• Alejandro Valverde is all smiles as he notches up some pre Liege-Bastogne-Liege kilometres.
Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the last of the classics, is upon us, but it seems many of you are still having some trouble coming to terms with one of the perennial performers of the season.
By
26 Apr 2015 - 8:20 AM 

This year, just like every year since Alejandro Valverde completed his unrepentant detention for dabbling in some of professional cycling’s darker arts, the response from many fans has been the same, “anybody but Valverde”.

But the “Green Bullet” is always there in the mix, hunting for the win, and if not that, crafting another cheeky place on the podium.

The Ardennes week is his favourite playground, and on the eve of “La Doyenne”, Valverde has already recorded a 2nd at the Amstel Gold Race and 1st at Flèche Wallonne.

As he goes deeper into the season Valverde just gets better and better, and tonight he’s up for another shot at a third victory at Liège after wins in 2006 and 2008.

He finished 2nd last year, 3rd the year before that, was DQ’d the year before that for taking a wrong turn and, well, we won’t talk about those earlier redacted results.

You get the picture, if there is a race which suits Valverde, its Liège. So barring accident, you’re going to have to live with seeing the Movistar rider punching it up the Côte de Saint Nicolas as the race approaches the finish in Ans.

Liège comes just as Valverde’s turns 35, so you would think we won’t have him to kick around much longer, but if he continues to race this way, many of you will still be shouting at your TV screens in five years time.

And if it isn’t the past doping indiscretions its his race craft that gets under your skin. “He’s a taker, not a giver!” you shout loudly at 1am as you smash the laptop keys in all caps before publishing your cries of lament to Twitter.

“He contributes nothing. He’s just a wheel sucker!”

“He never said sorry after Puerto!”

“Whyyyyyyyyyyy!”

Sadly Valverde cannot hear you; or as is more likely for the whipping boy of the peloton, he does, and uses it as late stage fuel to launch another trademark attack. That’s right, your Tweets of anger are  actually helping Valverde to another podium place.

So what is the correct viewing strategy for the perennial Valverde hater?

  1. Denial: “Is that Dan Martin?”
  2. Anger: “That’s not Dan Martin!”
  3. Bargaining: “C’mon Dan Martin!”
  4. Depression: “Why can't it be Dan Martin?”
  5. Acceptance: “How nice for Dan Martin.”

So join us for one of the best races of the year. We’re live with Liège from 10:30pm on SBS ONE and streaming online here at the website and I’ll be open for further counselling on Twitter.