Ans no more: Liège finale will be moved next year

Officials announced Thursday that the finish of the Belgian monument will take place in downtown Liège for the next six years.

It’s official: the finish line of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will move from its uphill finale at Ans to downtown Liège in 2019.

Officials confirmed Thursday the finale of the so-called “Doyenne” will be in downtown Liège through 2024. Details of the approach and exact location of the new finish line were not revealed, but officials from ASO and the local government signed off on a new deal Thursday.

In another change, next year’s edition of Flèche Wallonne, the other major one-day race in Belgium’s Ardennes region, will start in Ans. The finish up the Mur de Huy will remain unchanged.

The hilltop finale at Ans was the scene of the Liège finish since 1992. Some felt the Ans finale lost some of its luster over the past several editions and there were additional political and economic interests to move the finish line back to central Liège.

The move will inject a new dynamic into one of the oldest and most prestigious monuments. The Ans finale produced some exciting finishes, but some felt it also blocked the race as many teams collaborated to try to control the action until the final charge up to the summit.

This year’s edition saw Bob Jungels (Trek-Segafredo) attack from the Roche-aux-Falcons at nearly 20km to go. That was the first major long-distance attack to succeed in several years. Some attributed Jungel’s success in part to new rules that reduced the number of riders per team from eight to seven.