The Old Lady to return to Liège
January 22 nd 2019 - 12:00
What is a quarter of a century for an Old Lady born 127 springs ago? One hell of a page of stories: about great champions and their magnificent feats, where elation bubbles under the surface on the climb at Ans on which time seems to go slower, ready to explode after the last few jerky pedal strokes of riders trying to obtain glory that will stand the test of time in the wake of Dirk De Wolf, the winner in 1992.
Initially bestowed in Spa, where the start and finish of the Dean of Classics took place at the end of the 19th century, in the era of modern cycling this glory was obtained in Ans. Proud of its tradition as well as its present and never immobile, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is on the move again: in 2019, the time has come to bring it back to the heart of Liège, where Eddy Merckx won five times, a record that Alejandro Valverde could equal if he regains the crown of King of the Ardennes that he abandoned one year ago, before becoming World Champion last autumn. For his fifteenth participation in Liège-Bastogne-Liège (a record), the Spaniard will be taking part for the first time in the Rainbow Jersey!
On the return to Liège, other nods to history will entice spectators and may inspire ebullient pretenders to the crown: the trio of Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levée have been brought back together and spiced up with the Côte de Mont-le-Soie slope; what’s more, the riders will reacquaint themselves with the steepest parts of the Côte des Forges slopes. This was the place where, in 1977, Bernard Hinault accomplished his first show of prowess on La Doyenne, a feat that has been lauded for decades. For today’s heroes, the new final sequence, with the emblematic La Redoute and spectacular Roche-aux-faucons slopes, before dashing towards the Ardent City, offers a fine opportunity to write a new page in the race’s history.