The Tour de France runner-up Primoz Roglic won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic on Sunday, pipping Julian Alaphilippe on the line while the world champion was raising his arms in celebration. Britain’s Lizzie Deignan won women’s race for her third victory since the season resumed.
Frenchman Alaphilippe left his sprinting line in a group of five, hampering Swiss Marc Hirschi in the process, and with victory in sight, stopped pedalling to celebrate. But Roglic, who lost the Tour’s yellow jersey in the final time trial this month, pursued his effort and crossed the line first.
“It’s unbelievable, it was so close. Never stop believing. It’s a few centimetres, it’s incredible that I managed to win,” said Roglic. “In the end I managed to win something, no?.
Alaphilippe was later demoted to fifth place – the last spot in the leading group – for moving out of his line and impeding Hirschi. Hirschi, second at the world championships and winner of the Fleche Wallonne classic on Wednesday, came home third. For his first race with the world champion’s rainbow jersey, Alaphilippe certainly expected a different outcome.
The Frenchman’s expected brutal attack came 500 metres from the top of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, the last climb situated 13km from the line. Hirschi managed to follow, with Tour champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and Roglic joing them further down the road. Another Slovenian, Matej Mohoric, came back in the final straight and launched the sprint that Alaphilippe thought he had won.
In the women’s race Trek-Segafredo’s Deignan launched a solo attack on the Côte de la Redoute as the race moved into the final 30km of the 135km route, building a lead of around a minute.
Australian Grace Brown made Deignan work for victory as she launched a determined counterattack, getting to within nine seconds, but Deignan hung on to add to her recent wins in the GP Plouay and La Course.
“It’s really special,” Deignan said. “We’ve been waiting to win a Classic like this. We were almost there so many times but I just had the perfect team today. This is a Trek-Segafredo win. In this team we’re allowed to race on instinct and not to fear failure. I knew I needed to be over the Redoute ahead of Anna [Van Der Breggen] and Annemiek [Van Vleuten] so I just raced on instinct.”
Deignan took second to Van Der Breggen in the first running of the women’s edition of this famous race in 2017, but it had been won by a Dutch rider in each of the first three years with Van Der Breggen doubling up in 2018 before Van Vleuten’s victory last year.
In the Giro d’Italia Diego Ulissi outsprinted Peter Sagan on the short final climb to win stage two. Filippo Ganna held onto the pink jersey he grabbed by winning the opening time trial in Palermo.