Ardennes Classics Come to a Close with Liège-Bastogne-Liège22. April 2018, Ans (BEL) — Road Team
Loïc Vliegen went on the attack and Dylan Teuns gave it everything he had in the finale of the fourth Monument of the season, which saw Bob Jungels (Quickstep-Floors) take the solo win.
Vliegen was the first to attack and initiated the day’s breakaway, featuring nine riders, in his second race back from injury.
The peloton allowed the group to gain a maximum advantage of six minutes in the first 100km of racing and slowly started to bring the advantage down as they approached the 11 steep hills that make Liège-Bastogne-Liège one of the toughest one-day races on the calendar.
As the race approached 100km to go, Alberto Bettiol’s day came to an end when he crashed and was forced to abandon the race.
The steep ascents took their toll on both the breakaway and the peloton and one by one, riders began to drop from the breakaway until there were five riders, including Vliegen, left.
On the slopes of the Col du Rosier, after almost 200km of racing, Vliegen wasn’t able to hold the pace and was dropped from the group, by which point the peloton was closing in and the breakaway’s advantage was down to three minutes.
As the iconic Cote de la Redoute loomed, more and more riders were dropped from the peloton and at the front, the battle for position was intensifying.
Teuns was positioned well at the front of the bunch with Simon Gerrans leading the BMC Racing Team train as the group approached the 20km to go mark, which saw Jungels launch a solo attack and the race explode behind him.
Teuns formed part of the small chase group behind Jungels, who managed to extend an advantage of 40 seconds, but despite multiple attacks the group wasn’t able to bring his advantage down.
As expected, more riders began to drop on the Roche-aux-Faucons, the penultimate climb, before attack after attack was launched on the Cote de Saint Nicolas, including one from Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) who managed to halve Jungel’s advantage.
Teuns battled to stay on the wheel on the slopes of the Saint Nicolas but lost contact after the first few hundred meters and came home in 20th place, 2’53” behind Jungels.
A medical update on Bettiol will be provided when more information is available.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"On the Roche-aux-Faucons, it was à bloc the whole time. After the attack of Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors) the tempo was really hard. It was really fast and it was the limit for me. The attacks from Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Bob Jungels (Quickstep-Floors) were also really fast. It was really hard for me to stay with them. On the Saint Nicholas, the first few hundred meters were ok but then I exploded.”
“In the end, I didn’t get what I wanted out of this week. My expectations were pretty high but not unreachable. I achieved less than I wanted to.”
“The team told me it would be good for me to be in the breakaway and I was really happy to be in it. I really had ambitions here. I did a seven hour training ride in the lead up to it. It wasn’t possible for me to stop but my legs were heavy. In the Redoute, I had to get off the bike because I had so much pain and cramp. The public were really good and helped me to get going again. I didn’t want to abandon firstly, for Andy Rihs and secondly, because the fans were so good. The atmosphere and emotions were indescribable and I didn’t want to stop. I still had 40km to go to the finish.”
"Today we wanted to jump in the breakaway and Loïc Vliegen was able to make it into the group. He was the first guy to make a move from the successful breakaway and he stayed away for as long as possible. He has just come back from injury so he is not at 100% but he tried and he gave it his maximum. The rest of the guys were around Dylan Teuns, Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi, the three guys we expected to be there in the final. I was asking the guys to wait and then finally, Dylan was in the good move with the best 15 riders. But, on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, he was dropped and there is not much more I can say. In the end, that was the maximum that we could do. It's the reality of the race and there is no excuse."
One-day race: Liège > Ans (258.5km)
Top 3: 1. Bob Jungels (Quickstep-Floors), 2. Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac), 3. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 20. Dylan Teuns, 37. Damiano Caruso, 39. Alessandro De Marchi.