Liege - Julian Alaphilippe's hot form suggests he can thwart Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde's bid for a record-equalling fifth Liege-Bastogne-Liege crown at cycling's oldest, and some say, toughest Monument on Sunday.
There is a world class field for the 104th edition of this relentlessly challenging test of stamina with its 258km of narrow, winding roads known as "The Old Lady".
Movistar's Valverde, winner in 2006, 2008, 2015 and 2017, would appear to have the teammates, the deep well of experience and indeed the stamina to clinch one more victory and equal Eddy Merckx's record of five wins.
The Spaniard, who is 38 next Wednesday but says he will race until the Tokyo Olympics of 2020, dug deep at the Fleche Wallone in midweek in a desperate bid to haul back Quick Step's Alaphilippe.
Valverde won this event last year, latching on to a Dan Martin breakaway and outsprinting the remaining challengers.
When Alaphilippe won by a wheel at the Fleche Wallonne he dispelled the feeling that he had been falling short of expectations.
Dylan Teuns will lead the BMC Team who are mourning the loss of their owner, Swiss magnate Andy Rihs, who died this week aged 75 and for whom a minute's silence is expected to be held Sunday.
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