CYCLING: Fuglsang and van Vleuten run away with Liege-Bastogne-Liege wins

Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang

There was no mad dash for the line in either the men’s or women’s edition of the famed Liege-Bastogne-Liege race on Sunday as winners Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) and Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) both won with runaway performances.

Fuglsang has been having a career year, finishing third at Tirreno-Adriatico, fourth in the Itzulia Basque Country, third in the Amstel Gold Race, runner-up at La Fleche Wallonne and now a victory in one of the cherished Ardennes Classics. It’s his first win in a one-day World Tour Classics race.

Despite a rainy ride, Fuglsang, Michael Woods (CAN) and Davide Formolo (ITA), attacked with 15 km to go as the route climbed the Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons and then headed into Liege for the finish. Fuglsang poured on the speed and was clear with 13 km to go and rode solo to the line, jubilant with his historic win. He nearly crashed on a wet spot on the descent with about five km left, but he managed to hold on to the finish.

He simply had too much left for the rest of the field, and he won by 27 seconds over Formolo, with Woods dropping to fifth as Maximilian Schachmann (GER) came up for third, 57 seconds behind.

That seemed like a close finish compared to the rout in the women’s race. Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten, the reigning World Tour champ, attacked at the Cote de la Redoute with about 30 km left and no one followed.

“The weather was hard. I was cold and I just had to focus myself, like, ‘It’s my day. It’s my day. It’s my day.’ And then I had to commit on La Redoute,” van Vleuten said.

She won by 1:39 over countrywoman Floortje Mackaij and 1:43 over a pack of 12 more riders who simply could not keep pace. Van Vleuten completed a brilliant month of racing with five outstanding results

● 03 April: 7th at Dwars door Vlaanderen
● 07 April: 2nd at Ronde van Vlaanderen
● 21 April: 2nd at Amstel Gold Race
● 24 April: 2nd at La Fleche Wallonne
● 28 April: 1st at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

With the victory, van Vleuten took over the World Tour lead for 2019, passing Italy’s Marta Bastianelli, 850-710, with Kasia Niewiadoma (POL) third at 605. Summaries:

UCI World Tour/Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Liege (BEL) ~ 28 April 2019
(Full results here)

Final Standings (256.0 km): 1. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), 6:37:37; 2. Davide Formolo (ITA), 6:38:04; 3. Maximilian Schachmann (GER), 6:38:34; 4. Adam Yates (GBR), 6:38:34; 5. Michael Woods (CAN), 6:38:34; 6. David Gaudu (FRA), 6:38:34; 7. Mikel Landa (ESP), 6:38:34; 8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), 6:38:34; 9. Dylan Teuns (BEL), 6:38:34; 10. Wout Poels (NED), 6:38:34.

UCI Women’s World Tour/Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Bastogne to Liege (BEL) ~ 28 April 2019
(Full results here)

Final Standings (138.5 km): 1. Annemiek van Vleuten (NED), 3:42:10; 2. Floortje Mackaij (NED), 3:43:49; 3. Demi Vollering (NED), 3:43:53; 4. Soraya Paladin (ITA), 3:43:53; 5. Lucinda Brand (NED), 3:43:53; 6. Kasia Niewiadoma (POL), 3:43:53; 7. Lizzie Deignan (GBR), 3:43:53; 8. Alena Amialiusik (BLR), 3:43:53; 9. Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA), 3:43:53; 10. Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (DEN), 3:43:53. Also in the top 25: 16. Katie Hall (USA), 3:44:05.