The Italian will be making his ninth appearance at the race and is looking to build on his top 30 finish in 2017, while team-mate Dan Martin will be hoping to go one better on his 2017 performance which saw the Irishman finish in second place.
“Liege-Bastogne-Liege is the race that dreams are made of,” Ulissi said.
“I am highly motivated, the team is feeling competitive and we will have several options throughout the race to try and make our sponsors and fans happy.”
Ulissi and Martin will be joined by the same team-mates who have competed in the recent Ardennes Classics: Rui Costa, Matteo Bono, Rory Sutherland, Manuele Mori and Alexandr Riabushenko. Going into the final race of the classics, the team are optimistic following a valiant ride from Bono at the Amstel Gold Race, where the Italian headed the break-away for over 220km.
Both Ulissi and Costa can also take confidence from their rides at Fleche Wallonne, after snatching top-20 spots in a tough race with a gruelling finishing climb up the Mur de Huy. After 198.5kms of racing Costa placed 19th, with Ulissi’s effort earning him 14th, just 25 seconds behind winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).
Liege–Bastogne–Liege, or ‘The Old Lady’ as it is known in the cycling community, is the final race of the Ardennes Classics and the oldest of the five Monuments – the most prestigious one-day cycling races.
UAE Team Emirates duo Diego Ulissi and Rui Costa finished in the top 20 at Fleche Wallone on Wednesday – with overall victory claimed by Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).
The Frenchman beat last year’s winner Alejandro Valverde of Spain into second, with Belgian Jelle Vanendert third.
Alaphilippe – who had never won a one-day classic – put in a blistering spurt on the punishing final Mur de Huy climb to the finish after a gruelling 198.5 kilometres of racing.
Ulissi placed 14th overall at 25 seconds after Alaphilippe, while Costa finished 19th after a stunning ride on the Mur.
Meanwhile, Dan Martin notched 61st, Manuele Mori placed 81st and Aleksandr Riabushenko finished 92nd.
The team will next be racing at the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday – the last race on the spring classics calendar and one of the hardest one-day races.
British rider Mark Cavendish will make his return from injury at next month’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Cavendish has not raced since crashing in the final stages of Milan-San Remo last month when he broke a rib and sustained an ankle injury, forcing him to miss the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The 32-year-old will use the Tour de Yorkshire, from May 3-6, as part of his preparations for the Tour de France, which he will start four stages wins from matching Eddy Merck’s record of 34.
“I’m delighted to have recovered sufficiently from my injuries at Milan-San Remo to be back racing sooner than I initially thought and what better way to do that than at what could be described as a home race for me,” Cavendish told his Team Dimension Data website.
“My mother’s from Harrogate and obviously the last time I raced things didn’t go that great in the 2014 Tour de France (which started in Yorkshire) but one thing I do remember is the incredible crowds and I know that the Tour de Yorkshire always provides.”
Another Dimension Data rider, Serge Pauwels, will return to Yorkshire to defend the title he won in 2017.
“It’s one of my favourite races, not only because I won it last year but because the course suits me and there is always a great ambience from the passionate spectators,” said the Belgian.