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For the under-23 race, see U23 Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
Liège–Bastogne–Liège logo.svg
Race details
Date Late-April
Region Ardennes, Belgium
English name Liège–Bastogne–Liège
Local name(s) Liège–Bastogne–Liège (French)
Nickname(s) La Doyenne ("the oldest")
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type One-day
Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation
First edition 1892 (1892)
Editions 100 (as of 2014)
First winner  Léon Houa (BEL)
Most wins  Eddy Merckx (BEL)
(5 wins)
Most recent  Simon Gerrans (AUS)

Liège–Bastogne–Liège, often called La Doyenne ("the oldest"),[1][2][3][4] is one of the five 'Monuments' of the European professional road cycling calendar.[5] It is run in the Ardennes region of Belgium, from Liège to Bastogne and back.

Liège–Bastogne–Liège was part of the UCI Road World Cup and is part of the Belgian Ardennes Classics series, which includes La Flèche Wallonne. Both are organised by Amaury Sport Organisation. At one time, Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège were run on successive days as Le Weekend Ardennais. Only seven riders have won both races in the same year: the Swiss Ferdi Kübler twice (in 1951 and 1952), Belgians Stan Ockers (1955) and Eddy Merckx (1972), Italians Moreno Argentin (1991) and Davide Rebellin (2004), the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (2006) and finally Philippe Gilbert in 2011 as part of a quadruple victory with the Amstel Gold Race and the Brabantse Pijl.


La Côte de "La Redoute"

Liège–Bastogne–Liège began in 1892 to publicise the newspaper L'Expresse[6] It is because the paper was published in French that the route stayed in the southern, French-speaking half of Belgium. Its equivalent in the Dutch-speaking north is the Tour of Flanders.

The first race was for amateurs, from Spa to Bastogne and back.[2] It was won by Leon Houa, who also won the first race for professionals in 1894. The turn point was the train station in Bastogne, chosen because of its convenience for race officials.[6]

Thirty-three riders started the first race, which was run by the Liège cycling union and the Pesant Club Liègois. Just 17 finished, all of whom were Belgian. Houa, who came from Liège, won by 22 minutes, after 11 hours on the road. The second man, Léon Lhoest, came in 22 minutes after him, and the third, Louis Rasquinet, at 44 minutes.[7] Riders were still arriving for another five hours.

Houa won again the next year, this time by half an hour. He won again in 1894, by seven minutes. The 1894 race was for professionals, and the speed rose from 23.3 km/h (14.5 mph) to 25 km/h (16 mph). The winner of the first Tour de France, Maurice Garin, came in fourth. The race was then not run for 14 years, after which it was sometimes open only to amateurs and semi-professionals.

In 1909 the winner, Eugène Charlier, was disqualified, because he changed bicycles. The winner became Victor Fastre.[7] Two riders shared the 1957 race. Germain Derijcke was first over the line, but because he crossed a closed rail crossing, the second-place rider, Frans Schoubben, was promoted to first as well. Derijcke was not disqualified, because he had won by three minutes advantage; judges felt he had not gained that much time from illegally crossing the railway.[8][9]

Until 1991 the race finished in Liege city centre, with a flat run in to the finish. From 1992 the finish moved to the suburb of Ans, on the northern side of the city. The Côte de Saint Nicolas was added to the final kilometres, along with a final climb to the finish in Ans.


The British magazine Cycling Weekly said: "In purely physical terms, this is probably the toughest classic: the climbs are long, most of them are pretty steep as well, and they come up with depressing frequency in the final kilometers.[2]

Moreno Argentin said:

Riders who win at Liège are what we call fondisti - men with a superior level of stamina. [The climb of] La Redoute is like the Mur de Huy in that it has to be tackled at pace, from the front of the peloton. The gradient is about 14 or 15 per cent, and it comes after 220 or 230 kilometers, so you don't have to be a genius to work out how tough it is. I remember that we used to go up with a maximum of 39 x 21 - it's not quite as steep as the Mur de Huy. A lot of riders mistakenly think you should attack on the hardest part, but in reality you hurt people on the slightly flatter section that comes after this.
Liège is a race of trial by elimination, where it's very unlikely that a breakaway can go clear and decide the race before the final 100 km [62 mi]. You need to be strong and at the same time clever and calculating — in this sense it's a complete test of a cyclist's ability.[10]


The race has been affected by tough weather. In 1919, 1957 and 1980 there was snow. In 1980 snow fell from the start, leading commentators to call it 'Neige-Bastogne-Neige' (Snow-Bastogne-Snow') . Bernard Hinault attacked with 80 km (50 mi) to go and finished nearly 10 minutes ahead.

The 1980 race[edit]

A cold wind that blew across Belgium brought snow flakes and then a heavy fall within moments of the race starting. A feature published by the British magazine, Procycling in 2000, described the infamous race:

Riders struggled on, with hands to faces to keep a view of the road. The race was an anonymous mass of plastic jackets and windcheaters. Spectators stood in goggles like upmarket snowmen, red-faced in the bitterness. Within the hour some teams had barely a man left on the road. They pulled out two dozen at a time, men like Gibi Baronchelli and Giuseppe Saronni, Lucien Van Impe and Jean-René Bernaudeau.[9]

Bernard Hinault, the winner, was one of few to finish the course. It took three weeks for proper movement to return to two fingers of his right hand.[9]


The 2012 Liège–Bastogne–Liège route

The race follows a straightforward 95 km (59 mi) route from Liège to Bastogne, and a winding 163 km (101 mi) route back to Liège. The second half contains most of the climbs, such as the Stockeu, Haute-Levée, La Redoute, and Saint-Nicolas before finishing in the northern Liège suburb of Ans. The many hills give opportunities to attack, and the race often rewards aggressive riders such as Michele Bartoli and Paolo Bettini.

Well known climbs [11]
km mark Name Distance Slope
57.7 Côte de Ny' 1.8 km 5.7%
82.0 Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne 2.8 km 4.9%
128.0 Côte de Saint-Roch 0.8 km 12.0%
172.0 Côte de Wanne 2.7 km 7.0%
178.5 Côte de Stockeu 1.1 km 10.5%
184.0 Côte de la Haute-Levée 3.4 km 6.0%
196.5 Côte du Rosier 4.0 km 5.9%
209.0 Côte de la Vecquée 3.1 km 5.9%
226.5 Côte de la Redoute 2.1 km 8.4%
241.5 Côte de la Roche aux Faucons 1.5 km 9.9%
255.5 Côte de Saint-Nicolas 1.0 km 11.1%


Rider Team
1892 Belgium Houa, LeonLéon Houa (BEL)
1893 Belgium Houa, LeonLéon Houa (BEL)
1894 Belgium Houa, LeonLéon Houa (BEL)
No race
1908 France Trousselier, AndreAndré Trousselier (FRA)
1909 Belgium Fastre, VictorVictor Fastre (BEL)
1910 No race
1911 Belgium Daele, Joseph VanJoseph Van Daele (BEL)
1912 Belgium Verschoore, OmerOmer Verschoore (BEL)
1913 Belgium Moritz, MauritsMaurits Moritz (BEL)
No race
1919 Belgium Devos, LeonLeon Devos (BEL)
1920 Belgium Scieur, LeonLéon Scieur (BEL) La Sportive
1921 Belgium Mottiat, LouisLouis Mottiat (BEL) La Sportive
1922 Belgium Mottiat, LouisLouis Mottiat (BEL) Alcyon
1923 Belgium Vermandel, ReneRené Vermandel (BEL) Alcyon
1924 Belgium Vermandel, ReneRené Vermandel (BEL) Alcyon
1925 Belgium Ronsse, GeorgesGeorges Ronsse (BEL)
1926 Belgium Smets, DieudonneDieudonné Smets (BEL)
1927 Belgium Raes, MauriceMaurice Raes (BEL)
1928 Belgium Mottard, ErnestErnest Mottard (BEL)
1929 Belgium Schepers, AlfonsAlfons Schepers (BEL)
1930 Germany Buse, HermannHermann Buse (GER) Duerkopp
1931 Belgium Schepers, AlfonsAlfons Schepers (BEL) La Francaise
1932 Belgium Houyoux, MarcelMarcel Houyoux (BEL)
1933 Belgium Gardier, FrancoisFrançois Gardier (BEL) Cycles De Pas
1934 Belgium Herckenrath, TheoTheo Herckenrath (BEL) La Francaise
1935 Belgium Schepers, AlfonsAlfons Schepers (BEL) Dilecta
1936 Belgium Beckaert, AlbertAlbert Beckaert (BEL) Alcyon
1937 Belgium Meulenberg, EloiEloi Meulenberg (BEL) Alcyon
1938 Belgium Deloor, AlfonsAlfons Deloor (BEL) Helyett
1939 Belgium Ritserveldt, AlbertAlbert Ritserveldt (BEL) Dilecta-De Dion
No race
1943 Belgium Depoorter, RichardRichard Depoorter (BEL) Helyett
1944 No race
1945 Belgium Engels, JeanJean Engels (BEL) Alcyon
1946 Belgium Depredomme, ProsperProsper Depredomme (BEL) Dilecta-Wolber-Garin
1947 Belgium Depoorter, RichardRichard Depoorter (BEL) Garin-Wolber
1948 Belgium Mollin, MauriceMaurice Mollin (BEL) Mercier-Hutchinson
1949 France Danguillaume, CamilleCamille Danguillaume (FRA) Peugeot-Dunlop
1950 Belgium Depredomme, ProsperProsper Depredomme (BEL) Girardengo-Garin
1951 Switzerland Kübler, FerdinandFerdinand Kübler (SUI) Frejus-Fiorelli-Tebag
1952 Switzerland Kübler, FerdinandFerdinand Kübler (SUI) Frejus-Tebag
1953 Belgium Hertog, Alois DeAlois De Hertog (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1954 Luxembourg Ernzer, MarcelMarcel Ernzer (LUX) Terrot-Hutchinson
1955 Belgium Ockers, StanStan Ockers (BEL) Elvé-Peugeot
1956 Belgium Bruyne, Fred DeFred De Bruyne (BEL) Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1957 Belgium Schoubben, FransFrans Schoubben (BEL) (victory shared with Derycke, GermainGermain Derycke) Elvé-Peugeot
1957 Belgium Derycke, GermainGermain Derycke (BEL) (victory shared with Schoubben, FransFrans Schoubben) Faema-Guerra
1958 Belgium Bruyne, Fred DeFred De Bruyne (BEL) Carpano
1959 Belgium Bruyne, Fred DeFred De Bruyne (BEL) Carpano
1960 Netherlands Geldermans, AlbertusAlbertus Geldermans (NED) St.Raphael
1961 Belgium Looy, Rik VanRik Van Looy (BEL) Faema
1962 Belgium Planckaert, JefJef Planckaert (BEL) Flandria-Faema-Clement
1963 Belgium Melckenbeeck, FransFrans Melckenbeeck (BEL) Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1964 Belgium Blocklandt, WillyWilly Blocklandt (BEL) Flandria-Romero
1965 Italy Preziosi, CarmineCarmine Preziosi (ITA) Pelforth-Sauvage-Lejeune
1966 France Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA) Ford Hutchinson
1967 Belgium Godefroot, WalterWalter Godefroot (BEL) Flandria-De Clerck
1968 Belgium Sweefelt, Walter VanWalter Van Sweefelt (BEL) Smiths
1969 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Faema
1970 Belgium De Vlaeminck, RogerRoger De Vlaeminck (BEL) Flandria-Mars
1971 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1972 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1973 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1974 Belgium Pintens, GeorgesGeorges Pintens (BEL) MIC-De Gribaldy-Ludo
1975 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni-Campagnolo
1976 Belgium Bruyere, JosephJoseph Bruyère (BEL) Molteni-Campagnolo
1977 France Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault (FRA) Gitane-Campagnolo
1978 Belgium Bruyere, JosephJoseph Bruyère (BEL) C&A
1979 Germany Thurau, DietrichDietrich Thurau (GER) IJsboerke-Warncke Eis
1980 France Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault (FRA) Renault-Elf-Gitane
1981 Switzerland Fuchs, JosefJosef Fuchs (SUI) Cilo-Aufina
1982 Italy Contini, SilvanoSilvano Contini (ITA) Bianchi-Piaggio
1983 Netherlands Rooks, StevenSteven Rooks (NED) Sem-France Loire
1984 Republic of Ireland Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Skil-Sem-Reydell
1985 Italy Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Sammontana-Bianchi
1986 Italy Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Sammontana-Bianchi
1987 Italy Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Gewiss-Bianchi
1988 Netherlands Poel, Adri van derAdri van der Poel (NED) PDM-Concorde
1989 Republic of Ireland Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) PDM-Concorde
1990 Belgium Lancker, Eric VanEric Van Lancker (BEL) Panasonic-Sportlife
1991 Italy Argentin, MorenoMoreno Argentin (ITA) Ariostea
1992 Belgium Wolf, Dirk DeDirk De Wolf (BEL) Gatorade-Chateau d'Ax
1993 Denmark Sorensen, RolfRolf Sørensen (DEN) Carrera Jeans-Tassoni
1994 Russia Berzin, EugeniEugeni Berzin (RUS) Gewiss-Ballan
1995 Switzerland Gianetti, MauroMauro Gianetti (SUI) Polti-Granarolo-Santini
1996 Switzerland Richard, PascalPascal Richard (SUI) MG Maglificio-Technogym
1997 Italy Bartoli, MicheleMichele Bartoli (ITA) MG Maglificio-Technogym
1998 Italy Bartoli, MicheleMichele Bartoli (ITA) Asics-CGA
1999 Belgium Vandenbroucke, FrankFrank Vandenbroucke (BEL) Cofidis
2000 Italy Bettini, PaoloPaolo Bettini (ITA) Mapei-Quick Step
2001 Switzerland Camenzind, OscarOscar Camenzind (SUI) Lampre-Daikin
2002 Italy Bettini, PaoloPaolo Bettini (ITA) Mapei-Quick Step
2003 United States Hamilton, TylerTyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC
2004 Italy Rebellin, DavideDavide Rebellin (ITA) Gerolsteiner
2005 Kazakhstan Vinokourov, AlexandreAlexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) T-Mobile Team
2006 Spain Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
2007 Italy Di Luca, DaniloDanilo Di Luca (ITA) Liquigas
2008 Spain Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne
2009 Luxembourg Schleck, AndyAndy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank
2010 Kazakhstan Vinokourov, AlexandreAlexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana
2011 Belgium Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2012 Kazakhstan Iglinsky, MaximMaxim Iglinsky (KAZ) Astana
2013 Republic of Ireland Martin, DanDan Martin (IRL) Garmin-Sharp
2014 Australia Gerrans, SimonSimon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE

Multiple winners[edit]

Still active riders are in italic.

Wins Rider Country Years
5 Eddy Merckx  Belgium 1969, 1971–1973, 1975
4 Moreno Argentin  Italy 1985–1987, 1991
3 Léon Houa  Belgium 1892–1894
Alfons Schepers  Belgium 1929, 1931, 1935
Fred De Bruyne  Belgium 1956, 1958–1959
2 Louis Mottiat  Belgium 1921–1922
René Vermandel  Belgium 1923–1924
Richard Depoorter  Belgium 1943, 1947
Prosper Depredomme  Belgium 1946, 1950
Ferdi Kübler   Switzerland 1951–1952
Joseph Bruyère  Belgium 1976, 1978
Bernard Hinault  France 1977, 1980
Seán Kelly  Ireland 1984, 1989
Michele Bartoli  Italy 1997–1998
Paolo Bettini  Italy 2000, 2002
Alexandre Vinokourov  Kazakhstan 2005, 2010
Alejandro Valverde  Spain 2006, 2008

Winners by nationality[edit]

There have been 100 editions as of 2014.

Wins Country
59  Belgium
12  Italy
6   Switzerland
5  France
3  Netherlands
2  Germany
1  Denmark
 United States


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Cycling Weekly, UK, 13 March 1993
  3. ^ Cycling Weekly, UK, 7 March 1992
  4. ^ "Spring Classics: How to win cycling's hardest one-day races". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  5. ^ The title "monument" has no official significance; it is often used by the French daily, L'Équipe, to indicate a race's unchanging place on the calendar but the term has become more widespread because of television commentaries, especially in the USA
  6. ^ a b Cycling Weekly, UK, 13 April 2002
  7. ^ a b "Liège-Bastogne-Liège". Bike Race Info. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Liège-Bastogne-Liège's cold memories". Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  9. ^ a b c Procycling, UK, May 2000
  10. ^ Procycling, UK, March 2001
  11. ^ "Liège — Bastogne — Liège: The route 2009". Retrieved 19 July 2009. 

External links[edit]