Posted by Editoress on 04/22/12
Three out of eight for Kazakhstan in La Doyenne
For the third time in eight years, Kazakhstan has taken a victory in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, this time thanks to Maxim Iglinskiy, 31, with a solo triumph.First Alexandre Vinokourov in 2005 and 2010, and now his Astana team-mate Iglinskiy have captured La Doyenne. Their latest triumph concludes a fantastic week for the Kazakh squad, starting with Amstel Gold Race last Sunday and finishing with another victory in the greatest of the Ardennes Classics.A devastating attack by Vincenzo Nibali in the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons seemed almost certain to net the 2010 Vuelta winner his first great Classic. But instead Iglinskiy’s dramatic counter-attack almost within sight of the finish netted the Kazakh what he recognised was clearly “the greatest victory of my career.”
Anton the first crash victim
The first important event of Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2012 took place even before racing proper got underway, as Igor Anton (EUS) crashed in the neutralised zone, and was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone. As a result, 199 riders started the race.
Three and three make six
After a frenetic start, three riders moved ahead at kilometre 38: Dario Cataldo (OPQ), Simon Geschke (ARG) and Kevin Ista (ACC). Ten kilometres later, another three counter-attacked and by km 55 they had managed to bridge across: Reinier Honig (LAN), Ista’s team-mate Gregory Habeaux (ACC) and Alessandro Bazzana (TTI). At km 57, the advantage was already 8-05 and by the time they reached the first climb of La Cote de Roche-en-Ardenne (Geschke led the break across the top), their advantage was 9-55. The maximum gap reached was 12-35 at km 79.
The tide starts to turn
Katusha, riding for Joaquim Rodríguez, began to drive even before the race reached its most southerly point at Bastogne, bringing the break back to 12-00 by km 93.
At km 116.5, the summit of the Côte de Saint-Roch, with Geschke once again claiming the top points, the half-dozen leaders had an advantage of 8-00, but their lead was dropping fast.
Not so easy
After the Cote de Saint-Roch, the gap dropped to 6-40. However, it then began to rise once more briefly, reaching 8-10 before the truce ended and Katusha, helped by RadioShack-Nissan started to drive again as the race reached the final 100 kilometres. By the summit of the Cote de Wanne, with 97.5 kilometres to go, the lead group’s advantage was down to 5-23.
At the foot of the Cote de Stockeu (km 166.5), Simon Geschke (ARG) crashed, losing contact with the main break and dropping back to the bunch. RadioShack, led by Horner and Bakelants whittled the gap down to 2-55 by the summit of the next climb, the Cote de la Haute Levee (km 172), where three counter-attackers - Kiryenka (MOV), LeLay (SAU), Rolland (EUC) - went away over the summit and tried to bridge across. On the long Cote de Rosier (km 185), the three whittled back the gap considerably, joining the front five just before the summit, with 72.5 kilometres to go.
On the Cote du Maquisard (Km 198), seventh of the 11th climbs of the day, Honig (LAN) was dropped from the break of eight, whilst the gap remained stable at around 1-30. On the following climb, the Mont-Theux (km 208), Habeaux (ACC) was the next to be dropped, and Ista (ACC) also cracked. Just five riders remained in the break by the summit.
On the approach to the crucial Cote de La Redoute, Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank) attempted an unsuccessful lone chase. Then as BMC upped the pace on the climb, cutting the bunch down to around 30 riders, Valverde had a mechanical, and changed bikes with another team-mate. Three riders from the break now remained ahead as they approached the unclassified Cote du Sprimont climb - Cataldo, Rolland and Kiryienka, with an advantage of 45 seconds. Together with Valverde, Frank Schleck (RNT) was also dropped on the climb.
Nibali alone but then...
With an advantage of 25 seconds with 25 kilometres to go, the three breakaways had no chance of staying away on the ultra-steep Cote de Roche aux Faucons (km 238.). After Gilbert and BMC had warmed things up, then with 18.5 kilometres to go, Nibali launched a devastating and went clear.
Closely pursued by Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT) and Maxim Iglinskiy (AST), the Vuelta 2010 winner Nibali had an advantage of 25 seconds on the duo at the foot of the Cote de Saint-Nicolas. Last year’s winner Gilbert was in difficulties, and two other favourites, the Schleck brothers, were also unable to make an impact. Rodriguez cracked half-way up, with Iglinskiy chasing hard behind and finally reaching Nibali with a kilometre to go.
Iglinskiy goes for it alone
Almost immediately, Iglinskiy went clear, taking a solo win ahead of Nibali by 21 seconds, with Amstel Gold winner and Astana team-mate Enrico Gasparotto outsprinting Thomas Voeckler (EUR) and Dan Martin (GRM) for third.
Results from Liège - Bastogne - Liège in Belgium
|Liège to Ans, 257.5 km|
|1 Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana Pro Team)||6:43:52|
|2 Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)||at 0:21|
|3 Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team)||0:36|
|4 Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar)|
|5 Daniel Martin (Garmin - Barracuda)|
|6 Bauke Mollema (Rabobank Cycling Team)|
|7 Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi)|
|8 Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD)|
|9 Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda)|
|10 Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol Team)|
|11 Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R la Mondiale)|
|12 Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar)|
|13 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Katusha Team)|
|14 Robert Kiserlovski (Astana Pro Team)||all s.t.|
|15 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha Team)||1:00|
|16 Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)||1:27|
|17 Rui Alberto Costa (Movistar Team)||2:11|
|18 Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun)|
|19 Simon Gerrans (Greenedge Cycling Team)|
|20 Lars-Peter Nordhaug (Sky Procycling)|
|21 Arthur Vichot (FDJ-Bigmat)|
|22 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-Dcm)|
|23 Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan)|
|24 Oscar Freire (Katusha Team)|
|25 Karsten Kroon (Team Saxo Bank)|
|26 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team)|
|27 Mauro Santambrogio (Bmc Racing Team)|
|28 Maxime Monfort (Radioshack-Nissan)|
|29 Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)|
|30 Sergio Henao Montoya (Sky Procycling)|
|31 Pieter Serry (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator)|
|32 Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank)|
|33 Yury Trofimov (Katusha Team)|
|34 Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ-Bigmat)|
|35 Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ-Bigmat)|
|36 Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD)|
|37 Thomas Lövkvist (Sky Procycling)||all s.t.|
|38 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol Team)||2:19|
|104 Christian Meier (Can) GreenEDGE Cycling Team||12:18|
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