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 21, 2024 
Start: Liège, Belgium
Finish: Liège, Belgium
Distance: 259km (men’s), 147.6km (women’s)
Defending champion: Remco Evenepoel (Soudal–Quick-Step)/Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime)

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 also, and in the race’s history, it has regularly been severely affected by bad weather conditions – some 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 (2022/23) 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 came close to joining Merckx with their respective four wins. No rider in today’s peloton has come close to joining these legendary names just yet, but Remco Evenepoel has won the race two years running and was set to be lining up again for a third time, but due to injury, chasing the third title will have to wait another year. 

However, it is still set to be an epic showdown with Tadej Pogačar and Mathieu van der Poel both down to start in Liège. Pogačar will be in pursuit of completing his Ardennes Classics set after crashing in last year’s edition of La Doyenne and narrowly missing out on the hat-trick.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2024 teams: 

  • Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team
  • Alpecin-Deceuninck 
  • Arkéa-B&B Hotels
  • Astana Qazaqstan 
  • Bahrain-Victorious
  • Bora-Hansgrohe 
  • Cofidis
  • EF Education-EasyPost 
  • Groupama-FDJ 
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Intermaché-Wanty
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Movistar
  • Soudal–Quick-Step
  • Jayco-Alula
  • Team dsm-fermenich PostNL 
  • UAE Team Emirates 
  • Bingoal WB 
  • Equipo Kern Pharma
  • Israel-Premier Tech 
  • Lotto Dstny 
  • Team Flanders-Baloise 
  • TotalEnergies 
  • Uno-X Mobility

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2024 route: 

The 2024 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, featuring only the Côte de Bonnerue climb. It is once they have reached Bastogne and begin the pilgrimage back to Liège the route gets taken up a notch. 

After 117km of racing, and on the return leg to Liège, the riders get their first taste of the Ardennes hills 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. 

Route map sourced on the 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. Then they will need to tackle the Côte de la Redoute, a climb where Evenepoel has made his race-winning attacks in the last two editions. One more climb under their belt – Côte des Forges – and the riders have a 7km downhill to the foot of their next test. 

The last climb of the day is the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons – a brutal 1.3km-long climb with an ascent of 11% – 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 La 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, as has Demi Vollering who won in 2021 and in 2023. Lizzie Deignan (2020) is the other rider who has made it on to the honour roll for this race. No rider has won this Monument on three occasions, but Vollering is in a position to do so this year.

Liège-Bastonge-Liège Femmes 2024 teams:

  • AG Insurance-Soudal Team
  • Canyon//SRAM
  • Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
  • FDJ-Suez
  • Fenix-Deceuninck
  • Human Powered Health
  • Lidl-Trek 
  • Liv Alula Jayco
  • Movistar
  • Roland 
  • Team dsm-firmenich PostNL 
  • SD Worx-Protime
  • Visma-Lease a Bike 
  • UAE Team ADQ
  • Uno-X Mobility 
  • Arkéa-B&B Hotels Women
  • Cofidis Women Team
  • EF Education-Cannondale
  • Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi 
  • Lifeplus Wahoo 
  • Lotto Dtsny Ladies
  • St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 WE
  • Team Coop-Repsol
  • VolkerWessels Women’s Pro Cycling Team

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes 2024 route:

The women’s route will once again start in Bastogne and make its way north back to Liège, featuring nine of the Ardennes famous climbs, one more than last year’s race. Similar to the men’s route, the second half of the race is where all the action is packed with eight climbs crammed into the last 80km. The first climb, the Côte de Saint-Roch is the only climb in the opening half of the race and comes after 19.2km of racing. 

Route map sourced on the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes website 

Once they reach 62km to go, this is where the race spices up, as they tackle the Côte de Wanne, Côte de Stockeu, Côte de la Haute-Levée, Col du Rosier, Côte de Desnié, Côte de La Redoute, Côte des Forges, and finally Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons. They then have a short descent into Liège, before a flat run-in to the finish line.

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