Remco Evenepoel cruises to second successive Liège-Bastogne-Liège win

Evenepoel becomes the first rider since Italian Michele Bartoli in 1998 to defend La Doyenne

Remco Evenepoel
(Image credit: Getty)

Remco Evenepoel successfully defended his Liège-Bastogne-Liège title to rescue Soudal-QuickStep's Classics season on a day when the highly-anticipated battle between the world champion and Tadej Pogačar fail to come to pass due to the latter suffering multiple fractures to his left wrist.

Under heavy rain, Evenepoel attacked on the Côte de la Redoute with 33km to go - the same climb where he made his winning move 12 months ago - and he went into time trial mode to win his fourth race of the season.

He became just the ninth rider in the history of the race to win the Monument in successive years, and the first world champion since Peter Sagan won Paris-Roubaix in 2018 to win one of cycling's five most prestigious one-day races with the rainbow bands.

Dressed in all white, Evenepoel was in imperious form just a fortnight out from the Giro d'Italia, and secured his second La Doyenne title by a mammoth margin of 1-06.

"I am just so happy to take two out of two here in Liège; it's an amazing feeling, especially with this beautiful jersey," Evenepoel said afterwards.

"That was a super tough race, a long race, hard conditions, also the brutal crash of Tadej and others, I wish them all my best wishes. I hope he is OK. But I have to thank my team for his beautiful victory because they pulled off a great show working for me from the start."

Just like he did a year ago, Evenepoel ensured that his much-criticised team didn't end the Classics season without a victory.

Tom Pidcock of Ineos Grenadiers sprinted to second place, with Santiago Buitrago of Bahrain-Victorious taking third.

The race took a long time to spring into action, the news of Pogačar's withdrawal the only notable event until Jumbo-Visma's Jan Tratnik bridged across to the remnants of the day's breakaway with 65km remaining.

Tratnik and breakaway survivor Simone Velasco (Astana-Qazaqstan) had a lead of a minute over a peloton that was reducing in size with every climb, the fast pace set by Soudal-QuickStep dropping big-name riders including David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Enric Mas (Movistar).

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) had a brief try, but no significant attacks came until the Côte de la Redoute when Evenepoel made his move 200 metres from the summit, passing Tratnik and Velasco as he did so.

Only Pidcock was able to follow the Belgian, but within a few kilometres the Briton was distanced by the world champion who set about on a solo mission towards yet another impressive victory.

Read more: The inside story of Remco Evenepoel's remarkable rise from footballer to cycling world champion

Behind him the chase group swelled to several riders, and with 11km to go Healy - the breakthrough rider of this Classics campaign - Pidcock and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) eventually shackled themselves free from the other chasers. The finish-line sprint was won by Pidcock, with Buitrago rounding out the podium.

Result: Liège-Bastogne-Liège (258.1km)

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.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.