Maxim Iglinsky Wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) has won the biggest victory of his career.
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) has won the biggest victory of his career. The Kazakh rider overtook Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) just short of the one-km banner and powered away from the Italian to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 6:43:52. Nibali was runner-up in the 257.5-km race at 0:21, and Iglinsky's teammate and Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto outsprinted Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) for third at 0:36.
The break of the day was slow to form. The peloton snuffed out several sallies before Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma), Simon Geschke (Argos), and Kevin Ista (Accent Jobs) escaped at 38 km. Reiner Honig (Landbouwkrediet), Gregory Habeaux (Accent Jobs), and Alessandro Bazzana (Team Type 1) joined the break, and the sextet had forged a 12:35 lead by 79 km. Katusha got busy on behalf of La Fleche Wallonne winner Joaquim Rodriguez.
Katusha's pursuit cut the fugitives' advantage to 7 minutes by the time that the race reached the Cote de Saint Roch. On the climb, the bunch took two more minutes out of the break. On the approach to the Cote de Stockeu, Geschke crashed out of the break. A few minutes later, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) suffered a mechanical.
On the Cote de la Haute Levee, with the break's advantage below 3 minutes, Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked, and his teammate Vasil Kiriyienka and David Le Lay (Saur) joined him. The trio joined the five remaining members of the original break on the Col du Rosier. Behind, BMC and Lotto led the chase.
For a time, the lead was pegged at about 1:30. Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank) attacked, but when the race reached La Redoute, the bunch reeled him in. On the climb, the peloton began to disintegrate, and Voeckler and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) had mechanical problems. At the summit, Kiriyienka and Rolland led what remained of the peloton by 0:45. Cataldo clawed his way back to the leaders.
BMC led the pursuit. The American squad's pacemaking began to break up what was left of the peloton. With 25 km remaining, the break's advantage was under 0:30. Four km later, when the field began to ascend the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, the lead chase group was at 0:14. Frank Schleck, RadioShack's hopeful, was dropped. A group containing Nibali and defending champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) caught Kiriyienka, the last break member who was still at large.
With 19 km left, Nibali attacked. He led by 0:22 with 15 km left and 0:39 5 km later. Rolland and Daniel Martin (Garmin) pursued fruitlessly. On the Cote de Saint Nicolas, the day's final climb, the Italian led Iglinsky by 0:46.
The Kazakh did not give up. Gradually, he reduced Nibali's lead, and he overtook the Liquigas rider as they reached the one-km banner. The Italian held on for second, and Gasparotto took third to make today a red-letter day for Astana.
Iglinsky surprised himself with his victory. "Although I had taken stages in hilly races like the Dauphine Libere in 2007 and the Tour of Romandie in 2008, as well as the Strade Bianche in 2010," said the Astana rider, "I thought I could do better in cobbled Classics like Ghent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke, not in a Classic like this. But I was wrong."
For his part, Nibali, although disappointed with his second place, saw nothing to reproach himself for. "There's not much to reflect on," Nibali said, "because I certainly did a good race. I really wanted to do well here in Liège this week. I didn't get anything wrong today, I was just missing something in my legs in the finale."
Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the last major race of the spring classics season. The Grand Tours begin next month with the 2012 Giro d'Italia. Who will be there? Who will shine? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out! It'll also be possible for you to watch Giro d'italia video online in the video section here on Roadcycling.com.