La Doyenne cometh

She is the oldest, and perhaps the most coveted. She is Liège–Bastogne–Liège. 1

And she will be fantastic.

Last years winner, Andy Schleck, simply “promises attacks.” The pain will come. And with it, glory.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has said he will ride a defensive race and wait for a possible sprint finish at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) has warned the Belgian that he will go on the attack somewhere on the ten côtes that characterise the last major Classic of the spring.

Andy Schleck won Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year and so will start the race wearing number one. As ever, the lanky rider from Luxembourg seems unworried by the weight of expectation and pressure on his shoulders. He will race in parallel with his older brother Fränk and with strong support from the rest of the Saxo Bank team, making him a strong favourite to repeat his 2009 win.

“It’s the highlight of the first part of the season. I had a really good last year, my shape is great and so I’m not scared of anyone tomorrow.

Read the rest: cyclingnews.com.

“I’m not scared of anyone tomorrow.” Nice. Gotta admire the confidence in that kid.

You name a Grand Tour rider, he’s gunning for this one. The depth of talent is off the chart.

Besides being the oldest existing classic (it was first held as an amateur race in 1892), Liège-Bastogne-Liège has developed into the world’s most challenging single-day race, and also the most competitive. You just have to look at the field for this Sunday’s 96th edition: All top 10 finishers from last year’s Tour de France will be on the start line in Liège’s Place Lambert except for Lance Armstrong.

Read the rest: velonews.competitor.com.

I like Andy Schleck, Phillippe Gilbert, Alberto Contador, and Cadel Evans (he just won Fleche! 2). And, of course, I want to see big things out of my man Wiggo. Kid is sick! 3 I’m all about it.

The odds at Velotip, once again, tell their tale:

2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege Betting Odds
Phillipe Gilbert at 4.80 (15/4) with Bet365 and Sportingbet
Alejandro Valverde at 7.00 (6/1) with Unibet
Joaquin Rodriguez at 10.00 (9/1) with Sky Bet and Unibet and Bet365
Alberto Contador at 13.00 (12/1) with Unibet
Cadel Evans at 12.00 (11/1) with Unibet
Andy Schleck at 13.00 (14/1) with Bet365
Damiano Cunego at 14.00 (13/1) with Bet365
Frank Schleck at 17.00 (16/1) with Sky Bet
Alexandre Vinokourov at 22.00 (21/1) with Unibet
Stefano Garzelli at 28.00 (27/1) with Unibet
Serguey Ivanov at 30.00 (29/1) with Unibet
Oscar Freire at 35.00 (34/1) with Unibet
Roman Kreuziger at 41.00 (40/1) with Sportingbet
Ryder Hesjedal at 41.00 (40/1) with Bet365 and Sky Bet and Sportingbet
Alexander Kolobnev at 41.00 (40/1) with Bet365
Chris Horner at 41.00 (40/1) with Bet365 and Sky Bet and Sportingbet

Not a lot of action on either of the Schleck brothers, which I think is a mistake. Riis is going to flog his boys mercilessly to get another Classic under the belt. Horner is a true dark horse – and we all need an American to make up for the rather marred history of one Tyler “Jump the Shark” Hamilton. 4 (Read pezcyclingnews.com for a discussion of whether Hamilton is a victim or a villain.)

I don’t know why anyone looks at the likes of Vinokourov, Garzelli, or Friere twice. I can’t see any one of them taking the top spot. Valverde and/or Rodriguez? I don’t know. But I’m just not feeling it.

Whit has another top to bottom preview over at pavepavepave.blogspot.com.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

6 thoughts on “La Doyenne cometh

  1. ““I’m not scared of anyone tomorrow.” Nice. Gotta admire the confidence in that kid.”

    The only guys Andy is afraid of are the other seven Saxo Bank guys that are rolling for him.

    Just re-watched M-SR where Gilbert came from third wheel and rode away. That tactic seems to be working for him so far this year.

  2. Because Andy doesn’t want to let down the side, I mean. They’ll all blow up except Andy if it goes to plan.

    And that was Friere at MSR obviously, Gilbert was there in the top ten tho

  3. …as much as i admire schleck & gilbert, i hope they & the other top sentimental favorites beat the cols out of each other & horner’s dark horse or hesjedal’s rising star comes up aces…

    …just hopin’…

  4. …none of us here saw that one coming, did we ???…not w/ that list of potential candidates…