Five moments in history: Liège-Bastogne-Liège
There's just one race left of the Ardennes triumvirate. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the most revered of them all. We take a trip down memory lane to relive five of the race's most enduring victories.
How can I win Liège-Bastogne-Liège? That’s the question many in the peloton will be asking themselves after today’s Flèche Wallonne.
There are many ways to win a race though, and La Doyenne is no exception. Here’s a look at a few of the notable ways riders have triumphed at the Monument.
Tandem time trial
It was 1969, Eddy Merckx’s second year at Faema, the year of his first Tour de France victory, the year of his infamous derny crash. He had already been World Champion, won two editions of Milano-Sanremo, as well as Paris-Roubaix and the 1968 Giro d’Italia. Liège was one of the few races that still eluded the then twenty-four-year-old.
Merckx first rode the race in 1966, finishing eighth as Jacques Anquetil rounded off his career with a fifty kilometre solo effort. The next year saw improvement but, already accustomed to winning, he described his second place to Walter Godefroot as a “terrible humiliation”.
Van Schil leads Merckx on the road to victory in 1969. pic: Offside/L'Equipe
The following season saw Merckx sit the race out before returning to finally add it to his palmarès. The Côte de Stockeu, 100km from the finish, provided the race’s decisive moment. Merckx and teammate Vic Van Schil, who led the peloton on the run-in to the climb, powered up its steep slopes, immediately creating a gap.
It would be the last time anybody saw the duo, with their lead reaching over eight minutes at the finish. The most comprehensive of Merckx’s victories at the race, he would go on to win four more editions, the most of any rider in history.