Created in 1892, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the oldest of the classic cycling races. It is also one of the hardest and most prestigious.
When they organised the first Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1892, the members of the Liège Cyclist Union and the Pesant Club Liégeois couldn't have imagined that their race would become, almost 125 years later, the oldest cycling race around. In fact, they were already considering replacing it with a Liège-Paris-Liège race. Thankfully, nothing ever came of that project.
Initially only for amateur riders, the first three races were won by Liège local boy Léon Houa. He went on to become the first recognised professional rider in Belgium and his country's first road racing champion. Due to a lack of participants, however, the race would not be held for another 14 years. It wasn't until after the first world championship race that her reputation started to grow. Word spread about her difficult terrain, that crossed the most beautiful summits and valleys and attracted riders in search of panache.
The list of Liège-Bastogne-Liège winners speaks for itself. It is filled with the names of some of the greatest champions in cycling history. The greatest of all time, Eddy Merckx, won the classic Ardennes race five times and he is in illustrious company, following in the footsteps of Ferdi Kübler, Stan Ockers, Rik Van Looy, Jacques Anquetil and leading the way for Bernard Hinault, Sean Kelly, Moreno Argentin (who won 4 times), Paolo Bettini, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov and Philippe Gilbert. It can be of no surprise that these champions also went on to make their mark on the Tour de France.
You must be a complete rider, a strong climber, explosive sprinter and a master tactician to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The race organisation rights were bought in 1990 by ASO, organiser of the Tour de France. A huge boost for the promotion of the Liège region.