An Early Edition of Europe’s Classic Cycling Races is Held in Belgium  

May 28, 1893

A year after the Belgium-based cycling race known as Liège-Bastogne-Liège made its debut, the second edition of that one-day competition took place. The 1893 race covered a total of 155.3 miles (250 kilometers), with the course running from the city of Liège to the municipality of Bastogne and then back to Liège in eastern Belgium. There were 26 cyclists at the start of the race; only 17 of them completed it. The average speed for the participating cyclists was 14.5 miles (23.3 kilometers) per hour.

The winner of the 1893 edition was 25-year-old Liège native Léon Houa (pictured above), who completed the race in 10 hours and 42 minutes. His closest competitor, Michael Borisowski, finished the race a half-hour later.

Houa had likewise won the race’s inaugural edition, which was held on May 29 of the previous year. For that competition, he bested 16 other cyclists (out of a total of 33 starters) by completing the course in 10 hours, 48 minutes, and 36 seconds. While both the 1892 and 1893 editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège were amateur competitions, the race in 1894 was the first professional version of this cycling event. The 1894 edition took place on August 26 of that year, and it was Houa’s third and final win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He completed that 1894 race in 8 hours, 52 minutes, and 5 seconds, finishing ahead of 13 other cyclists who also pedaled along the entire course. (There had been a total of 42 cyclists at the start of the race.)

Léon Houa competing in the 1892 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège

After those first three editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège were held, it would be nearly a decade-and-a-half before the next race of that event was organized. That next edition took place in 1908, and its winner was French cyclist André Trousellier; he finished the race in 8 hours, 12 minutes, and 9 seconds.

In the time since then, Liège-Bastogne-Liège has continued to grow in popularity and prestige. It is now one of Europe’s five classic one-day cycle races that are collectively called the Monuments. The other races in this group are Paris-Roubaix in France (first run in 1896); Giro di Lombardia in Italy (first run in 1905); Milan-San Remo in Italy (first run in 1907); and Tour of Flanders in Belgium (first run in 1913). As the first of these road cycling “monuments” to be established, Liège-Bastogne-Liège has earned the nickname La Doyenne (the French phrase for “The Old Lady”).

For more information on the history of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, please check out  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li%C3%A8ge%E2%80%93Bastogne%E2%80%93Li%C3%A8ge

Additional information on the 1893 edition of this cycling event is available at  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1893_Li%C3%A8ge%E2%80%93Bastogne%E2%80%93Li%C3%A8ge

 

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