Paris-Roubaix might not start in Paris and the BinckBank Tour might not be a tour of the BinckBank region, but Liège-Bastogne-Liège will get a little closer to fulfilling the expectations of its name when the finish moves back to the centre of Liège in 2019.
The race has finished in the Liègeois suburb of Ans to the north-west of the city since 1991, but will move back to the centre of town as part of a renewed agreement between race organisers A.S.O., the province of Liège, and the Royal Cyclist’s Pesant Club Liègeois, the original organiser of the race since its first edition in 1892.
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However while the finish will move to the centre of Liège, the start will move out of the centre, swapping places with the finish to mean that the riders roll out of Ans before heading south towards Bastogne.
The changes will probably mean significant changes to the course in 2019, with the loss of the uphill drag towards the finish line in Ans that has provided the launching pad for attacks in recent edition, and the final climb of the Côte de Saint-Nicholas which is also to the west of the city centre.
The agreement between A.S.O. and the local authorities will mean that the Tour de France organiser will remain in charge of both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne for the next six editions, ensuring the continued existence of the women’s versions of both races and the finish of La Flèche Wallonne atop the Mur de Huy.
The 2018 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège saw victory go to Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) after the Luxembourg national champion escaped shortly after the top of the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, while the women’s race was won by Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans).