The Liege-Bastogne-Liege is a one-day cycling race in Belgium. After 104 editions, it is the oldest Classic in cycling and is perhaps the hardest given its length and demanding route. Known as the La Doyenne or Old Lady, it has 4,000m of vertical climbing, almost the same as an “average” stage at the Tour de France.

Eddy Merckx is the all-time leader in this race with five victories. While Spanish cyclist, Alejandro Valverde, is the winningest rider currently participating in the race with four wins in his resume. 1980’s Classics rider Moreno Argentin is the only other rider to have won this race at least four times.

This year’s edition of the Liege is historic. 27 years after the finish was set to Ans, it is now returned to Liege which could change the entire complexion of this year’s race. The old finale saw the Côte de Saint Nicolas as the final climb, finishing with just five kilometers to go and preceding the uphill drag to the finish in Ans. Now, with the final climb of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons some 15kms away from the finish, the finale is flatter in Liege.

The change is a return to the “Classics” format and opens the door for a wider range of riders to win.  Those who are dropped are given a chance to chase back while giving fast sprinters a chance to finish strong. The change will also most probably prompt the stronger climbers to open the race from further out. Make sure to check out are how to bet on cycling guide.

“Trophy" Who Are The Favorites?

Here are the favorites to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2019. Odds taken from 888sport as of 4/23/19:

Cyclist Odds
Julian Alaphilippe +250
Jakob Fuglsang +550
Alejandro Valverde +800
Michal Kwiatkowski +1100
Michael Matthews +1400
Daniel Martin +1600
Maximilian Schachmann +160
Vincenzo Nibali +2200
Adam Yates +2200
Tim Wellens +2500
Romain Bardet +2800
Peter Sagan +2800
Tom Dumoulin +3300
Davide Formolo +3300
Michael Woods +3300
Simon Clarke +4000
Philippe Gilbert +4000
Ion Izagirre +4000
Roman Kreuziger +4000
Alexey Lutsenko +4000

Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang are coming off the Amstel Gold Race.  They should’ve finished 1-2, just as they did at the Strade de Bianche earlier this year. But a “disagreement” allowed the group led by Mathieu van der Poel and Michal Kwiatkowski to catch up in the final kilometer and take the 1-2 spot from the more illustrious pair of Fuglsang and Alaphilippe.

Both men have impressive starts to their season. Fuglsang won the Vuelta a Andalucia, won a stage at the Tirreno-Adriatico and finished second in the Strade de Bianche. Meanwhile, Alaphilippe won the Strade de Bianche, Milan-San Remo and had stage victories at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Basque Country.

Alejandro Valverde is a name on the odds board that cannot be counted out. The 38-year old Valverde has won this race four times including twice in the last four years. Valverde also won the Le Fleche Wallonne five times, the last of which was in 2017. No doubt, he has the experience and the sprinting ability to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege once again. Not to mention that cycling great Miguel Indurain thinks he can win this race on the new finale.

Like the Fuglsang and Alaphilippe, Michal Kwiatkowski heads to this race in good form after beating out the duo in the Amstel Gold Race where Kwiatkowski finished 2nd. The 28-year old from Poland was 3rd in the Paris-Nice (1st in points classification), 3rd in the Milan-San Remo and 10th in the UAE Tour.

The new course in this race could also benefit the likes of three-time world champion Peter Sagan and Australian Michael Matthews, who finished 4th two years ago. Likewise, former winners Daniel Martin and Philippe Gilbert are to be considered as favorites as well. Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin, and Adam Yates should also figure in this race as well.

“Trophy" Who Wins?

There is still the Le Fleche Wallonne to be raced on April 24th which should also be considered in picking the winner of this race. But if we look at the riders up until the Amstel Gold Race, then Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang may have the best form.

Although both men surprisingly lost the Amstel Gold Race 2019, they led by a minute with seven kilometers to go. Nevermind the surprise or controversy in the finish, these two are in great form heading to the Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2019 and are the best bets to win the race. When you talk of better value though, then four-time winner Valverde should be on top of mind at +800.

These men have finished 1-2 before and I think their recent form indicates another duel between the two. This is where it gets tricky though because, with these two, any one of them can win this race. That is why with better plus money, I’m going with Jakob Fuglsang to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2019. Alternately, you can also bet on the Dane at +140 to finish in the Top 3 if you aren’t sure of him winning.

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