April 22, 2021
Liege-Bastogne-Liege, coming up this Sunday, April 25, 2021 is one of cycling's five monuments - the most important one day races. As the name implies, it runs from Liege to Bastogne, and back.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege is sometimes called "La Doyenne", which translates roughly as experienced old lady. It's the oldest of the 5 monuments, dating back to the 1890's, thus the name. Amazingly, this race has run for almost 120 years, missing only a few years, primarily due to the impacts of WWI and WWII.
While we're on the topic of war, it's worth noting that the town of Bastogne played a critical role in World War II. Bastogne was the site of a battle between American and German troops as part of the larger "Battle of the Bulge". This winter warfare is documented in the book and mini-series Band of Brothers and is worth watching if you want to learn about the history of the area and the conflict.
Liege is also a historically significant town. It was defended by a series of forts, which Germany laid siege to in both WWI and WWII, smashing with heavy artillery.
For readers in the USA, Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021 is available on the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass subscription service. Do note that the subscription period on this product is about to end (it begins again right at the start of the Tour de France), which you should consider before subscribing. Please see this article for more information about this quirk in NBC's offering.
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