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"Katusha did a very aggressive race. I was really on the limit the last 10 or 15 kilometers. Because of this, I was not in the best position at the bottom of the last climb," Gilbert says

Photo: Sirotti




23.04.2014 @ 19:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After his dominant Amstel Gold Race victory, Philippe Gilbert was one of the big favourites for today's Fleche Wallonne but the former world champion didn't have the legs he had three days ago. Being already on the limit in the run-in to the Mur de Huy, he was badly positioned and so unable to compete with the best on the steep slopes.


Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team finished 10th Wednesday at La Flèche Wallonne as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) won for the second time and continued a three-year streak of Spanish winners of the Belgian classic. 

Departing from Bastogne, the 199-kilometer race included three trips up the the Mur de Huy, a 1,300-meter climb that also doubles as the finish and features an average grade of 9.3 percent.

Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) and Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) slipped the peloton after 20 km and enjoyed a maximum lead of 8:45. The BMC Racing Team assisted with the chase, which ended when the last of the trio – Navardauskas and Van Hecke – were caught with 12 km to go.

Jérémy Roy ( attacked with seven kilometers left but was chased down by the Katusha Team and AG2R La Mondiale squads.

Valverde made his winning move with an attack in the final 200 meters and had time to celebrate ahead of runner-up Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and third-placed Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step.) Gilbert arrived 15 seconds after Valverde.

"It was a fast race from the start, with a tailwind," he said. "The team controlled the breakaways. The final was really fast. Katusha did a very aggressive race. I was really on the limit the last 10 or 15 kilometers.


"Because of this, I was not in the best position at the bottom of the last climb. I was thinking to get the points, I had to be top 10. So I had to fight very hard. At the end of the season, every point can be important. That is why I was giving my best.

“It was very fast and very tough, with lots of attacks and action and you had to be well placed. I wasn’t very well placed and that was a mistake and you pay a high price for that here.
It was very hard to make up the positions. I was hoping they’d started the climb too fast. I accelerated near the top and I passed five or six riders, but no more than that.”

"We controlled the three riders in the breakaway and had other teams help us," sports director Valerio Piva said. "So the race was in a good direction until the final. There was a crash at three kilometers and the group was a bit split.


"Philippe did not have the legs from Sunday and was not in a good position at the beginning of the Mur. The team did a good job and Philippe did the best he could do."



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