Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Apr 24, 2016 – Wouter Poels shocked the favorites to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday amidst snow and freezing conditions. The Dutchman beat Swiss Michael Albasini and Rui Costa of Portugal in a sprint finish to become the first Team Sky rider to win a famous ‘Monument’ race.
Poels, 28, followed an attack by Albasini on the last categorized climb of the race with around 2.5km left as a four-man lead group formed including Spaniard Samuel Sanchez.
Pre-race favorite Alejandro Valverde was caught out and alongside Etixx pair Julien Alaphilippe and Dan Martin — the top three from the midweek Fleche Wallonne race — didn’t even make it into the top 10.
Poels, who was hugged by his Sky boss Dave Brailsford after the race, became only the fourth Dutchman to win in Liege, his fifth success this season. “It’s really nice, I’m really happy. I honestly can’t believe that I won today, so I’m really happy,” Poels told Belgian TV after his win.
“The weather was even snowing, it was a really hard day. “I like the last climb, we got away there. It was really hard conditions. “I didn’t feel super any more but everybody was really tired.”
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 6:24:29
2. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre – Merida
4. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:00:04
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:09
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team 0:00:12
7. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team