Live updates from the men's Liège-Bastogne-Liège where Tadej Pogačar and Remco Evenepoel face off in a highly-anticipated battle.
Earlier in the day, Demi Vollering of SD Worx won a trilling edition of the women's race to complete an historic treble of the Ardennes Classics. You can read the report here.
Key updates (all times BST)
11:00: Group of 11 riders form breakaway in men's race
11:30: Demi Vollering wins women's race
12:05: Tadej Pogačar crashes and abandons
14:15: Jan Tratnik joins remnants of break after monstrous effort
15:05: Evenepoel attacks with Pidcock following
15:55: Evenepoel wins Liège for second successive year
Welcome to the live blog of today's Liège-Bastogne-Liège where we've already had a lot of action this morning, with Demi Vollering winning a dramatic edition of the women's race. You can read the race report here.
The men's race has a breakaway group of of 11 riders, with the peloton around four minutes behind.
It's white shorts for the world champion and last year's winner. What are your thoughts on this look?
Tadej Pogačar crashes
2021 winner and favourite Tadej Pogačar has crashed after 85km of racing, the Slovenian rider hitting the floor with Mikkel Honore (EF Education - EasyPost). Pogačar's UAE-Team Emirates teammates all dropped back to help pace the two-time Tour de France champion back into the bunch but the 24 year old abandoned shortly after.
You can read the full report here.
145km to go: The breakaway of 11 still have a lead of four minutes, but all attention is on the dramatic news of Pogačar's abandonment. What that will mean for UAE-Team Emirates' options is up for discussion, but it's worth recalling that Marc Hirschi finished second in this race in 2020.
125km to go: No change in the race scenario, but we do now have an update from UAE-Team Emirates on the injury to Tadej Pogačar.
Unfortunately @TamauPogi was involved in a crash and forced to abandon #LBL23 with a wrist injury. He is on the way to hospital where he will undergo scans.Further updates to come… #WeAreUAEApril 23, 2023
75km to go: The succession of climbs is doing its job of wearing out the peloton, with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Enric Mas (Movistar) among those who have been dropped from the peloton that is being led by Soudal-QuickStep. Only five riders remain out front, and they are only 90 seconds ahead of the peloton.
Jan Tratnik of Jumbo-Visma and Magnus Sheffield of Ineos Grenadiers have both counter-attacked in the past 15 minutes, but both are stuck at separate locations between the break and the peloton.
A reminder: Soudal-QuickStep are relying on Remco Evenepoel to save their Classics season - again. It was at this race last year when Evenepoel provided a much-needed victory following a horror spring, and this year's been little different.
Evenepoel still has two riders protecting him, with EF Education-EasyPost's Ben Healy on his wheel.
65km to go: Chapaeu, Jan Tratnik. The Slovenian has bridged across to the remaining five riders out front, just in time for the final five climbs. The peloton behind, meanwhile, numbers around 40-50 riders.
60km to go: Tratnik is motoring! He now only has Jason Osborne (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Simone Velasco (Astana-Qazaqstan) with him, and the peloton, being led by Alaphilippe, is 1-10 behind.
50km to go: You get the feeling that the race is about to explode into life. The Côte de Desnié is approaching, and then it's the Côte de la Redoute, the climb where Evenepoel made his move 12 months ago. Tratnik and Velasco have a minute on the peloton.
46km to go: Bauke Mollema of Trek-Segafredo attacks and Soudal-QuickStep struggled to respond initially, but Ilan van Wilder has done well to catch the Dutchman. Significantly, however, Louis Vervaeke was briefly dropped, but Evenepoel's teammate soon returned to the front of the peloton.
35km to go: The rain is making conditions extremely treacherous, and as we approach the Côte de la Redoute different teams have taken to the front, ready for the battle that's coming on the 1.6km climb.
33km to go: Ilan van Wilder sets the pace from the bottom of the Redoute, and just after Tratink and Velesco are caught, Evenepoel makes what looks like is his expected move, with Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) immediately behind him. But Evenepoel was bluffing, and he didn't attack for real until the final 200m of the climb with the gradients rearing up to 12%. Pidcock crests the climb three seconds behind him, with Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) slightly further back. As they roll over the climb, Pidcock catches up to Evenepoel with the two comfortably out front together.
Pogačar suffers fractures to wrist
UAE-Team Emirates have released the following statement from their doctor Adrian Rotunno about Tadej Pogačar who crashed out of the race after 85km.
"Tadej suffered fractures to the left scaphoid and lunate bones. The scaphoid will require surgery which he will undergo this afternoon with a specialist hand surgeon here in Genk."
30km to go: Evenepoel has distanced Pidcock who was refusing to do a turn at the top, and the world champion looks well-placed to defend his title, with 25 seconds over Giulio Ciccone and Mattias Skjelmose.
25km to go: Evenepoel has a lead of 33 seconds to Pidcock, but he has just been reminded of the dangers of racing on wet roads, with his back wheel slipping on a corner. The Belgian is charging towards his second successive Liège victory.
21km to go: Ben Healy has been trying to distance Pidcock, Ciccone and Skjelmose but has so far been unable to do so. Evenepoel has a minute on the chasers and is flying.
13km to go: Ben Healy is desperate to get rid of the chasers, but he's still struggling to go clear. Evenepoel has an 80 second lead as he climbs past thousands of cheering, adoring fans.
4km to go: The fight for the podium will come down to a probably finish line sprint between Healy, Pidcock and Buitrago. Evenepoel will win by around 1-30.
Remco Evenepoel wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège!
The world champion was able to celebrate his victory in the final three kilometres with various smiles to the cameras and fist pumps to his team's car. That was an exhibition from Evenepoel.
The sprint for second is won by Pidcock with Buitrago taking third.
You can read the full race report here.
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal-QuickStep, in 6-15.49
2. Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-06
3. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious, at same time
4. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education - EasyPost, at 1-08
5. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1-24
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 1-25
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-37
8. Patrick Konrad (Aus) Bora-hansgrohe, at 1-48
9. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE-Team Emirates, all at same time.
Thanks for following along today. We hope you enjoyed the races. Until the next time!
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