5th place for BAHRAIN MERIDA and Ion Izaguirre at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Ans, 23rd April – Today’s grand finale of the Ardennes Classic finished after 258 km and brought 5th place to Ion Izaguirre.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the grand finale of the Ardennes Classics and the last major spring Classic, is also the oldest and the hardest of cycling’s five monumental races. A gruelling trek over an up-and-down parcours in Wallonia, the race favours the more vertically inclined in the peloton, but requires serious Classics grit to boot, thanks to its length.
The 2017 edition of the race was 258 km long. It started in Liège and headed south to Bastogne, before making a wide loop back to the finish in the town of Ans in the Liège suburbs. The journey included 10 climbs officially, not including the uphill finale, with the closing trio of the Côte de La Redoute, Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons and Côte de Saint-Nicolas typically putting paid to all but the strongest riders on the day.
Recent editions of the race have been decided in the closing kilometres, with attacks getting clear in the run-up to or sprints won on the slopes of the final drag to the line. And this year was no different. Top sprinters fought in the last 500 metres and Alejandro Valverde from Movistar Team was the strongest today. Ion Izaguirre was in front of the peloton the whole race and in the final sprint took 5th place.
“Valverde is now on another planet but I am very happy. I was all the time in the heat of the race and now I am looking forward to Tour of Romandie,” said satisfied today 5th ranked Ion Izaguirre.
“It was not easy to start this morning, thinking of Michele Scarponi. I had a very hard week and I did what I could. See you next year, Liège,” commented after the race extremely sad Enrico Gasparotto.
Sports director of the team at the race Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Alberto Volpi commented: “We did the best we could at the toughest classic race in the world. Everybody made brilliant performance and this 5th place is a great achievement.”
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