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Flat finish for Liege-Bastogne-Liege could play to Sagan's chances

Joe Robinson
22 Jan 2019

No more Côte de Saint Nicolas as Liege-Bastogne-Liege route gets shake up

The small town of Ans has been dropped from the final of Liege-Bastogne-Liege leaving a flat finish that could suit the likes of Peter Sagan.

The routes for both the men's and women's races have been released with both routes sharing the final 30km to the new finish. The races will now return back to the city of Liege for a finale on the Boulevard d'Avroy, the same finish used until 1991.

By rejecting the finish in Ans, the route will no longer finish on the climb of the Cote de Saint Nicolas, the final classified climb that topped out 4.5km from the former finish line and often provided a launchpad for those lacking a finishing sprint.

This also sees the final 1.5km unclassified climb into the finish scrapped, often used by four-time Alejandro Valverde as his point of final attack.

Instead, the final classified climb in the men's race will now fall 15km from the finish with the Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons providing a flatter route to the final that could suit the likes of Michael Matthews and Sagan.

The former World Champion has confirmed his intentions to race Liege for the first time in his career at a team camp in December commenting, 'I've never raced it before so it could be good for me to race it for future years.'

The race still includes the classic Cote de la Redoute among its 11 classified climbs with the total distance being 256km.

Last year's edition was taken by Deceuninck-Quick Step's Bob Jungels who profited from a brave 50km solo attack to take his first career Monument.

However, Jungels may not be in attendance to defend his title after announcing his attention to focus on the Cobbled Classics.

The women's race will also feature a flat finale which could end Anna Van Der Breggen's stranglehold on the race.

The Dutch World Champion has won both editions of the classic proving a far superior climber to her rivals. However now with a flat final, riders such as Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) could stem Van Der Breggen's attacks and force a sprint finish.

The women's route will be 138.5km from Bastogne to Liege with five classified climbs along the course.

The men's race also confirmed the teams invited to this year's edition with a split in wildcard invites between French and Belgian ProContinental teams.

Warren Barguil's Arkea-Samsic have been awarded an invite alongside Cofidis, Direct Energie and Vital-Concept while Wanty-Gobert, Wallonie-Bruxelles and Sport Vlaanderen complete the Belgian representation.