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Michael Valgren won the under-23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Saturday, and Americans Ian Boswell and Joshua Berry landed on the podium in second and third.
Valgren (Glud & Marstrand-LRO) finished 15 seconds ahead of Boswell (Bontrager-Livestrong), who stormed onto the U.S. scene at the Tour of Utah and Nevada City Classic in 2010. Riding with the U.S. National Team, Chipotle-First Solar’s Berry finished 52 seconds adrift.
“The weather was rough, but I feel that it played to my advantage,” said Berry. “I knew a lot of people weren’t going to take a lot of risks. I had a great opportunity being here, so I took a quite a bit of risk.”
Berry attacked on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas under horrendous conditions late in the race, but Boswell responded, setting out alone. Boswell nearly caught the lone Danish leader on the road, but settled for second. It was the best finish for an American in the race’s 27-year history. In fact, Boswell and Berry are the first Americans to find the podium in the espoirs’ version of the Ardennes classic.
American Larry Warbasse was fifth in 2011 and was with the Berry/Boswell group late in the race, but suffered an ill-timed mechanical and faded out of contention.
“It’s awesome to see,” said Boswell. “It shows that American cycling has come a long way thanks to development teams like Chipotle, Bontrager-Livestrong and USA Cycling. It’s really helped the sport and helped American cycling.”