By Jonny Long
The 2019 spring Classics season is nearly over after many exhilarating races including Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) winning in the Roubaix velodrome and Mathieu van der Poel's (Corendon-Circus) astonishing victory in the Amstel Gold Race.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the last chance for many to finish on the top step of the podium, if they've so far had a fruitless spring, before we move into a summer packed with Grand Tours and stage racing.
Fou former winners take the start line:Philippe Gilbert, road race world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Team Sky's Wout Poels and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates).
The race takes place on Sunday April 28 2019, and one of the main questions is can anyone stop Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)? Here are the odds of the Frenchman to take the win as well as the other contenders vying to claim the victory for themselves.
Alaphilippe has become accustomed to having the shortest odds in a bike race after a formidable spring Classics campaign. He picked up wins at Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and La Flèche Wallonne, as well as achieving top five finishes at the Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl. With odds of 9/4 the bookies seem fairly certain, would you bet against him?
One rider who will be determined to break the Alaphilippe winning streak is Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), having lost out to him a number of times this spring. The Dane finished second behind Alaphilippe at both Strade Bianche and La Flèche Wallonne, and whilst he beat him to the last place on the podium at the Amstel Gold Race, the pair conspired to throw away a guaranteed one-two finish after a game of cat and mouse that gave Mathieu van der Poel the win. Fuglsang is second favourite at 4/1 and will be desperate to finally take a win after a number of close calls.
Next up is Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), offered at 12/1. The German has had an impressive spring, with two top five finishes in the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne, as well as numerous stage wins in the Tour of the Basque Country and the Volta a Catalunya.
Team Sky's Michał Kwiatkowski animated La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, but was ultimately found out by Alaphilippe and Fuglsang as they made their way up the Mur de Huy for the final time. He's clearly in good form, though, with a third place finish in Milan-San Remo and the points classification in Paris-Nice. With odds of 12/1, the Pole will be looking to add a second Monument win to his 2017 Milan-San Remo title.
Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) has two top 10 finishes in the Tour of Flanders and La Flèche Wallonne this year, staying true to his spring Classics palmarès that's littered with single figure finishes and the odd podium. He's valued at 14/1 to finally come out on top.
Road race world champion Alejandro Valverde failed to contest the win at La Flèche Wallonne despite winning it five times previously, and will line up at Liège-Bastogne-Liège as a four-time winner, one victory behind record holder Eddy Merckx. Two top 10 finishes in Milan-San Remo and Tour of Flanders mean the Spaniard is offered at 16/1 to take the win.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) says he "just needs a bit of luck" to claim his first Monument at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Brit finished 8th the last time he took the start in 2017 and despite crashing out of La Flèche Wallonne has an outside chance of victory. He's priced at 18/1.
Bahrain Merida's Vincenzo Nibali stretched his legs last week at the Tour of the Alps, attacking on nearly every stage as he gears up for another summer of Grand Tour racing. He followed up last year's Milan-San Remo victory with an eighth place finish this year, and alongside his two Giro di Lombardia victories will be looking to add a third Monument to his collection.
A third place in last year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège will give Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) hope that he can offer an improved performance this year, having also just missed out on the rainbow jersey in the Autumn, taking second place in Innsbruck at the road race world championships. Will the Frenchman finally climb to the top step of the podium? He's an outside bet at 30/1.
Tom Dumoulin's best performance at La Doyenne was last year's 15th place, having never got close to threatening for the win before that. Alongside Michael Matthews, he will lead Team Sunweb as the German outfit look to take their first victory this spring.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2019 odds (Winner – Oddschecker)
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step 9/4
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana 4/1
Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 12/1
Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 12/1
Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 14/1
Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar 16/1
Adam Yates (Gbr) Mitchelton-Scott 18/1
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 20/1
Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale 30/1
Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 30/1
All odds correct at time of publication
Tejay van Garderen to retire after US National Championships this weekend
Twice a finisher in the top-five of the Tour de France, the American is bowing out of the sport aged 32
By Chris Marshall-Bell •
Best women's e-bikes 2021
We take a look at the best women's electric bike's on the market that will give you an extra oomph whatever the terrain
By Anna Marie Hughes •
Ardennes Classics team ratings: how did each squad perform?
Alaphilippe, Van Aert and Pogačar produced the goods for their teams
By Stephen Puddicombe •
'It's not so bad to finish behind the winner of the Tour de France,' says Julian Alaphilippe, runner-up at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
The world champion was gracious in defeat, having been pipped twice in two editions by a Slovenian rider
By Jonny Long •
Tadej Pogačar says he's 'living the cycling dream' following Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory
The Slovenian says the plan now is simple: rest, family time, and then prepare for the Tour de France
By Jonny Long •
Demi Vollering takes her first WorldTour victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Dutch rider benefits from another tactical masterpiece courtesy of her SDWorx squad, with Anna van der Breggen setting up the win
By Owen Rogers •
Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: everything you need to know
All the information you need ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, taking place on April 25 in 2021
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Tom Pidcock to miss Liège-Bastogne-Liège as Brit 'not quite fully recovered' from Flèche Wallonne crash
The 21-year-old will rest for a few days before turning his attention to his first mountain bike race of the season
By Jonny Long •
Tadej Pogačar and Marc Hirschi return negative Covid-19 test, cleared for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
The Slovenian will face stiff competition from the likes of Primož Roglič and Julian Alaphilippe
By Jonny Long •
Julian Alaphilippe: 'The big goal has always been Liège-Bastogne-Liège'
The Frenchman may seem sick of Zoom calls, but one thing he's not tired of is that winning feeling
By Jonny Long •