Liège-Bastogne-Liège Statistics: The Oldest Classic Visualized (2021)

Liege-Bastogne-Liege Statistics © A.S.O. / Aurelien Vialatte

Liège-Bastogne-Liège, also called La Doyenne, is the oldest cycling classic. Its first edition took place in 1892.

However, due to the long break between 1895-1907 and few other shorter breaks, this race took place fewer times than the other Monuments (except the Tour of Flanders).

This doesn’t change the fact that we get interesting insights into this race when we visualize the data such as distance, finishing times, average speeds, etc.

Are you curious about what do we find out? Let me show you the most interesting Liège-Bastogne-Liège statistics.

Abbreviations used: LBL – Liège-Bastogne-Liège, BMI – Body Mass Index

I used publicly available data from bikeraceinfo.com, wikipedia.org, procyclingstats.com, and the official Liège-Bastogne-Liège website liege-bastogne-liege.be as data sources.

Please, also keep in mind the following:

  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège did not take place between 1895-1907, in 1910, between 1914-1918 and 1940-1942, and in 1944.
  • The actual rider’s racing weight could vary.
  • The heights and weight data are not available for all riders (especially for winners before 1953).

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Distance, Time, and Average Speed

Let’s start with the basics.

Distance

The Liège-Bastogne-Liège’s length is consistent in the past 50 years or so. It fluctuates around 258 km. The first 50 editions ranged from 205 to 250 km.

The average Liège-Bastogne-Liège is 244.1 km long. The average LBL distance was 222.9 km between 1920 and 1939, 246.5 km between 1950 and 1969, and 258.6 km between 2000 and 2019.

The longest Liège-Bastogne-Liège was 268.5 km long. It took place in 1994, and it was won by Russian cyclist Evgeni Berzin.

The shortest Liège-Bastogne-Liège was only 205 km long. It took place in 1946, and it was won by Belgian cyclist Prosper Depredomme.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Distance
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Distance

Winning Time

The following chart shows the winning time vs. the distance. Winning times dropped significantly after the ’40s. In the past 20 years or so, it fluctuates around 6h 30′.

The average winning time of all Liège-Bastogne-Liège editions is 6h 58′ 17″.

The fastest Liège-Bastogne-Liège winning time was 5h 39′ 00″. This LBL took place in 1939 and was won by Albert Ritserveldt. He averaged 37.35 km/h.

The slowest Liège-Bastogne-Liège winning time was 10h 48′ 36″. This LBL took place in 1892 and was won by Léon Houa. He averaged 23.13 km/h.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Winning Time vs. Distance
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Winning Time vs. Distance

Between 1892 and 1939, there was a steep downwards trend in the winning time. From 1950 to the present, the winning time fluctuates around 6h 40′ although the overall distance increased.

Average Speed

The average speed of all Liège-Bastogne-Liège editions is 35.46 km/h. The average speed increased from 31.78 km/h between 1920 and 1939 to 35.86 km/h between 1950 and 1969. The average speed between 2000 and 2019 was 39.69 km/h.

The fastest Liège-Bastogne-Liège took place in 2006. The average speed of the winner, Alejandro Valverde, was 41.21 km/h. He finished the 262km route in 6h 21′ 32″.

The slowest Liège-Bastogne-Liège took place in 1892. It was the first edition and the average speed of the winner, Léon Houa, was 23.13 km/h. He finished the 250km route in 10h 48′ 36″.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Distance and Average Speed
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Distance and Average Speed

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Liège-Bastogne-Liège Height, Weight, and BMI of the Winners

Liège-Bastogne-Liège winners are getting taller and lighter. Their BMI declines significantly…

Let’s now shift our focus to winners. How their height, weight, and BMI developed over time? These insights are the most unique and the most interesting.

NOTE: The heights and weight data are unavailable for all riders (especially winners before 1953).

Height of the Winners

The average height of a Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner is 1.76 m.

The tallest Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner ever was Bob Jungels (LBL 2018). He is 1.89 m tall.

The shortest Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner ever was Stan Ockers (LBL 1955). He was 1.65 m tall.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Winner Height
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Winner Height

Weight of the Winners

The average weight of a Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner is 67 kg.

The heaviest Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner was Sean Kelly. He won the 1984 and 1989 LBL, weighing 77 kg.

The lightest Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner was Paolo Bettini. He won the 2000 and 2002 LBL, weighing just 58 kg.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Winner Weight
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Winner Weight

BMI of the Winners

The BMI chart and trend is the most interesting part of this article, in my opinion. As a reminder, here is an explanation of BMI:

NOTE: BMI (Body Mass Index) uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy. (Source)

You can interpret the BMI values using the following key:

  • Below 18.5 – underweight,
  • 18.5-24.9 – normal,
  • 25.0-29.9 – overweight,
  • 30.0 and above – obese.

So, what do we find out when we take a look at riders’ BMI?

Liège-Bastogne-Liège winners have an average BMI of 21.64. This means they have a standard, healthy weight.

The Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner with the highest BMI was Eloi Meulenberg. He won the 1937 Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a BMI of 25.26 (1.70 m, 73 kg). He was slightly overweight.

The Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner with the lowest BMI was Dan Martin. He won the 2013 Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a BMI of 19.27 (1.75 m, 59 kg).

The BMI trend declines rapidly. LBL winners are getting taller on average, but they are getting lighter.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Winner BMI
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Winner BMI

Compare yourself with pro riders. Calculate your BMI using the calculator below.

BMI CALCULATOR

System:

Weight: kg

Height: cm




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Liège-Bastogne-Liège Victories

The rider with the most Liège-Bastogne-Liège wins (5) is Eddy Merckx, followed by Moreno Argentin and Alejandro Valverde with (4), and Fred de Bruyne, Alfons Schepers, and Léon Houa (3).

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Riders with the Most Victories
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Riders with the Most Victories

It’s no surprise that the most successful Liège-Bastogne-Liège country is Belgium (59) because LBL is a Belgian classic.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Countries with the Most Victories
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Countries with the Most Victories

Belgium has almost 5 times as many wins as 2nd Italy and ten times more than 3rd Switzerland.


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Summary

These are my favorite Liège-Bastogne-Liège stats:

  • The average Liège-Bastogne-Liège is 244.1 km long. The average LBL distance was 222.9 km between 1920 and 1939, 246.5 km between 1950 and 1969, and 258.6 km between 2000 and 2019.
  • The fastest Liège-Bastogne-Liège took place in 2006. The average speed of the winner, Alejandro Valverde, was 41.21 km/h. He finished the 262km route in 6h 21′ 32″.
  • The average height of a Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner is 1.76 m.
  • The Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner with the highest BMI was Eloi Meulenberg. He won the 1937 Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a BMI of 25.26 (1.70 m, 73 kg). He was slightly overweight.
  • Belgium has almost 5 times as many wins as 2nd Italy and ten times more than 3rd Switzerland.

What are your thoughts on the Liège-Bastogne-Liège statistics? What stats do you find the most mind-blowing?

Don’t forget to also check out the statistics of other Monuments:

  1. Milan–San Remo
  2. Tour of Flanders
  3. Paris–Roubaix
  4. Giro di Lombardia

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Statistics FAQ


Sources

bikeraceinfo.com
wikipedia.org
procyclingstats.com
liege-bastogne-liege.be
Preview picture: © A.S.O. / Aurelien VIALATTE (cropped)

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