Jakob Fuglsang sprints to 12th place at Liège – Bastogne – Liège
The third Monument of the season, Liège – Bastogne – Liège, came down to a nail-biting finale with 2019 winner Jakob Fuglsang finishing just outside of the top ten.
Fuglsang’s Astana – Premier Tech teammates did a stellar job to deliver their leader in a good position for the decisive part of the race, but Fuglsang found himself missing a little bit on the final climb. The Dane fought hard to finish a tough and long day in the saddle in 12th place, in the first chase group behind the five riders who contested the win.
“Well, of course we hoped for another outcome but nevertheless I am satisfied with our performance in general. I just missed a little. We showed fighting spirit and were up there as the race lit up. The guys made the race hard and also protected me the whole day. At the end, when we were on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, I was in the back and a gap opened up, which we couldn’t close towards the line. Of course, I wanted to repeat 2019 but it is how it is. I will now have a short break before heading to the Tour de Suisse, followed by the Tour de France,” said Jakob Fuglsang.
Right from the start, a group of seven riders established the breakaway of the day and the peloton, allowed them to go more than ten minutes up the road. The Kazakh – Canadian team took control of the race with Omar Fraile, Luis Leon Sanchez and Alex Aranburu launching several impressive attacks inside the final 70 kilometres. Stefan de Bod, Alexey Lutsenko, and Hugo Houle protected Fuglsang in the reduced bunch and made sure he stayed out of trouble.
As expected, the race exploded on the iconic La Redoute climb. Astana – Premier Tech was right up there, working tirelessly for Fuglsang, who was surrounded by the other pre-race favourites. Several attacks were launched on the final two climbs, splitting the field into pieces. On the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, Tadej Pogacar, Julian Alaphilippe and other favourites opened up a small gap, while Fuglsang chased behind in a select group.
In an exciting finale, Tour de France winner Pogacar took the win, while Fuglsang crossed the line in 12th place, nine seconds behind.
“It was another tough edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Our guys rode a really strong race and attacked several times to make the race hard and the other riders tired. Jakob was in a good position in the final part of the race, but just missed a little in the final move. The chasing group tried to bring them back but today they were just stronger. Nevertheless, the team worked really well together and fought hard the whole day,” said Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.
Top 3: 1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), 2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – QuickStep), 3. David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ)
Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 12. Jakob Fuglsang, 21. Alex Aranburu, 29. Omar Fraile
Photo: Getty Images