with a Movistar rider in his wheels. The Côte de Wanne is the next climb on the agenda in about 15km.

  88. 115km - Joaquim Rodriguez is riding near the back but only because he's been to see his Katusha team car. Dan Martin too is lurking near the back, while a bit earlier we had 2009 winner Andy Schleck reduced to transporting bidons for his Trek team-mates. How the mighty have fallen. The gap now for the six leaders is 11:35 so it's dropping pretty fast.

  89. 120km - Pirmin Lang is a familiar face on the front of the race - the IAM Cycling rider also featuring in the break last Sunday at Amstel Gold. The Swiss team will be all in for Mathias Frank at the finish today.

  90. 125km - There's no one team doing all the work on the front, with numerous teams - Garmin, BMC and Belkin - all taking it in turns. The gap is down to 12 minutes now.

  91. 130km - The lead is coming down steadily - it's 13 minutes now.

  92. 140km - Erik Rowsell of NetApp-Endura has withdrawn from the race in the feed zone. He's the first rider to quit the race - discounting those who decided not to take to the start (such as ill pair Chris Froome and Carlos Betancur). Pieter Jacobs is first over the summit of the Côte de Saint-Roch, which has a hefty average gradient of 11.1% over its 1km length.

  93. 142km - The peloton pass through the feed zone just over 14 minutes behind the six leaders. That second climb is coming right up.

  94. 150km - The gap has dropped under the 15-minute mark - and it's bound to tumble once the succession of climbs over the second half of the race start to feature heavily on the agenda. Up soon is the Cote de Saint-Roch, a short and punchy 1km schlep. Then we have 40km of largely flat racing ahead of the final eight climbs, which are all packed into 95 kilometres before the finish in Ans, a suburb of Liege.

  95. 152km - Today's commentary team for Eurosport is Rob Hatch and Sean Kelly. Hatch is backin Philippe Gilbert for the win, while Kelly, a two time winner of LBL (1984 and 1989), is going for fellow countryman Dan Martin.

  96. 158km - The peloton is strung out as they continue their pursuit of the leading six-man break. The average speed of the first hour of today's race was 39kmph which shows why it was so easy for the escapees to built up such a lead. That's a full 9kmph slower than the average at Fleche Wallonne.

  97. 162km - Matteo Bono launches the sprint but it's Michel Koch of Cannondale who surges through to take the special 5,000-euro bonus. The gap is 15:30 and now we will surely see the peloton starting to combine and reel in these six leaders.

  98. 163km - The escapees enter Bastogne... the sprint is fast approaching.

  99. 166km - The six leaders - Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Michel Koch (Cannondale), Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Matteo Bono (Lampre), Pieter Jakobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty Groupe Gobert) - are approaching the intermediate sprint at Bastogne with a lead of 15:35 over the peloton.

  100. 168km - We had King Philippe of Belgium at the start today, as well as five-time Tour champ and all round classics king, Eddy Merckx, who is currently on crutches. The temperature is early double digits but won't rise to more than 15 degrees. Still, it's sunny and cloudy out there, with the green fields looking very lush.

  101. 170km - The last 10 winners of Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Dan Martin, Maxim Iglinsky, Philippe Gilbert, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andy Schleck, Alejandro Valverde, Danilo Di Luca, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Davide Rebellin. So, as you can see, it hasn't been the cleanest of classics...

  102. 175km - The next climb is the Côte de Saint-Roch but that's not for another 32-odd kilometres. Before that we'll have that special sprint for 5,000 euros at Bastogne.

  103. 180km - Of the five previous LBL winners in the peloton today, you expect their chances to be ranked in this order: Valverde, Gilbert, Martin, Iglinsky and Andy Schleck. Do you agree? Have your say below in the comments section...

  104. 185km - Andy Schleck won here in 2009, a year ahead of his de facto Tour win. He finished runner-up to Cadel Evans in the 2011 Tour and it's gone largely downhill since then as he bids to return to the form that made him one of the most exciting riders of his generation. Andy had promised both he and brother Frank will go on the offensive today, but you get the impression that Frank has a better chance of shining. Trek Factory Racing also have the young livewire Julian Arredondo as an outsider.

  105. 188km - Dutchman Pieter Jabobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) led the escapees over the summit of the Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne. They have 15:50 over the peloton now - but this is a very long race.

  106. 190km - Lotto Belisol's Jelle Vanendert ghosted to second place in the Amstel Gold and so he's worth considering today, his team having had a very poor classics campaign in general. Sky have Richie Porte amid their lightweight six-man team, the Australian no longer riding the Giro but focusing on helping Froome in the Tour. Roman Kreuziger won last year's Amstel Gold and is chugging along nicely for Tinkoff. Lampre have the likes of Diego Ulissi, Damiano Cunego and Przemyslaw Niemiec alongside Costa.

  107. 195km - The leaders are onto the first climb with a 15-minute advantage over the pack. In about 30km they will pass through Bastogne, where there is a special 5,000 euro sprint up for grabs to commemorate the 100th edition of the race.

  108. 200km - The first categorised climb of the day is approaching. The Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne is 2.8km long at 6.2%. On the famous climb of La Redoute, the seventh of ten climbs, Philippe Gilbert's name has apparently been painted 800 times.

  109. 202km - Back in the peloton today after his Chinese clenbuterol limbo is Mick Rogers, the veteran Australian from Tinkoff-Saxo. Rogers was cleared by the UCI last week after his positive test following his victory in last season's Japan Cup, which came days after the Tour of Beijing, during which the rider claimed he must have eaten contaminated meat. Such an excuse didn't work for team-mate Alberto Contador, but the Spaniard hadn't been racing in China, where clenbuterol use in farming is rife.

  110. 205km - The advantage is almost 15 minutes for the breakaway riders. Other riders in with a shout today? Europcar's Thomas Voeckler is always fairly active in the Ardennes, while Astana have a three-pronged attack in Vincenzo Nibali, Jacob Fuglsang and Enrico Gasparotto. World champion Rui Costa of Lampre-Merida could be a good outside shout, as well as IAM's Mathias Frank. Giant-Shimano have the likes of Simon Geschke, Tom Dumoulin and Warren Barguil.

  111. 210km - Who else is worth watching today? Pole Michal Kwiatkowski has been in stellar form this season and but for attacking too early in both Amstel and the Fleche the Omega Pharma man could have topped the podium in either race. Belkin's Bauke Mollema has been consistent in the Ardennes, as has Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge. Katusha have three cards to play in Joaquim Rodriguez, Dani Moreno and Alexandr Kolobnev.

  112. 215km - The lead of the six escapees has ballooned to a huge 14'30 which prompts a reaction from the BMC team-mates of Philippe Gilbert.

  113. 220km - So, who are the big favourites today? Well, the sensible money is on one of Valverde, Gilbert or Martin. Valverde won the Fleche Wallonne last week and has the most wins (eight) to his name this season. Gilbert was boxed in on the Mur de Huy last Sunday, but his form is there after a Brabantse Pijl-Amstel Gold double. Martin is quietly confident and showed real bite last week on the Mur en route to finishing second behind Valverde.

  114. 225km - The reigning champion is, of course, Ireland's Dan Martin of Garmin-Sharpe. Martin is not the only former champion today, with Maxim Iglinsky (Astana, 2012), Philippe Gilbert (BMC, 2011), Andy Schleck (Trek, 2009) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar, 2006/07) all taking part.

  115. 230km - We join the race live now after the first 30-odd kilometres of the day. The six-man group have eight minutes over the peloton as they tackle one of the numerous unclassified climbs. The first major climbs comes after 70km of riding - so with around 193km remaining.

  116. 240km - Another rider not to sign on this morning was Ag2R-La Mondiale's Carlos Betancur, who is also ill. The French team will be all in for Romain Bardet today, who finished 13th last year after an active race.

  117. 250km - Six riders managed to extricate themselves from the pack. They are: Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Michel Koch (Cannondale), Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Matteo Bono (Lampre), Pieter Jakobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty Groupe Gobert).

  118. 260km - An early group of five riders was reeled back in by the peloton.

  119. 263km - After around 7km of the neutral zone, the race got under way. To celebrate the 100th edition there is a special intermediate sprint 100km into the race, with 5,000 euros up for grabs. That will surely spark some early breaks...

  120. 10:15 - Big news this morning is that the reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome did not take to the start for Team Sky. Froome is apparently suffering from a bad cough. With Peter Kennaugh also pulling out of the race earlier in the week, Sky are down to six men before the race even gets going...

  121. 10:10 - It was bright and sunny at the start in Liege, with the riders rolling onto the neutral zone at 10am CET.

  122. 10:05 - The riders face an undulating 263km route that includes 10 punchy climbs including the final slog to the finish line, the famus Cote de Saint-Nicolas.

  123. 10:00 - Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 100th edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the "Doyenne" of the spring classics and the fourth of five Monuments of the cycling season.

 

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