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 swarm up one of l-b-l's many steep climbs:

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.

Philippe gilbert and the bmc offensive:

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.

Nibali tails iglinsky as he launches his winning move:

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

1Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana Pro Team6:43:52 
2Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:21 
3Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:36 
4Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Barracuda  
6Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
7Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
8Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
9Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda  
10Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
11Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
12Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar  
13Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team  
14Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team  
15Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team0:01:00 
16Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:27 
17Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team0:02:11 
18Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
19Simon Gerrans (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team  
20Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling  
21Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
22Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
23Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan  
24Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team  
25Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank  
26Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
27Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan  
28Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
29Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling  
30Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
31Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
32Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team  
33Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
34Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
35Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
36Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling  
37Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:02:19 
38Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:05:05 
39Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
40Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team0:05:27 
41Rémi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
42Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:39 
43Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
44Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale  
45Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
46Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
47Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - Barracuda  
48Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin - Barracuda  
49Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
50Andy Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan  
51Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
52Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin - Barracuda  
53Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos-Shimano  
54Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Barracuda  
55Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
56Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale  
57Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
58Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan  
59Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
60Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
61Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team  
62Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
63Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
64Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team  
65Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:05:45 
66Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet0:07:29 
67Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
68Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:08:22 
69Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
70Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
71Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar0:08:28 
72David Lelay (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:08:30 
73Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:08:54 
74Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
75Michael Albasini (Swi) Greenedge Cycling Team  
76Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
77Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
78Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
79Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team0:11:04 
80Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
81Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team0:12:18 
82Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team  
83Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
84Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
85Kevin Ista (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
86Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
87Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
88Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
89Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
90Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
91Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos-Shimano  
92Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank  
93Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos-Shimano  
94Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
95Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
96Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
97Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
98Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team  
99Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
100Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling  
101Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
102Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
103Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Astana Pro Team  
104Christian Meier (Can) Greenedge Cycling Team  
105Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
106Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar  
107Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
108Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
109Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
110Daryl Impey (RSA) Greenedge Cycling Team0:12:50 
111Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team0:12:54 
112Simon Clarke (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team0:14:31 
113Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNQAlejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNQAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNQJose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNQLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNQPablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFBrent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMartin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFKlaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFAmaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team  
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan  
DNFChristopher Horner (USA) Radioshack-Nissan  
DNFJens Voigt (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan  
DNFJoost Posthuma (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan  
DNFFrancesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFSimone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFSylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
DNFJérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
DNFAlberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team  
DNFEduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team  
DNFStefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFFederico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFDaniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFRigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling  
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
DNFLuke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling  
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Greenedge Cycling Team  
DNFTravis Meyer (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team  
DNFWesley Sulzberger (Aus) Greenedge Cycling Team  
DNFIgor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFJorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFGorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFRuben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFLieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team  
DNFLaurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFYannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFStef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFFranck Bouyer (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFAnthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFDavide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar  
DNFKévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFLeonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFAlessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFPieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFEliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFMaxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFSébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFChristophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFThomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano  
DNFYukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos-Shimano  
DNFTom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano  
DNFSimon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano  
DNFYann Huguet (Fra) Argos-Shimano  
DNFThomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin - Barracuda  
DNFMichel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Barracuda  
DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFGilles Devillers (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFFrédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFKurt Hovelynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFSandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
DNFKenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
DNFRémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
DNFAnthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
DNFGaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNFBrian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFOleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFSjef De Wilde (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFGregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFArnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFEvert Verbist (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFSergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank  
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
DNFTroels Ronning Vinther (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
DNFJulien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
DNFJulien Antomarchi (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
DNFJavier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Type 1 - Sanofi  
DNFGeorg Preidler (Aut) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
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