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Pog is hungry for more. After winning Amstel Gold he is coming to Belgium to try to win a race that has eluded him thus far. He will face some rested competition who might fare better on the single hard climb effort, the race finishes on Mur de Huy, which is 1.3km @ 9.6%.
Last year it was Teuns who edges out Valverde (king of Mur de Huy) by just two seconds.

Notable rider: Pogacar, Powless, Mas, Bilbao, Landa, Gaudu, Hindley, Higuita, Skjelmose, Pidcock, Teuns, Ciccone, Ulissi, Cosnefroy, Mohoric, Chaves


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Live video stream available on Eurosport/GCN.

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Full startlist (not yet final):

Map:

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Profile:

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Last kms

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This is the one race you’d expect Pogacar to be really good at that he isn’t, three appearances (only missed it in 2021 due to COVID) and he’s never finished better than ninth. It’s also the race where it’s hardest for him to break the usual dynamic, even for him an attack before the final time up Huy seems too big an ask. So if his form is so good that he overcomes that history, it’s hard to see him not completing the Ardennes triple despite Evenepoel standing between him and a new victory in Liège.

That being said, there isn’t an obvious non-Pogacar winner either. The only previous winners on the provisional startlist are an injured Teuns and a Hirschi who’s in poor form even by his post-2020 standards. In fact, if Teuns doesn’t start, the entire top-3 of both 2021 and 2022 will be missing. That leaves the likes of Cosnefroy, Gaudu, Woods, Ulissi or Pidcock, who I wouldn’t back either. Weirdly bad field all in all, the people who spent their prime years finishing best of the rest behind Alaphilippe and/or Valverde must be fuming.
 
This is probably the first time in at least 10 years I have troubles identifying the favorite for this race.

Should be Pogacar considering his shape, his opponents and the fact he stated he wants to win it, but his track record in FW doesn't make me confident.
IMO there has rarely been a bigger favorite this year outside of peak Bala years.
 
This is probably the first time in at least 10 years I have troubles identifying the favorite for this race.

Should be Pogacar considering his shape, his opponents and the fact he stated he wants to win it, but his track record in FW doesn't make me confident.

Very hard to pick a rider that is not Pog.

About 10-15 riders that could probably win on a good day, if disregarding Pog for a minute.

But... maybe Cosnefroy. Finished very strong in the De Brabantse Pijl and gapped the peloton with a few seconds in the end. Decent performance in AGR as well and has been good in the past editions of this race. 2nd in 2020, when Hirschi won.
 
IMO there has rarely been a bigger favorite this year outside of peak Bala years.
This view kind of ignores the fact that he's fallen flat here every single time despite having missed only one edition since turning pro. Yes, in the absence of what few other world-class riders for the hilly races there are in the current peloton, he's the favourite, but there's no real argument why it wouldn't make sense for him to finish around 10th for the third time running. That makes him far less of a favourite here than Valverde was in his prime. In fact, he's less than a favourite than he was last year, because back then his trackrecord of underperforming here was much less clear and the field wasn't much better than it is now.
 
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This view kind of ignores the fact that he's fallen flat here every single time despite having missed only one edition since turning pro. Yes, in the absence of what few other world-class riders for the hilly races there are in the current peloton, he's the favourite, but there's no real argument why it wouldn't make sense for him to finish around 10th for the third time running. That makes him far less of a favourite here than Valverde was in his prime. In fact, he's less than a favourite than he was last year, because back then his trackrecord of underperforming here was much less clear and the field wasn't much better than it is now.
For me the question quickly becomes if being so bad at Fleche fits with his results in races that share some similarity to this one, and while he's less dominant on short uphill finishes I think he should still be a beast on this finish. Like this finish not suiting him that much should move the needle in like Pogacar vs peak Alaphilippe or Roglic, not make the difference between Pogacar and Tiesj Benoot. The one race outside Fleche that makes it look unconvincing he should win it is when he didn't drop Mohoric on stage 5 of Slovenia 2021.

I actually question if he was in that great a shape in Liege in 2020 and 2021 cause IIRC he was struggling to hold on on RaF both years.

Now the outside factors that impeded him in 2020 and 2022 may still play up, but him coming in this year and doing all 3 Ardennes races makes me think differently.
 
i agree, in theory pidcock should do very well here. He is always better after the first race following a training block.

People think he's not in top shape, forgetting that he only really got beat by the next coming of christ who thrives on hard attritional races. I think it was more going too deep trying to follow pog, rather than the length and/or tirreno crash, that caused him to get dropped by healy. but this is less than 200km so should have the acceleration.

everything has to go perfect for him to win, he can't say ride on a slow puncture for 40k and will be helped if pog doesn't make it that attritional race, because then there is only one winner. But I'm not sure the parcours allow or UAE will do that as it's too much of a risk for liege with a fresh remco.
 
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Hopefully they never change the parcours, because one day the stupid early attack is going to work and the rider will make themselves truly legendary, like Vino on the Champs.

Here it is reuploaded from the depths of the internet, complete with original poor quality and early 2000s faux-rock.


I like to remember it with him crossing the line alone, arms in the sky.