It was an unusually large peloton that approached the finale in Ans/Liège after a race of very few decisive attacks. The race opened up a little on the Cote de La Roche aux Faucons as the little climbers like Arredondo and Pozzovivo tried their luck but there was swift regrouping and roughly 40 riders who approached the last climb in Saint Nicolas. Pozzovivo had another go on this last obstacle, this time with Giampaolo Caruso and the two built a decent gap as there was some disagreement in the chase behind.
Ultimately the duo was doomed as Dan Martin made the confusion moot by launching a forceful counterattack on the same bit of uphill where he closed down and beat Rodriguez last year. This forced the others to throw tactics to the wind and go all in to follow. Martin didn't look quite as convincing this time and had to dig deep to make the catch. As he and Caruso went into the last ninety degree turn Martin's rear wheel slipped out as he was accelerating around the Katusha rider, ending his day in disaster. Behind Valverde led the big favorites sprint to come round Caruso but in a reversal of numerous previous duels between the two it was Orica's Simon Gerrans that had the edge in the sprint, winning the race by a bikelength or two.
After many years of unsuccessful attempts Gerrans finally won an Ardennes classic and it was in large part due to tremendous support work by Orica in the finale. He was led into the Saint Nicolas climb right at the front and in the final chase Pieter Weening did yeoman's work to sew the race together for the Orica captain. In an odd but ultimately thrilling Liège-Bastogne-Liège it was strong teamwork that made the difference.
|6.||GRS||Tom Jelte Slagter|