Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Fuglsang ends a spring of near-misses to solo to victory in Liège

Bora-Hansgrohe fill the remaining podium places despite Sagan's no-show.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) stormed to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Sunday, finding sweet retribution for a series of strong performances yet near-misses through spring.

The Dane attacked from the peloton on the final climb of the day and dropped his companions in the break to take his first monument victory, at the age of 34. That elusive victory almost slipped away from him on the final descent of the day when he nearly lost his rear wheel on the greasy road surface. However, the Astana man kept his composure and stayed upright to continue to the biggest victory of his career.

“It’s an amazing feeling and I’m happy that my wife was right,” Fuglsang said, commenting on his wife’s belief he would be able to win. “I will always listen to her from now on, I promise.”

Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second, 27 seconds back, having made the jump with Fuglsang on the Cote de La Roche-aux-Faucons. Maximillian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) completed the podium, giving his team second and third place after the disappointment of Peter Sagan pulling out of the race after failing to find his form through spring.

2019 saw a new finale to the final monument of spring, which was designed to make for a more attacking and open race thanks to the flat final kilometers.

Cold rain fell through the majority of the race, and the tough conditions saw pre-race dangermen Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and past-winner Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) pulling out.

After a series of splits with 100 kilometers to go, a large peloton had reformed at the head of the race with 25km to go.

The action started hotting up as the new-look finale started to play out, with Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) attacking on the penultimate climb of the day, the Côte des Forges, and bridging up to the last remaining riders from the breakaway, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tanel Kangert (EF-Education First).

The quartet were sucked in by the peloton before the final climb of the day however as Astana drove the pace, working for Fuglsang, looking to make the race as difficult as possible for the strong finishers still in the peloton such as Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team).

Wellens attacked again on the Roche-aux-Faucons, and this proved the pivotal move, with Fuglsang, Michael Woods (EF-Education First) and Formolo following him, and Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) struggling to hold the pace.

The trio of Woods, Formolo, and Fuglsang reached the top of the climb together, but it was on the long drag before the descent that Fuglsang proved his power, dropping his rivals.

Behind, a chase group of Nibali, Mikel Landa (Movistar), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) formed. They caught Woods, but Formolo managed to hold a gap on them.

It nearly all went wrong for the lone leader on the final descent of the day, with the wet roads causing him to nearly lose his wheel and slip into the gutter. However, the Dane was able to make the save of his career and continue unphased. “It was a scary moment but a bit of adrenaline for the last part,” he said afterward.

With 5km to go, Fuglsang was time trialing his way to victory, 25 seconds up on Formolo, and over 50 seconds up on the chasers. He crossed the line to take victory 27 seconds ahead of Formolo. There was a sprint for third from the group behind, with Schachmann just edging out Yates and Woods.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège One Day Race Results

1FUGLSANG JakobAstana Pro Team6:37:37
2FORMOLO DavideBORA - hansgrohe0:27
3SCHACHMANN MaximilianBORA - hansgrohe0:57
4YATES AdamMitchelton-Scott,,
5WOODS MichaelEF Education First,,
6GAUDU DavidGroupama - FDJ,,
7LANDA MikelMovistar Team,,
8NIBALI VincenzoBahrain Merida1:00
9TEUNS DylanBahrain Merida1:05
10POELS WoutTeam Sky1:26
11WELLENS TimLotto Soudal1:29
12KWIATKOWSKI MichałTeam Sky,,
13KONRAD PatrickBORA - hansgrohe,,
14MCCARTHY JayBORA - hansgrohe,,
15BETANCUR CarlosMovistar Team,,
16ALAPHILIPPE JulianDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
17DE PLUS LaurensTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
18POGAČAR TadejUAE-Team Emirates,,
19MARTIN GuillaumeWanty - Gobert Cycling Team,,
20MARTÍNEZ Daniel FelipeEF Education First,,
21BARDET RomainAG2R La Mondiale,,
22ZAKARIN IlnurTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
23IMPEY DarylMitchelton-Scott2:09
24PEREZ AnthonyCofidis, Solutions Crédits,,
25MOLARD RudyGroupama - FDJ,,
26SKUJIŅŠ TomsTrek - Segafredo,,
27LAMBRECHT BjorgLotto Soudal,,
28HERRADA JesúsCofidis, Solutions Crédits,,
29HENAO SergioUAE-Team Emirates2:12
30BAKELANTS JanTeam Sunweb2:13
31MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ2:15
32KANGERT TanelEF Education First2:17
33IZAGIRRE GorkaAstana Pro Team2:26
34CICCONE GiulioTrek - Segafredo2:28
35MATTHEWS MichaelTeam Sunweb3:03
36MOHORIČ MatejBahrain Merida3:15
37EIKING Odd ChristianWanty - Gobert Cycling Team3:34
38BATTAGLIN EnricoTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
39ULISSI DiegoUAE-Team Emirates,,
40CLARKE SimonEF Education First,,
41DE MARCHI AlessandroCCC Team3:37
42LIETAER EliotWallonie-Bruxelles4:11
43SLAGTER Tom-JelteTeam Dimension Data,,
44VERONA CarlosMovistar Team,,
45COSNEFROY BenoîtAG2R La Mondiale,,
46CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education First,,
47VILLELLA DavideAstana Pro Team6:05
48PACHER QuentinVital Concept - B&B Hotels6:53
49GEOGHEGAN HART TaoTeam Sky6:56
50DUMOULIN TomTeam Sunweb,,
51HIRSCHI MarcTeam Sunweb,,
53BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe8:22
54FRAILE OmarAstana Pro Team9:20
55SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónAstana Pro Team,,
56IZAGIRRE IonAstana Pro Team,,
57CARUSO DamianoBahrain Merida,,
58GILBERT PhilippeDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
59MAS EnricDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
60HOWSON DamienMitchelton-Scott,,
61CONCI NicolaTrek - Segafredo,,
62SPRENGERS ThomasSport Vlaanderen - Baloise9:48
63VERVAEKE LouisTeam Sunweb,,
64PARET-PEINTRE AurélienAG2R La Mondiale,,
65STRAKHOV DmitryTeam Katusha Alpecin10:36
66WARBASSE LarryAG2R La Mondiale,,
67DE LA CRUZ DavidTeam Sky11:32
68ANACONA WinnerMovistar Team11:59
69MONFORT MaximeLotto Soudal,,
70ALBASINI MichaelMitchelton-Scott,,
71AMADOR AndreyMovistar Team,,
72NIBALI AntonioBahrain Merida,,
73GONÇALVES JoséTeam Katusha Alpecin13:11
74GOŁAŚ MichałTeam Sky,,
75DUNBAR EddieTeam Sky,,
76CHEREL MickaëlAG2R La Mondiale,,
77KOCH JonasCCC Team,,
78BOUWMAN KoenTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
79KREUZIGER RomanTeam Dimension Data,,
80PUCCIO SalvatoreTeam Sky,,
81POLITT NilsTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
82MATÉ Luis ÁngelCofidis, Solutions Crédits,,
83MARTENS PaulTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
84LINDEMAN Bert-JanTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
85KING BenTeam Dimension Data17:39
86HAAS NathanTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
87JULES JustinWallonie-Bruxelles,,
88ČERNÝ JosefCCC Team,,
89STETINA PeterTrek - Segafredo,,
90MARCZYŃSKI TomaszLotto Soudal,,
91SERRY PieterDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
92ERVITI ImanolMovistar Team,,
93SICARD RomainTeam Total Direct Energie,,
94VAKOČ PetrDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
95CHEVRIER ClémentAG2R La Mondiale24:12
96HARDY RomainTeam Arkéa Samsic,,
97PIBERNIK LukaBahrain Merida,,
98KOCHETKOV PavelTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
99COURTEILLE ArnaudVital Concept - B&B Hotels,,
100JANSE VAN RENSBURG JacquesTeam Dimension Data,,
101BURGHARDT MarcusBORA - hansgrohe,,

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.