2023 Liege–Bastogne–Liege Preview

The 109th men's LBL and seventh LBL Femmes will take place on Sunday (23 April), with stars like Remco Evenepoel, Tadej Pogacar, Annemiek van Vleuten and Elisa Longo Borghini all looking to end the classics season on a high before the season's first Grand Tours: the men's Giro and women's Vuelta

2023 Liege–Bastogne–Liege Preview

The spring classics road cycling season is nearing its end for 2023, and this weekend the fourth men's Monument classic of the season, Liège-Bastogne-Liège (LBL), will mark the transition from the one-day tests to stage racing.

LBL and the women's LBL Femmes, which will both be held on Sunday (23 April 2023), are the second races in a one-two Ardennes classics punch following the Flèche Wallone on Wednesday (19 April) and will give climbers one final shot at winning a classic this spring before the multi-week stage racing work begins in earnest.

The 2023 races will be the 109th men's and seventh women's edition of La Doyenne of the Classics, as LBL is also known. After LBL, only the sprinters' classic Eschborn-Frankfurt remains on the spring calendar – and everyone will turn their attention to the Giro d'Italia, the season's first Grand Tour.

As ever, the men's race will see the peloton start in Liège before racing south through the Belgian countryside to Bastogne and looping back north into Liège over 258.1km (160.4 miles). The women's race begins in Bastogne and largely follows the men's course for the last 100km of the 142.8-km (88.7-mile) race, with the exception of a small stretch between the towns of Spa and Theux.

Here's what to look forward to at the 2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège races.

The last two men's winners, Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogacar, are both expected to race – with Evenepoel set for his only spring classic of the year. Pogacar is in fine form, with a win at the Tour of Flanders at the start of the month under his belt.

Tokyo 2020 champions Richard Carapaz and Tom Pidcock are also due to compete, while two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe might be expected to work in service of his Soudal - Quick-Step teammate and Evenepoel.

This will be the first LBL race in years not to include three former winners, the now-retired Philippe Gilbert and Alejandro Valverde, and the late Davide Rebellin, who was to have retired at the end of last year but was killed in a car accident while out training.

Only one non-Dutch rider has ever clinched the Liège Femmes: Lizzie Deignan in 2020. Deignan has not raced competitively since 2021 after taking time off to have her second child – but may be in action in the Ardennes after confirming her availability to her Trek-Segafredo team, having originally targetted a May return to racing.

Two-time winner Annemiek van Vleuten is in her final season before retiring and the Movistar rider would no doubt love to retain her title and become the first to three wins.

Another former winner, Demi Vollering, will lead SD Worx, while Deignan's teammate Elisa Longo Borghini is also expected on the start line in Bastogne.

The men's race is a 258.1km (160.4 miles) trek from Liège south to Bastogne and back up north. 

As usual, the famous côtes and cols – the Wanne, Stockeu, Haute-Levée, La Redoute, Forges, and Roche-aux-Faucons all appear once more in this year's parcours. However, there is a new addition: the race will pass through Cornémont between La Redoute and Foges for the first time, which brings with it a climb up the uncategorised Côte de Cornémont.

Those same climbs will feature on the women's parcours, which is including the three-pronged Wanne, Stockeu, Haut-Levée combination for the first time. Much of the final 104-or-so kilometres are identical for both races, except for slightly differing routes between the Col du Roisier and La Redoute, which will take the two pelotons over different climbs.

Once more, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons is the final test for riders in both races, coming just over 13km from the finish line; this could be the stage of the final attacks – or final attempts to drag an attacker back into a group.

2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes race schedule, 23 April

(All times local CEST, approximate after race start at average speed of 39km/h)

8:35am – Départ fictif
8:40am – Actual race start, Bastogne, 142.8km to finish
9:42am – Race reaches Vielsalm, 102.3km
9:59am – Côte de Mont-le-Soie, 91.1km
10:12am – Côte de Wanne, 82.8km
10:22am – Côte de Stockeu (Stèle Eddy Merckx), 76.3km
10:29am – Côte de la Haute-Levée, 72.0km
10:51am – Col du Roisier, 57.9km
11:10am – Col du Maquisard, 45.2km
11:27am – Côte de la Redoute, 34.0km
11:44am – Côte des Forges, 23.3km
11:59am – Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, 13.3km
12:20pm – Race finish, Liège

2023 Liège-Bastogne-Liège men's race schedule, 23 April

(All times local CEST, approximate after race start at average speed of 43km/h)

10:30am – Départ fictif
10:35am – Actual race start, Liège, 258.1km to finish
12:12pm – Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne, 188.4km
1:24pm – Côte de Saint-Roche, 137.2km
2:09pm – Race reaches Vielsalm, 104.6km
2:25pm – Côte de Mont-le-Soie, 93.3km
2:36pm – Côte de Wanne, 85.0km
2:46pm – Côte de Stockeu (Stèle Eddy Merckx), 78.5km
2:51pm – Côte de la Haute-Levée, 74.3km
3:11pm – Col du Roisier, 60.0km
3:30pm – Côte de Desnié, 46.7km
3:48pm – Côte de la Redoute, 33.9km
4:03pm – Côte des Forges, 23.3km
4:17pm – Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, 13.3km
4:35pm – Race finish, Liège

The last five women's winners were:

2018: Anna van Der Breggen (NED), Boels-Dolmans
2019: Annemiek van Vleuten (NED), Mitchelton-Scott
2020: Lizzie Deignan (GBR), Trek-Segafredo
2021: Demi Vollering (NED), Team SD Worx
2022: Annemiek van Vleuten (NED), Movistar Team

The last five men's winners were:

2018: Bob Jungels (LUX), Quick-Step Floors
2019: Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Astana Pro Team
2020: Primoz Roglic (SLO), Team Jumbo-Visma
2021: Tadej Pogacar (SLO), UAE Team Emirates
2022: Remco Evenepoel (BEL), Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl

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