Australian Gerrans wins Liege classic in sprint finish
By Alasdair Fotheringham
LIEGE, Belgium (Reuters) - Simon Gerrans outpowered favorite Alejandro Valverde of Spain to become Australia's first winner of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic on Sunday.
After the hilly 263-km course had shredded the lead group to two dozen, the Orica-GreenEdge rider tore ahead of Valverde and Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski in the final kilometer to win the centenary edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the last major one-day Classic of the first half of the 2014 season.
"I wasn't expecting to see such a big group coming in together, but it seemed like everyone was a little more tired than expected and no-one had the legs to break away," Gerrans, the Australian national champion and winner of another cycling 'Monument', the Milan-San Remo Classic in 2012, told reporters.
"I myself was not feeling to good with about 30 kilometers to go, I said I wasn't feeling so good, but the team stuck by me and that gave me the extra confidence.
"My card to play in this race was try to be in a small group and see if there was a sprint, and that was what happened."
Third in the hilly Dutch Classic Amstel Gold last Sunday, the 33-year-old added: "I've had some very special victories in my career, including stage wins in all three Grand Tours, but I always thought to win in Liege everything would need to unfold perfectly."
"Winning here is always special, but to get the hundredth edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege really puts my name in the history of the race."
On a day when several of the favorites suffered bad luck or injuries, defending champion Dan Martin of Ireland crashed on the last corner when making a late attack. Continued...