Course for Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge

Written by Frédéric Solvel - 14 Apr 2013, 00:00 (Updated: 12 Jan 2022, 04:25)
Course for Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge
Your adventure begins with a route itinerary that you can peruse until the day of the start at Chênée. Cover all your bases before race day! A long downhill slope towards the edge of the Meuse awaits you right at the start. After 15 kilometers, the real race begins, aka when the course starts to mount…

It’s hardly a secret: the Liege-Bastogne-Liege consists of 11 ranked hills which make for a rise in elevation of 1,900 meters, while the complete course has a total of 4,271 meters of altitude change. Where did the rest of the 2,300 meter go? All along the thigh burning course from Liege to Bastogne. Prudence and good sense will prove to be precious allies for the beginning of this course.

During the first pass through Remouchamps, you get the first look at the climb La Redoute that will challenge you 200 kilometers later… The ups and downs continue until La Roche (km 81), the first classified hill: 2.8 km, 6.2% average grade. 

The meter will be showing a little less than 110 kilometers when you are heading back towards Liege after having gone around the roundabout in Bastogne and taken a short break. At kilometer 127, you will penetrate the Belgian Mecca of mountain biking: Houffalize. The Saint Roche climb will require some effort!

Another stretch of hilly course is in store leading up to Gouvy towards the foot of Wanne. Watch out for the wind that can sometimes be very strong in this area!

Wanne – Stockeu – Haut Levée

After 169 kilometers of pedaling, the finale of la Doyenne presents itself. It all starts with the Wanne – Stockey – Haute Levée trilogy. Pros can start stepping up their pace at Wanne (km 169), but amateurs should probably start to save energy at this point. Stockey (km 178) makes a mark on the cyclist who climbs it for the first time: the average grade is high, the route is narrow but reaching the memorial stone of Eddy Merckx is always a motivation! You will already get a peek at the abbey when you cross Stavelot and the Haute Levée (181): a rather steep start before a long slightly uphill stretch. Once you’re at Francorchamps, the long descent is a chance to speed up. You have to at least put on the brakes a little to get around the sharp turns in the middle of the course.

Make it through Le Rosier

At the food of Rosier, the 160 kilometer pack (one of three distances offered for the Liege-Bastogne-Liege Challenge) makes a strong finish. With the 3 initial bends, the length of 5 kilometers and a woodsy setting, the Rosier looks kind of like an alpine pass… Twists and turns again to cross Andrimont followed by a good pedaling pace will make it so you reach the pit stop without too much energy. 

In the Maquisard (km 207), we do it again: after a slightly steep start, the route goes in big circles across prairies. A climb of 2.5 km with 5% average grade. At the top, you can stop for a photo in front of the plaque “Col du Maquisard.” The Mont Theux (km 213) offers the following outline: two climbs at 10% separated by a long false flat. Once you’re at the top, head to the left. Amateurs can ride in a high gear for this portion known in the region by the nickname the German route. Another descent towards the stronghold of Philippe Gilbert and things get complicated: welcome to the Redoute hill (meaning literally: dread) - km 233.

If the Redoute doesn’t really matter for pros anymore, this hill will surely cause amateur legs some pain with an average grade close to 20%. This year, the Roche aux Faucons was taken off the course, for construction reasons, and replaced by the Colonster hill (km 254). This one seems bearable with a lower percentage, but with tired legs, it will be just as hard. At the top you’ll be in the Sart-Tilman and will start to dream of the end. The slide towards Sclessin announces the last two hills: Saint Nicolas (km 267) and the final climb towards Ans. 

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