1980 Liège–Bastogne–Liège

The 66th running of Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the monument cycling race in Belgium, was held on 20 April 1980. It was won by French rider Bernard Hinault in an average speed of 34.717 km/h. The race was affected by abysmal weather conditions from start to finish.[1] Only 21 of 174 participants finished the race.[2][3]

Race winner Hinault (photographed in 1982)
Race winner Hinault (photographed in 1982)
Race details
Dates20 April 1980
Distance244 km (151.6 mi)
Winning time7h 01' 42"
  Winner  Bernard Hinault (FRA) (Renault-Gitane)
  Second  Hennie Kuiper (NED) (Peugeot)
  Third  Ronny Claes (BEL) (IJsboerke)
← 1979
1981 →


Fifteen teams participated in the race:[citation needed]

Professional cycling teams

Race summaryEdit

The peloton started the race in a raging snow storm. After one hour of racing more than half of all starters had abandoned the race;[4] another hour later some 60 riders, just one-third of the field, were still in the race.[1]

Two riders, Rudy Pevenage and Ludo Peeters, broke away from the shattered peloton and gained a 2'15” lead by the Stockeu climb.[4][5] Bernard Hinault broke clear with Silvano Contini and Henk Lubberding and, after a 20 km chase, the Hinault group caught the leaders on the climb of the Haute Levée. With 80 km (50 mi) to go, Hinault attacked solo on the snow-covered roads and ploughed on to Liège.[4] After seven hours of racing in glacial temperatures, he finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of Hennie Kuiper to claim his second Liège–Bastogne–Liège victory.[6]

Weather conditionsEdit

The edition was exceptionally hard because of the weather conditions: snow fell from the start and temperatures were near freezing point, leading commentators to call it Neige-Bastogne-Neige ("Snow-Bastogne-Snow").[7][8] Many media called it the worst Ardennes weather in the history of Liège–Bastogne–Liège.[4] A feature published by the British magazine Procycling in 2000, described the infamous race:

A cold wind that blew across Belgium brought snow flakes and then a heavy fall within moments of the race starting. [...] Riders struggled on, with hands to faces to keep a view on the road. The race was an anonymous mass of plastic jackets and windcheaters. Spectators stood in goggles like upmarket snowmen, red-faced in the bitterness. Within the hour some teams had barely a man left on the road. They pulled out two dozen at a time, men like Gibi Baronchelli and Giuseppe Saronni, Lucien Van Impe and Jean-René Bernaudeau.[9]

Hinault was one of just 21 riders to finish the race. He suffered frostbite in two fingers of his right hand, taking three weeks for proper movement to return,[9] and causing permanent damage.[1][10]


Final general classification[11]
Rank Rider Team Time
1   Bernard Hinault (FRA) Renault–Gitane 7h 01' 42"
2   Hennie Kuiper (NED) Peugeot–Esso–Michelin + 9' 24"
3   Ronny Claes (BEL) IJsboerke–Warncke Eis s.t.
4   Alfons De Wolf (BEL) Boule d'Or–Studio Casa + 10' 34"
5   Pierre Bazzo (FRA) La Redoute–Motobécane s.t.
6   Ludo Peeters (BEL) IJsboerke–Warncke Eis s.t.
7   Herman Van Springel (BEL) Safir–Ludo + 12' 05"
8   Guido Van Calster (BEL) Splendor–Admiral + 12' 35"
9   Johan van der Velde (NED) TI–Raleigh–Creda s.t.
10   Eddy Schepers (BEL) DAF Trucks–Lejeune s.t.


  1. ^ a b c "ROAD_THEORY" (13 September 2013). "Crushing Victories – Bernard Hinault at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 1980". ROAD THEORY. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021.
  2. ^ Deneits, Stéphane (27 April 2014). "L'expédition d'Hinault". vélochrono.fr (in French). Archived from the original on 26 March 2016.
  3. ^ Warwick, Matt (20 April 2022). "'A cruel painfest' - cycling's oldest & toughest classic turns 130". BBC Sport.
  4. ^ a b c d Boyce, Barry. "Top 20 All Time Major Classics #5. Liege-Bastogne-Liege 1980: Hinault, Snow, and Pain". cyclingrevealed.com. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Une édition de légende". cyclo-ardennaise.net (in French). Archived from the original on 29 April 2009.
  6. ^ "wiscot" (19 April 2013). "Bernard Hinault's 1980 Liege-Bastogne-Liege". Velominati.
  7. ^ "Bernard Hinault and his epic 1980 win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege". The Bike Comes First. 25 April 2015.
  8. ^ Liège Bastogne Liège 1980 - Bernard Hinault vainqueur sous la neige (video) (in French). Retrieved 28 January 2021 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ a b "Bernard Hinault at 1980 Liege-Bastogne-Liege". Procycling. United Kingdom: Immediate Media Company. May 2000.
  10. ^ Warwick, Matt (20 April 2022). "Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Cycling's oldest spring classic celebrates 130 years of torture". BBC News.
  11. ^ "1980 Liège-Bastogne-Liège". BikeRaceInfo. McGann Publishing. Retrieved 20 March 2019.

External linksEdit