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"Roman took his chances in the finale and was extremely keen on creating the gap with just a handful of riders and avoid the expected sprint with the fast riders. But it was a rather big group of riders hitting the foot of the uphill f...

Photo: Sirotti




28.04.2014 @ 11:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) showed off his excellent condition in yesterday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Despite going down in an easrly crash, he animated the finale to try to prevent his feared scenario of a sprint and still had the power to take 7th when it all came down to a final dash to the line.


The final and 261.8 kilometer long spring classic in this year’s campaign was also the oldest and in perfect weather, the peloton took on the 100th edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Tinkoff-Saxo’s chosen one was Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers was finally back to support him alongside Karsten Kroon, Bruno Pires, Chris Anker Sørensen, the double U23 winner of the race - Michael Valgren, Rory Sutherland and Edward Beltran.
Six riders, Pirmin Lang (IAM), Michael Koch (Cannondale), Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Matteo Bono (Lampre), Pieter Jacobs (Topsports Vlaanderen) and Marco Minnard (Wanty) formed the morning break. Behind, the peloton was in constant chaos counting crashes, deep attacks and intense pressure, which slowly and surely wore out the riders.
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Rogers delivered a stunning comeback supporting his captain throughout the race and he was there to guide his captain back after Kreuziger crashed. With 60 kilometers to go, Rogers, Rory Sutherland and Chris Anker Sørensen went to the front of the pack committing themselves to gaining control of the bunch while narrowing down the gap to the front group. 15 kilometers later, Omega-Pharma Quick Step joined them while the front group exploded on Cote de La Redoute – a 2.3 kilometer long climb with an average gradient of 7.4 %.
It was however Cote des Forges that really spit the most riders out the back of the peloton and meanwhile, the favorites started to gather in the front of the pack. The last standing escapee, Matteo Bono (Lampre) did a heroic effort in the front of the race but with 21 kilometers to go, he paid the price for being out there throughout the day.
A hailstorm of counter-attacks hit the road hard and Roman Kreuziger was very active in the prominent chase group with Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) but they were denied by a speeding pack and everything was back together entering the final 10 kilometers.
Hitting the foot of the final climb before the finale, Cote de Saint-Nicolas, Stefan Denifl Mathias Frank (IAM) just floated away from the group while Samuel Sanchez (BMC) controlled the pace of the pack setting things up for Gilbert. But a sudden attack by Domonico Pozzovivo (Ag2R) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) completely turned the race upside down and the duo continued in furious pace under the flame rouge.
On the uphill finish Roman Kreuziger stayed behind Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) but unfortunately, Martin crashed in the final corner before the finish line where Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) had more fuel in the tank than the rest of the favorites and he took the win.

“Liege-Bastogne-Liege is very similar to other classics, chaotic and full of surprises along the way," sports director Philippe Mauduit said. "Naturally, Roman’s crash had an influence on our performance but I think he and the boys did what they could to bring home a good result.


"Roman took his chances in the finale and was extremely keen on creating the gap with just a handful of riders and avoid the expected sprint with the fast riders. But it was a rather big group of riders hitting the foot of the uphill finish.


"Settling with 7th is not what we came here for but under the circumstances, I think we delivered a solid performance."



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