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Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Route, riders and all you need to know

Cyclist magazine
23 Apr 2021

Key info about the 2021 Liège-Bastogne-Liège men's and women's races on Sunday 25th April: Route, riders, live TV guide

Page 1 of 4Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Route, riders and all you need to know

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Key information

Date: Sunday 25th April 2021   
Start: Men – Liege, Belgium / Women – Bastogne, Belgium  
Finish: Liege, Belgium  
Distance: Men – 259km / Women – 141km  
UK television coverage: Eurosport and GCN

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021 preview

Liège-Bastogne-Liège draws the curtain on the Spring Classics and the first part of the season, being the final instalment of a series of races that run from February until April.

It also comes as the last race in a micro-season known as the Ardennes Classics, which consists of three races: Flèche Wallonne, the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Some also count the smaller race of Brabantse Pijl as part of this category too.

The Ardennes of Belgian Wallonia and Dutch Limburg, where the races are held, provide an opportunity for the climbers primarily, but riders that fit the puncheur mould can also do well, with short to medium climbs of differing gradients proliferating throughout all three races. 

Liège is the hardest of the three, over 250km in length and often with as much climbing as a hard Tour de France mountain stage. A worthy end to the spring season.

Changed slightly in 2019, the route now finishes by returning to Liège as opposed to nearby Ans. This year also sees the addition of a new climb in the form of the Côte de Desnié just ahead of the Côte de la Redoute.

Normally around 100km shorter than the men's edition, this year will also see the fifth edition of the women's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Taking place on the same day as the men's event, unlike previous editions, the last 80 kilometres will mirror the route used later, likely making for similar tactics in both races.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Men's route

The 2021 Liège-Bastogne-Liège men's route has now been confirmed and will cover 259.5km. The route will start in Liège, ride out to Bastogne, turn around and then return to Liege.

The Ardennes Classics differ greatly from the Cobbled Classics because the difficulty comes not from the poor road surfaces but from the elevation. Racking up over 4,500 metres of climbing as they go, this year sees the addition of another new climb.

The 1.6km long, 8.1% average Côte de Desnié has been slotted in ahead of the famous Côte de la Redoute.

With the final climb 15km from the slightly uphill finish, this tends to suit punchier riders who are nevertheless able to haul themselves over the epic amount of preceding climbing. 

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021: Women's route

The pro women will be riding 141km from Bastogne to Liege. This misses the outwards leg of the male race, dropping onto the shared course with around 80km remaining. 

The women's course still includes the Cote de la Redoute, the new climb of the Côte de Desnié and the final climb of the Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Television schedule

There will be live coverage of the the 2021 Liege-Bastogne-Liege men's and women's race on digital television and online via Eurosport and the GCN+ Race Pass.

Men's race

Eurosport Player and GCN+ Race Pass, Sunday 25th April, 1225-1625  
Eurosport 1, Sunday 25th April, 1225-1615

Women's race

Eurosport Player and GCN+ Race Pass, Sunday 25th April, 1020-1150  
Eurosport 1, Sunday 25thth April, 1020-11500

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Men's teams

WorldTour teams

Astana-Premier Tech
Bahrain Victorious
EF Education-Nippo
Ineos Grenadiers
Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux
Israel Start-Up Nation
Lotto Soudal
Qhubeka Assos
Team BikeExchange
Team DSM
UAE Team Emirates

ProContinental wildcard teams

Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles
Gazprom - RusVelo
Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
Team Arkéa Samsic
Team Total Direct Energie

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021: Men's favourites

The two most consistent riders this spring – Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel – will be absent from the start line in Liege with both deciding to end the first part of their season before La Doyenne. With both away, it means the title of 'favourite' will fall upon somebody else's shoulders for a change.

Defending champion Primoz Roglic will likely take the mantel of 'favourite'. The Jumbo-Visma rider recently won Itzulia Basque Country in an utterly dominate manner and was pivotal in Van Aert's Amstel Gold victory last weekend. If he gets it right on Sunday, we fail to see anybody matching him.

The only rider we see matching him is compatriot and old 'frenemy' Tadej Pogacar. The UAE Team Emirates man has been just as impressive as Roglic so far this year and has all of the necessary attributes to topple his fellow Slovenian. 

Julian Alaphilippe should have won last year but didn't because he celebrated too early. The Deceuninck-QuickStep man is unlikely to win this year too, but mainly due to a lack of form. The flying Frenchman has not been at the same level as 2020 and we think he will lack that top per cent to challenge for the win, especially against Roglic and Pogacar.

Instead, the Deceuninck rider we are keeping our eyes on is Mauri Vansevenant. Cut from the same cloth as Alaphilippe, the 21-year-old makes bike racing exciting to watch.

Another 21-year-old to watch is Tom Pidcock, if he is racing. The Ineos Grenadier has been flying throughout the Ardennes Classics but is yet to be officially confirmed for Liege. On current form, it would be criminal not to take him.

Other riders to keep an eye on include Alex Aranburu (Astana), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Max Schachmaan (Bora-Hansgrohe). 

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021: Women's teams

Ale BTC Ljubjana
Team Bike-Exchange
FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
Liv Racing
Team DSM
SD Worx
A.R Monex
Lotto Soudal
Parkhotel Valkenburg
Valcar-Travel & Service 
Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
Team Arkea
Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire
Drops-LeCol Tempur
Rally Cycling

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021: Women's favourites

The best women's cyclist in the world this spring just so happens to be the best women's cyclist of all time, Marianne Vos. The 33-year-old Dutchwoman seems to back to her imperious best with recent wins at Amstel Gold and Gent-Wevelgem and we are tipping her to take victory at Liege, one of the few races yet to appear on her palmares.

Her biggest competition will be the SD Worx team who field an immense line-up including previous two-time winner Anna van der Breggen. Alongside Demi Vollering, Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak and Ashleigh Moolman, the options for victory seem almost endless for the Dutch team.

Defending champion Lizzie Deignan has not reached the same form as she had in 2020. Luckily for Trek-Segafredo, her teammate Elisa Longo Borghini has been riding a wave of good form and will fancy her chances for victory this weekend. A front foot rider, expect Longo Borghini to force moves early in the race.

Two further riders who will certainly expect good results are Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram) and Cecilie Ludwig Ulttrup (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope). Both suit the arduous terrain presented by the Ardennes and both possess the racing nous to make race-defining moves, too.

And if you are looking for an outsider, we suggest Grace Brown of BikeExchange.

Page 1 of 4Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2021: Route, riders and all you need to know