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Schleck powers away to take Liege classic

  • Story Highlights
  • Luxembourg's Andy Scleck claims the biggest victory of his career in Sunday
  • Saxo Bank rider comes home alone to take the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic
  • Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez defeats Italian Davide Rebellin in sprint for second
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(CNN) -- Luxembourg's Andy Schleck secured the biggest victory of his career by powering clear to win the marathon 261km Liege-Bastogne-Liege, cycling's oldest one-day classic, in Belgium on Sunday.

Andy Schleck celebrates the biggest win of his career with victory on the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.

Andy Schleck celebrates the biggest win of his career with victory on the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.

The 23-year-old Saxo Bank rider, who has been tipped for greatness after his impressive performances in last year's Tour de France where he won the white jersey as leading young rider, came home alone in a time of six hours, 34 minutes and 32 seconds.

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez won a three-man sprint for second place, one minute, 17 seconds behind the winner, while 2004 champion Davide Rebellin secured his fourth Liege podium placing by coming home third.

Veteran Italian Rebellin had come into the race as favorite after his midweek victory in Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne classic, where the 37-year-old had out-sprinted Schleck on the punishing final climb of the cobbled Mur de Huy.

However, Schleck gained his revenge in fine style when attacking the peloton on the Roche aux Faucons climb, 20km from the finish, before eventually catching and passing Belgian Philippe Gilbert -- who had made his break for victory on the earlier Cote de Sprimont, 32km from the finish.

Rodriguez and Rebellin eventually took up the chase to catch Schleck, but they never looked like reducing the deficit and the pair ended up fighting it out for the minor honors with the tiring Gilbert, who finished an unlucky fourth.

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