Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2013 - gallery

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Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2013 – gallery

Garmin-Sharp executed the perfect race plan to propel Dan Martin to victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The Irishman’s team-mate, Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal, attacked on the penultimate climb of the day in what looked a long-range bid for solo glory and held a 20-second advantage going into the Côte de Saint Nicolas.

But the Canadian then became part of a select lead group which formed on the climb, alongside Martin, Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Hesjedal drove the pace on the false flat ahead of the finish in Ans, allowing team leader Martin to save his legs and ensuring the chasing peloton was kept at bay.

And, when Rodriguez attacked as the road rose uphill again one kilometre from the finish, only Martin was able to follow, with the Birmingham-born 26-year-old duly going round the Spaniard to claim the biggest win of his career and complete a textbook Garmin-Sharp one-two in what was a victory for tactical, aggressive racing.

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The final race of the Ardennes Classics saw the peloton tackle 11 climbs

BMC Racing, led here by Brit Steven Cummings, were visible at the front of the peloton throughout, riding in support of world champion Philippe Gilbert

With the early breakaway caught, Alberto Contador attacked on the Côte de Colonster to form an elite breakaway which included Hesjedal, Betancur, Rigoberto Uran (Sky), Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Rui Costa (Movistar)

Hesjedal then jumped from the front of the group, time trialling to the foot of the Cote de Saint Nicolas where he was soon joined by Martin, Betancur, Rodriguez, Scarponi and Valverde

Rodriguez attacked with a kilometre to go and Scarponi was first to react, although the Italian was unable to ride across to the Spaniard

Instead it was Martin who bridged the gap, taking a look over his shoulder before accelerating past Rodriguez

And, with ‘Purito’ unable to respond, Martin had enough time to drink in his victory, rolling across the line arms aloft 

Rodriguez had to be content with the second step on the podium for the second time in his career having previously occupied that spot in 2009

Valverde won the sprint for third ahead of Betancur and Scarponi, while Hesjedal finished eighth, content in the knowledge he had played a vital role in Martin’s victory 

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