Remco Evenepoel wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège with stunning solo attack

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider soloed to the first monument victory of his career

Remco Evenepoel wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
(Image credit: Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) won Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a solo victory for the ages, after attacking from 29km out.

The Belgian rider secured the first Monument win of his fledgling career with an attack over the top of the Côte de La Redoute that he held all the way to the line in Liège.

Evenepoel's victory was all the more poignant for the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team after world champion Julian Alaphilippe abandoned the race and headed to hospital after a nasty crash.

It was an all-Belgian podium on the last day of the spring Classics after Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) finished second and third respectively.

HOW IT HAPPENED

This year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège provided riders with a typically gruelling route to mark the end of the spring Classics.

With 10 categorised climbs and over 4000m of elevation, the 257km route would see the race head southwards in a loop, reaching Bastogne before heading back to Liège and taking in some punchy hills in the final kilometres.

After an arduous and action-packed Classics season, it came as no surprise that fatigue was taking its toll on the peloton.

Both Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) and Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) didn’t take to the start line in Liège, whilst Omar Fraile (Ineos Grenadiers) and Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) were early abandonments.

It took a while for the break to form with Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Fabien Doubey (TotalEnergies), Jacob Hindsgaul (Uno-X Pro Cycling), and the Lotto Soudal duo of Sylvain Moniquet and Harm Vanhoucke finally escaping after 45km.

A trio of Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB riders, the region’s local team, then bridged the gap, with Kenny Molly, Marco Tizza and Luc Wirtgen being joined by Pau Miquel (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies).

The group of 11 riders built a gap of around six minutes by the time they took on the first climb of the day, the Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne.

However, as the bunch tackled the Côte de Mont-le-Soie with less than 100km to go, the likes of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Movistar and Jumbo-Visma all helped to rapidly eat into the lead group’s advantage.

The remnants of the early break reached the Col du Rosier with a time gap of just over three minutes, however, in the bunch behind there was chaos.

A crash on the descent of the climb caused carnage, with at least 30 riders being caught up in it.

Alaphilppe, the biggest casualty from the crash, was forced to abandon the race.

The world champion, who was thrown into a ditch by the crash, was conscious but heading to hospital according to his team.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) were all involved in the crash too but managed get back into the peloton soon after.

Bahrain-Victorious helped to keep the pace high as the rest of the peloton regained their focus, cutting the gap to two minutes with 45km remaining. 

A number of their team began to liven things up with attacks at the summit of the Côte de Desnié.

However, no one could create a gap over the bunch by the time the Côte de La Redoute was reached.

With his team leader now out of the race, Evenepoel decided to go on the attack at the summit of La Redoute. 

Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) battled to hold the Belgian’s wheel, but he couldn’t keep up with the 22-year-old’s relentless pace.

Evenepoel swept past escapees Moniquet and Ourselin before reaching Armirail, the last breakaway rider standing, with 21km to go.

The duo held a gap of 40 seconds as they reached Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, however, the Groupama-FDJ rider was quickly distanced on the climb by the Belgian.

Attacks from the bunch behind saw Wout van Aert momentarily dropped, with Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacking inside the final 10km and creating a gap.

However, Evenepoel still held a gap of half a minute.

The young Belgian put himself into time-trial mode in the final few kilometres, ensuring none of the chasing group could catch him before the line in Liège.

Evenepoel held his arms aloft as he crossed the line to win the fastest edition of the Old Lady since 1963.

The chasing group caught Vlasov and finished 48 seconds down on the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider with two Belgians rounding out the podium.

Quinten Hermans edged his compatriot Wout van Aert in the sprint to earn an impressive second-place finish for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

RESULT

LIÈGE-BASTOGNE-LIÈGE 2022: LIÈGE - LIÈGE (257.2KM)

1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, in 6-12-38
2. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 48 seconds
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Daniel Martinez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Sergio Higuita (Col) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
8. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost
9. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
10. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech, all at same time

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