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85th Liege-Bastogne-Liege 1999 (Belgium)

 
   
 
By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian
 

A Vandenbroucke Gem

The Ardennes spring weather can be harsh. This year is no exception with temperature dropping to a wintery -0- degrees Celsius (32 degrees F). Defending champion and winner of Fleche Wallone Michele Bartoli was a heavy favorite to win his third straight Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1999.

After early breakaways were caught the real racing began with 86 kms to the finish. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) and Stefano Garzelli (Ita) attacked and quickly gained a 28” lead.  In Stavelot a large crash in the peloton, which included Gabriele Colombo and Abraham Olano, disrupted the chase and extended the breakaway’s lead.

With the peloton closing quickly on the Côte du Rosier Jalabert increased the pace and Garzelli couldn't hold the wheel and was dropped on the climb. Over the top of the Rosier the now solo Jalabert had a 1’01” lead on the peloton with 70 kms to go. 

Three Mapei-Quick Step riders were on the front of the chase and Jalabert's attack was caught. The peloton turned left and started the classic climb of the Cote de la Redoute.

24 year old Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke attacked and escaped the peloton on the climb. Bartoli sprinted with VDB but couldn't hold his wheel. An inspired VDB leads by 11” on a small group with riders including Michele Bartoli, Maarten Den Bakker, and Oscar Camenzind. A re-grouping of 16 riders occurred when Vandenbroucke was caught. These 16 were still together as they approach the Côte de Saint-Nicolas with 5.5 kms to go. Michael Boogerd attacked and opened a gap with only Vandenbroucke able to bridging the gap on the Dutchman. The two have a small lead when an inspired Vandenbroucke attacked alone.

An 'in-form' Frank Vandenbroucke would not be caught. He rode across the finish line 30 seconds ahead of second placed Michael Boogerd. The victory moved Vandenbroucke into the World Cup lead after 4 races.

Michael Boogerd said after the race: "It's a pity not to win, but Vandenbroucke was super today.”

L-B-L April 18, 1999
264 Km

1. Franck VANDENBROUCKE (Bel) 6h25’36”

2. Michael Boogerd (Ned) +30”

3. Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) +41”

Starters: 191
Finishers: 71
Average Speed: 41.079 km/h

L-B-L 1998

L-B-L 2000

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