The final Ardennes Classic of the 2017 season, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, fittingly provided a showdown between some of the year’s most successful riders.
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Irishman Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) came the closest to derailing the dominant Spaniard’s hope of a fourth Liège victory. He attacked on the final hill, but Valverde came around him in the final hundred metres to take the win.
Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski – a winner in Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche – claimed this place to complete the podium.
The race was marked by an eight-man escape group who had been allowed to build up a lead of over 12 minutes before being reeled in to set up a finale on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas and on into the finish ascent.
Prior to the men’s race, Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) had won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes ahead of team-mate Lizzie Deignan. It was her third consecutive win – and Deignan’s third consecutive second place.
The race concludes the spring classics season, as many of the riders will now turn their attention to the forthcoming stage races, including the Tour de Romandie, Tour de Yorkshire and opening Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia.