Spanish superstar claims fourth victory in 'La Doyenne', his ninth in the Ardennes; increases amazing season tally to 11 to crown excellent work from Movistar Team, of honour the late Michele Scaroni.

The first part of Alejandro Valverde's outstanding 2017 season has come to an end in the best possible way, as he claimed his eleventh win of the year -108th of his 15-season professional- career at the 103rd edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a perfect, early present for his 37th birthday next Tuesday.
Valverde added another landmark success to his impressive palmarès by conquering 'La Doyenne', one of cycling's five Monuments of the classics calendar, for the fourth time. The marvel from Murcia's victory makes him the most successful rider ever (9) in the Ardennes duo (Flèche + Liège), and puts him just one win down on Eddy Merckx at the hills trio, also considering Amstel Gold Race. Valverde also becomes the first rider in history to win both in Huy and Ans three times in the same year.

The impressive action from the Movistar Team leader -the Blues have already got to 20 victories this year, their best-ever start to a season- came at the decisive slope of Ans, where Valverde jumped away from the group of favourites with less than 500 meters to go. 'Bala' caught Daniel Martin (QST), who had launched his own acceleration seconds before, and sprinted to the top of the podium, shared with the Irishman and third-place finisher Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY). Before that decisive moment, the Movistar Team worked to perfection all over the 258km course in Wallonia, Belgium. A dangerous eight-man break, whose last survivor Stéphane Rossetto (COF) was caught only at the foot of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, 6km from the finish, forced Erviti, Herrada, Soler and Sutherland to work hard from early in the race.

At the decisive climbs of Roche-aux-Faucons and Saint-Nicolas, Betancur continued to follow the moves he had been keeping hold of earlier, while Rojas and Dani Moreno controlled the race sensationally well, even after the last ascent, to set their leader up in perfect position to continue writing history. Winning Liège for the fourth time -one short of Eddy Merckx, equal now to Moreno Argentin- rounds off a glorious spring campaign for 'Bala', who will now enjoy some rest before starting his build-up for the Tour de France, the next goal of his season.