In reality, there are no Liège-Bastogne-Liège specialists; only solid athletes, masters in the art of cycling.
It's the hardest round race in the world of cycling. For many, the week has already been a gruelling one in terms of racing. With Liège-Bastogne-Liège the Ardennes series of Classics culminates in a supreme blaze of glory. For starters, it is a long race: more than 260 km of course this year, i.e. close to seven hours of cycling. But it is above all the importance that top riders from around the world attach to winning the Oldest of the Classics that makes this spring day such a spectacular event.
The finish of the race is similar to that of the Flèche Wallonne, with the end result determined at the top of a defining climb; its characterising feature however remains the ultimate straight line which favours strong finishers or sprinters in the style of Jalabert, Vinokourov and Bettini. Unless of course you're a climber, a strong finisher and a sprinter, in the vein of Davide Rebellin and Alejandro Valverde who both clinched the unlikely Flèche Wallonne - Liège-Bastogne-Liège double, two years apart: proof that the major key to success in this race is physical form and sparkle in the last ten kilometres.
Potential winners are generally many in number which makes a victory in Liège all the more admirable. In reality, there are no Liège-Bastogne-Liège specialists; only solid athletes, masters in the art of cycling. The succession of difficulties in the last fifty kilometres makes the challenge even tougher, but the sequence of steep climbs to be conquered leaves the stakes open right up to the final stretch of the race. It's a confirmed success.