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“Sergio also went down twice but wasn’t badly hurt and did a good job to work his way back into the peloton and then stay with the pre-race favourites all the way to the finish. It was great to see that fighting spirit from him...

Photo: Sirotti

AMSTEL GOLD RACE

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RIGOBERTO URAN

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SERGIO LUIS HENAO

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TEAM SKY

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VASIL KIRYENKA

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15.04.2013 @ 12:09 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Team Sky had all their focus on Sergio Henao in yesterday's Amstel Gold Race. Despite two crashes, the Colombian climber managed to take 6th in a rare encouragement in the British team's classics campaign.

 

Bad luck has marred Team Sky in the classics. One of the team's main riders for the cobbled classics, Geraint Thomas, went down in both the Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix, and the results of the first part of the classics campaign was hugely disappointing for the ambitious team.

 

Yesterday bad luck once again hit the team. Sergio Henao was the sole leader in a very strong line-up but the climber took two tumbles on a nervous day of racing.

 

The first one happened in the early part of the race when both he and teammate Vasil Kiryienka came down. While Henao was mostly unscathed, the Belarussian suffered throughout the rest of the race. He was seen at the back of the peloton for most of the day and he ended up abandoning the event.

 

“It was a long, hard race at over 250km and those crashes were not kind to us,” sports director Nicolas Portal said. “Vasil is experiencing some pain in his knee, and cut his arm in the second crash as well, so our medical team will take a good look at him tonight to assess his injuries. The early indications are that he should be OK for Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday, but we’ll keep a close eye on his condition."

 

Henao went down again later when a major crash in the front end of the peloton brought down the likes of Philippe Gilbert and Thomas Voeckler. Once again the Colombian was lucky to escape major injuries but he faced a long chase to get back in contention.

 

Despite his bad luck, the podium finisher in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco was right in the mix as the main group hit the bottom of the Cauberg climb with 3km to go. He was unable to join Gilbert, Alejandro Valverde and Simon Gerrans but was part of the chase group that formed behind. A strong sprint landed him a 6th place for the best ever Ardennes classics result for the second-year professional.

 

“Sergio also went down twice but wasn’t badly hurt and did a good job to work his way back into the peloton and then stay with the pre-race favourites all the way to the finish," Portal said. "It was great to see that fighting spirit from him today."

 

The team's second option in yesterday's race was Henao's compatriot Rigorberto Uran. However, the Colombian had not raced since the Volta a Catalunya in March and he paid the price for his long absence from competition.

 

“Rigoberto is tired right now because he hasn’t raced for a few weeks, but he was feeling good sensations for most of the day and this was great preparation for the two races to come," Portal said. "Eddy (Edvald Boasson Hagen, ed.), Jonathan (Tiernan-Locke, ed.) and Joe (Joshua Edmondson, ed.) also did a good job for the team and Salvatore (Puccio, ed.) produced a very strong ride. I’m happy with all of them.”

 

The team now turns its attention to the Fleche Wallonne. The steep Mur de Huy is perfectly suited to Henao's characteristics and the Colombian won a stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in a similar finish. There is no doubt that the in-form Colombian is a strong outsider to take the race victory.

 

“Monday will be spent recovering from the efforts of today but we’ll step things up again on Tuesday with a detailed recon of the last 60km of Fleche Wallonne," Portal explained. "We’ll take a good look at the approach to the Mur de Huy and then do the climb a few times as well. That should give us the best possible preparation and we’ll be looking for another strong performance on Wednesday.”

 

Henao was 14th in the Fleche Wallonne last year.

 

On Wednesday, you can follow all the action from the Wallonian classic on CyclingQuotes.com/live. 

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