Maxim Iglinskiy wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Nibali solos in for second and Gasparatto wins sprint for third

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) attacked out of a small chasing group to catch Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) within sight of the flamme rouge and take the win in the 2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Nibali had jumped from the field on the penultimate climb and tried to solo in the last 20km, but the Kazakh gave chase to claim his first Classic win.

Nibali exhaustedly crossed the finish line 20 seconds later, and Iglinskiy's teammate Enrico Gasparatto was third, winning the chase group's sprint. Last year's winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC), who had long been part of that group, relaxed when he realized he had no chance and rolled easily over the line in 16th place.

This race is often decided on La Redoute, but this year the action waited until the Cote de La Roche aux Faucons, with 20km to go. La Redoute had indeed reduced the field, and from there, BMC put up a furious pace around defending champion Gilbert. They caught and passed the remnants of the day's escape group. But at the top of the climb, it was Nibali at the head of things, and he took off alone on the descent, only to be caught again at the last minute.

At the start in chilly Liège, 200 riders left the Saint-Lambert Square while the sun was peeping through the dark clouds. Even before the official departure, outsider Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) hit the deck and broke his collarbone.

The peloton on the Saint Roch

In almost every Spring Classic this year, the early breakaway only got away after the first hour of racing and La Doyenne was no different. Despite several earlier attempts, it took an hour before three riders escaped after 40km of racing: Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma - Quick Step), Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano) and Kevin Ista (Accent Jobs - Veranda's Willems),and they were soon joined by Reiner Honig (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony), Grégory Habeaux (Accent Jobs - Veranda's Willems) and Alessandro Bazzana (Team Type 1 - Sanofi). By that time, the gap had skyrocketed to more than 12 minutes. That was the signal for the Katusha team of top favorite Joaquím Rodriguez to start working.

In Bastogne - at the turning point - rain showers tortured the riders when they reached the feed zone. From there, the gap dropped from 12 minutes to seven minutes after the second climb of the day, the Côte de Saint-Roch. The average speed dropped back to 38km/h while Katusha kept the gap at around seven minutes in the long zone before the third climb of the day, the Côte de Wanne. The peloton started getting restless while several riders were beginning to feel the pain of the demanding Ardennes course, getting dropped on the Wanne. The gap was down to just over five minutes after this climb.

Gilbert and the BMC offensive

Just before hitting the Cote de Stockeu, the front group lost Geschke in a crash and while in the peloton, favorite Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) ran into problems as well. The gap dropped to under three minutes on the long, demanding climbs. On the Levée , Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked, accompanied by Vasil Kiryienka (Europcar) and David Le Lay (Saur-Sojasun). They caught the five remaining leaders by the 4km long climb up the Col du Rosier. The peloton, led by BMC and Lotto Belisol, trailed the front of the race by one and a half minutes while riding in and out of rain showers.

The fast pace set by the newcomers in the break resulted in several dropped riders, but the gap back to the peloton remained above one minute. The rain continued to come down, and the riders packed themselves in dry, warm clothes. Cataldo, Bazzana, Rolland, Lelay and Kiryienka held on to a fairly consistent 1:30 lead for a while. Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank) jumped from the field but never got far away, as the looming La Redoute dominated things, with the teams bringing their captains early into position.

The fearsome climb tore the lead group apart, and behind them, the peloton gobbled up Christensen. Both Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) had technical problems on the climb, throwing them back, while Gilbert rode easily at the head of the field. While the chasing peloton got noticeably smaller, there was no real decisive move made.

Kiryienka and Rolland came over the top with about a 45-second lead, with Cataldo chasing them and struggling to catch up and hang on. He finally made it to the other two.

BMC kept the pace high, high enough that splits started appearing in the long, strung-out peloton. With only 25km to go, the gap had fallen to under 30 seconds. With 21km to go, the leaders hit the penultimate climb, the Cote de La Roche aux Faucons, with only a 14-second lead, with BMC still leading the chase. Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) couldn't hold the pace and fell off the back of the field.

Kiryienka was finally alone in the lead, but was caught by a small high-powered group including Nibali and Gilbert. Rodriguez found himself struggling, as the field tore apart on the high-speed climb.

Iglinskiy leads Nibali

Nibali stayed at the head of things as they crested the climb, and he took off on the descent, hoping to pick up enough of a gap on the remaining 19km to avoid a sprint at the finish. The chase groups, consisting of Gilbert, Gasparotto, Iglinskiy, Sanchez, Rodriguez, Kiserlovski, Mollema, Rolland, Voeckler, Scarponi, Van Den Broeck, Nocentini, Hesjedal, Martin, and Vanendert, were very fluid, with multiple attacks, and very little cooperation or co-ordination.

Nibali was able to take 22 seconds into the final 15km, with Iglinskiy and Rodriguez closest behind him. The Liquigas rider turned on the speed, and with 10km to go, had built his gap up to 39 seconds.

Martin and Rolland were the next to attack out of the Gilbert group, but Nibali had found his rhythm and kept pulling away. He went alone and perhaps not quite so easily up the final climb of the Cote de Saint Nicolas, but maintained his lead. Iglinskiy was surprisingly able to drop Rodriguez on the steep climb, and behind them, Gilbert had difficulties as well.

Iglinskiy crossed the top 46 seconds down on Nibali, but doggedly gave chase, getting closer and closer. The tiring Italian was unable to give any more and virtually within sight of the flamme rouge, he was caught and passed by the Astana rider.

Iglinskiy powered his way up the closing climb, extending his lead and crossing the finish line 20 seconds ahead of the exhausted Nibali. Gasparotto won the sprint of the chase group to claim another podium place for Astana.

Results

1 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 6:43:52  
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:21  
3 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:36  
4 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Barracuda    
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda    
10 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
11 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
12 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar    
13 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team    
14 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team    
15 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:01:00  
16 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:27  
17 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:02:11  
18 Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
19 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team    
20 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling    
21 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
22 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
23 Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan    
24 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team    
25 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank    
26 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
27 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan    
28 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
29 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling    
30 Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
31 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
32 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team    
33 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
34 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
35 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
36 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling    
37 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:02:19  
38 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:05:05  
39 Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
40 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team 0:05:27  
41 Rémi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
42 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:39  
43 Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
44 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale    
45 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
46 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
47 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - Barracuda    
48 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin - Barracuda    
49 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
50 Andy Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan    
51 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
52 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin - Barracuda    
53 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos-Shimano    
54 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Barracuda    
55 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
56 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale    
57 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
58 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan    
59 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
60 Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
61 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team    
62 Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
63 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
64 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team    
65 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:05:45  
66 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet 0:07:29  
67 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
68 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:08:22  
69 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
70 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
71 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar 0:08:28  
72 David Lelay (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:08:30  
73 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:08:54  
74 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
75 Michael Albasini (Swi) Greenedge Cycling Team    
76 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
77 Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
78 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
79 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team 0:11:04  
80 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
81 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:12:18  
82 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team    
83 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
84 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
85 Kevin Ista (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
86 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
87 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
88 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
89 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
90 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
91 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos-Shimano    
92 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank    
93 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos-Shimano    
94 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
95 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
96 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
97 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team    
98 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team    
99 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
100 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling    
101 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team    
102 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
103 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Astana Pro Team    
104 Christian Meier (Can) Greenedge Cycling Team    
105 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale    
106 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar    
107 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
108 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling    
109 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
110 Daryl Impey (RSA) Greenedge Cycling Team 0:12:50  
111 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:12:54  
112 Simon Clarke (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team 0:14:31  
113 Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
DNQ Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNQ Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNQ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNQ Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNQ Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Laurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan    
DNF Christopher Horner (USA) Radioshack-Nissan    
DNF Jens Voigt (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan    
DNF Joost Posthuma (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan    
DNF Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
DNF Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
DNF Matt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
DNF Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
DNF Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
DNF Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team    
DNF Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Stefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling    
DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling    
DNF Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling    
DNF Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Greenedge Cycling Team    
DNF Travis Meyer (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team    
DNF Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team    
DNF Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
DNF Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Franck Bouyer (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Anthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar    
DNF Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar    
DNF Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Arthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano    
DNF Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos-Shimano    
DNF Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano    
DNF Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano    
DNF Yann Huguet (Fra) Argos-Shimano    
DNF Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin - Barracuda    
DNF Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Barracuda    
DNF Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Gilles Devillers (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Reinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
DNF Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
DNF Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
DNF Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
DNF Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
DNF Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team    
DNF Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
DNF Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Evert Verbist (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's    
DNF Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF David Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Troels Ronning Vinther (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
DNF Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
DNF Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
DNF Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
DNF Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Type 1 - Sanofi

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