Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) won Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday after the Irishman and his Canadian team-mate Ryder Hesjedal played out the perfect tactics in the finale.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) placed second, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third.
Hesjedal had earlier instigated an attack, and for a while looked like he was on for a solo victory, time-trialling his way towards the finish. However, within the final five kilometres, Hesjedal was caught by a chase group containing Martin, Valverde, Rodriguez, Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida).
Despite being chased down, Hesjedal continued to pace the group, setting up the fresher-legged Martin. On the final ascent, Rodriguez put in one of his trademark attacks. Usually, that’s enough for it to be game over but Martin caught and then accelerated away from Rodriguez, who was spent and simply couldn’t respond in the final few hundred metres.
Hesjedal came home in eighth spot, an incredible result given the amount of work he had put in over the previous 20 kilometres. He looks in great shape to defend his Giro d’Italia title in May.
Martin’s monument victory comes on the back of placing fourth in Wednesday’s Fleche Wallonne and winning the Volta a Catalunya in March – arguably the 26-year-old’s strongest season to date.
Britain’s only finisher was Chris Froome (Sky) in 36th, one minute and 14 seconds adrift of winner Martin.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2013, 261.5km
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 6-38-07
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 3 secs
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 9 secs
4. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r La Mondiale
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at same time
6. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana at 18 secs
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
9. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar
10. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at same time
36. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 1-14
DNF Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBr) Sky
DNF Steve Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing
Climbing St Roche
Alberto Contador attacks
Daniel Martin celebrates the win
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