Liège-Bastogne-Liège: All you need to know about the oldest Monument

The Old Lady of the Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is one the of the most gruelling and demanding races of the year

Date: Sunday April 23, 2023 
Start: Liège, Belgium
Finish: Liège, Belgium
Distance: 258.1km (men’s), 140km (women’s)
Stages: One
Teams: 25
Defending champions: Remco Evenepoel (Soudal - Quick-Step) / Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)

Held annually in late April, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, or La Doyenne, takes place in the Ardennes region of Belgium, starting and finishing in Liège. This race rounds off the Ardennes Classics after the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne. 

Since its first edition in 1892, the race has been considered one of the most arduous rides due to the sheer length of the course and what it demands of the riders, with the second half of the route being notoriously hilly. The most iconic climb in the race is the Côte de la Redoute, which is 2km in length with an average gradient of 8.9%, peaking at an eye-watering 20% – and usually comes after 200km of racing. 

The weather is often unpredictable at this time of year and in the race’s history it has regularly been severely affected by bad weather conditions. Many editions have even featured heavy snowfall. In 1980 the race had particularly bad snow, but this didn't stop Bernard Hinault who attacked with 80km to go and finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of the next rider. But this was also the year that only 21 riders out of the 174 that started made it to the finish line. 

Belgian riders dominated this Monument in its early years, but now riders from all over the world have succeeded on these roads. Most recently, Primož Roglič (2020), Tadej Pogačar (2021), and Remco Evenepoel (2022) have all added this Monument to their palmarès. 

Only one rider has won this race on five occasions and that was the great Eddy Merckx. He won his first title in 1969, then won in 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1975. Italian rider Moreno Argentin and Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde were the only riders who were close to joining Merckx with their respective four wins. No rider in today’s peloton have come close to joining these legendary names, with no one even securing a second title in recent years.

Men's peloton riding Liege-Bastogne-LiegeThe race is renowned for its long distance and challenging parcours 

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023 team start list: 

  • Bora-Hansgrohe 
  • Israel - Premier Tech
  • AG2R Citroën Team
  • Alpecin-Deceuninck 
  • Astana Qazaqstan Team
  • Bahrain-Victorious 
  • Cofidis
  • EF Education-EasyPost
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • intermarché-Circus-Wanty
  • Jumbo-Visma
  • Movistar
  • Soudal - Quick-Step
  • Team Arkéa Samsic
  • Jayco Alula 
  • Team DSM
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • UAE Team Emirates
  • Lotto Dstny 
  • TotalEnergies 
  • Equipo Kern Pharma 
  • Bingoal WB
  • Team Flanders-Baloise 
  • Uno-X Pro Cycling Team

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023 route: 

The 2023 edition is not much different to the race's previous editions in terms of route, with the peloton starting in the centre of Liège and heading south to Bastogne. The first half of the race is relatively easy for the riders, it is once they have reached Bastogne and begin the pilgrimage back to Liège when the route gets taken up a notch. 

After 117km of racing the riders get their first taste of the Ardennes with the Côte de Saint-Roch in Houffalize. This is shortly followed by the Côte de Wanne, and then within 12km the riders tackle the Côte de Stockeu and Côte de Haute-Levée before the longest climb of the day at 4.4km, the Col du Rosier. 

Men's Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2023 routeThe men's 2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège route (Map by Liège-Bastogne-Liège website)

The climbs continue as the peloton gets closer to the finish line, providing plenty of chances for riders to attack and break away if they think they have the legs for it. With just over 34km to go, they are faced with the Côte de Desnié, a 1.6km climb with a leg burning 9.4% gradient. Two more climbs under their belt and the riders have 20km to go. 

The last climb of the day is the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons before a short ascent and false flat that leads the riders to the descent into Liège. The last 2km of the race is flat to the finish line.  

Liège-Bastonge-Liège Femmes

Held on the same day as the men's race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes first began in 2017 alongside the reboot of the Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition. With the introduction of these races, the women's peloton now also has the same trio of Ardennes Classics races as the men, finishing with this iconic Monument. 

While the women's route is almost half the distance of the men's, the route is by no means easy and takes in the same brutal climbs, such as the Côte de Le Redoute, Côte des Forges and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. 

The first edition was won by Anna van der Breggen, who went on to defend her title the following year in 2018. Annemiek van Vleuten has also won this race twice in 2019 and again in 2022. Demi Vollering (2021) and Lizzie Deignan (2020) are the other two riders who make it on the honour roll for this race. 

Annemiek van Vleuten winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege women's editionAnnemiek van Vleuten won the 2022 edition with a solo victory

Liège-Bastonge-Liège Femmes 2023 teams start list

  • Israel-Premier Tech Roland
  • Jumbo-Visma
  • SD Worx
  • Movistar
  • Fenix-Deceuninck
  • Canyon-SRAM
  • Liv Racing TeqFind
  • Human Powered Health
  • EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
  • Jayco Alula
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
  • Lifeplus Wahoo
  • CERZTIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling 
  • AG Insurance - Soudal - Quick-Step
  • Duolar-Chevalmeire Cycling Team
  • Arkéa Pro Cycling Team
  • Cofidis Women Team
  • Parkhotel Valkenburg
  • Team Coop-Hitec Products

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023 route

This year the women's race has undergone some changes for its seventh edition. It'll now include climbs from the men's race, including Côte de Wanne, Côte de Stockeu and Côte de Haute-Levée – a trio of tough climbs all within 15km. 

Throughout the 140km route, there are eight classified climbs for the riders to tackle and the first one comes after 50km of riding. Then they come thick and fast as the riders make their way from Bastogne to Liège. 

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2023 route2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes route (Map by Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes website)

The peloton will then face Côte de La Redoute after 106km of racing and the Côte de Cornémont shortly after. Their final climb will be the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons and then from there it is a descent into Liège with the same flat finish. 

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