95th Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Team Reactions & Photos
Team & Rider comments after the final Spring Classic - Saxo Bank, Caisse
d'Epargne, Cervélo TestTeam, Lampre/NGC,
Milram and Garmin/Slipstream
Superb Victory for Andy Schleck And Team Saxo Bank
With an irresistible attack 20 kilometres from the finish line Team Saxo Bank
rider Andy Schleck took a monumental solo victory in the last of the big
classics, Liege-Bastogne-Liège. Before then, the team controlled the big Belgian
race in an impressive fashion and the Luxembourg hope for the Tour got the work
done without any consideration on the penultimate climb where no one could
follow the 24-year-old winner.
Andy Schleck on the podium. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
With Andy Schleck's victory Team Saxo Bank sealed the classic season in the
best way possible.
"It is a dream that comes true for me with a victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liège.
It has always been the biggest one-day race to me and it is difficult for me to
put into words how much this means to me to be at the top of the podium in such
a huge event. I could never have succeeded without a team and I am sincerely
grateful to them for having believed in me and to be completely superior on the
"After my second place in the Fleche Wallone I was actually a little
disappointed, but I used that feeling as a motivation to go all the way today.
My chance was to stake everything on one throw and try to get to the finish line
alone and it was an indescribable feeling to cross the line that way. Now I have
proved that I can win one of the world's biggest races, and it gives me an
enormous confidence in relation to the next major goal: The Tour de France",
said a happy Andy Schleck after the victory.
Family Schleck: Mum, Andy, Dad Johnny and Frank. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
"It was all we wished for. We created the course, and Andy won a beautiful
and hugely well-deserved victory. We have deliberately put pressure on ourselves
today and with the team we knew it was up to us to create the race, making it
hard and play the perfect card for last. Andy was untouchable when he made his
move and behind him the whole team closed the race by controlling every attack.
Tactically every move formed a synthesis, and the team simply did their job to
perfection. Overall, we have ended the classic season in the best possible way
and no one can possibly question that we can be fully satisfied with the past
month. Now we must focus on keeping our course and I think the victory today
could help lift the whole troupe", said Bjarne Riis.
Joaquím Rodríguez Second
The Catalan rider of the team Caisse d’Epargne, Joaquím Rodríguez,
who finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège after a great race declared in Ans:
Joaquím Rodríguez finishes second Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
“I had a very good day in this race which suits me very well. Today I believe
there was nothing we could do to defeat Andy Schleck who was really the
strongest rider and we have to congratulate him for what he achieved here. As
for me, this second place looks like a victory. It is very important for me
because I have been trying for several years. To climb on the podium; it is a
reward for all the work I did on these roads the previous years and also the
confirmation that I am able to win here someday. Now I will try to take
advantage of my excellent form in the Giro d’Italia which is another race I
really like and motivates me a lot.”
“Alejandro Valverde will start in the Tour of
Alejandro Valverde, who was the nineteenth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, commented
after the race,
“I would have liked to have won again in Ans but in spite of the fact
that I was feeling well and that I finished one more time with the first group,
I need to train more to be ok on longer distances. It is true that being here,
racing on those roads that I like so much, I hoped I would able to win one of
the three classics but I can't forget that I changed my preparation to start the
Tour France in the best possible condition which means That I had to sacrifice
the classics and as a consequence I believe I have to accept the results I got
in the Netherlands and in Belgium.”
“During the week, between the Flèche Walloon and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, I
decided to slightly change my preparation program for the Tour de France.
Instead of taking part in the Tour of Catalunya, I will start, on next Tuesday
in the Tour of Romandy to take advantage of my current shape that is going
better and better every day. The Swiss race is a beautiful event and each time I
took part in it I got good results. This change will give me the opportunity to
take some more rest in the month of May and train in a more gradual way before
going to the Dauphiné where I will finish my preparation for the Tour de
Davide Rebellin, 38 years old, what a week! A win in the Fleche Wallone and the
podium in Liege. Also an interesting ending for the Spring classics with a
veteran proving being over 37 he stills has the legs to win, and on the other
hand a bright new star in Andy Schleck took his first classic win to add to his
growing palmares... a symbolic changing of the guard, with both the young and
older generation in the same photo frame. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Gerrans Sixth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) was able to execute a solo attack with 20 km remaining
to win today's Liège-Bastogne-Liège handily over Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse
d'Epargne) and Davide Rebellin (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni
Giocattoli). Simon Gerrans provided yet another top ten finish coming in 6th
"Another strong day from our team," said Jens Zemke,
Sport Director, Cervélo TestTeam. "We tried to put one of our riders into an
early breakaway. It took a long time but after 57 km we attacked with Marcel
Wyss. His performance today was extremely strong for such a young guy and he
finished second in the mountain competition, close to the winner Cyril Gautier."
Marcel Wyss leads the break.
Photo © 2009 Yoni Peeters
"Well, the problem was it was a really late breakaway and the peloton wasn't
happy about it and was chasing it down," said Marcel
Wyss who was in the early breakaway. "We had a gap of maybe 14
minutes riding as fast as we could. So after two hours we had a group that was
going with me and after 100 km there were only four riders. I was able to
recover a little bit and then came the first mountain and I tried to capture the
King of Mountain but the other guy was stronger but still it was a huge
experience for me. After being caught, I tried to finish the race which was my
goal. I found a good group and I think I came in fifteen minutes after the
winner. I spoke with Simon and he told me he finished sixth. That was so
fantastic, I am so happy."
"The end was a finale fit for the best Ardennes Classics riders in the
world," Zemke continued. "We had Simon Gerrans, who for the third time this week
was in the top ten rankings. Eighth place in Amstel Gold, seventh in La Flèche
Wallonne and today with a sixth place finish in Liège - Bastogne - Liège. A
really strong performance for Simon and for the team. All of them supported him
and did a really good job and we are very proud of them. It shows that we have a
good team for the upcoming Tour de Romandie and Giro d'Italia."
"I arrived in the top ten again, so I am pretty happy," a tired
Simon Gerrans said at the finish line. "I had
good legs all day. I sort of made the front split and on the second last climb,
I made the first split there too, then the group came back together. Schleck was
away by himself and he was by far the strongest. Philip, Xavier and Carlos did a
good job to help me today, so it was a good team effort especially for Marcel as
he was riding out front, so I think we should be happy with that. Yea, another
top ten so I am pretty pleased."
With the Liege-Bastogne-Liege today the Belgian travel ends for the Team
The race has settled over the past 30 km with continuous tempted to attack by
many runners. Andy Schleck won with an impressive action, the Luxembourg rider
coming to the finish line with a lead of 1'17" to Joaquim Rodriguez and 1'24 on
Rebellin, who led the group of the best riders.
Cunego came at seventh place and disputed the sprint of the group, these are
his impressions: "I wasn't able to follow Schleck, he was very clever and strong
at the time of his attack with great timing and a great safety."
"Behind him we were in a group with enough assorted teams teams and well
represented, I tried to exploit the work of the other riders being the only one
from our team. In the end when I realized that this was was the race I tried to
escape with Sanchez to battle for second. The epilogue, finally was the sprint,
in which I was a little closed in and didn't manage to climb on the podium,
which would have been a positive result to end my Belgian campaign on. "
Damiano continued by explaining what it expects for him in the coming days: "
Tomorrow I grant one day of rest, then begin a workout program that prepares me
at the start of the Giro d'Italia."
Remarkable performances of the other athletes of Lampre-NGC, good work for
Tiralongo who got into an escape in the km before the move of Schleck, great
work for gregario Manuele Mori who marked the pace for several kilometers and
finally Gasparotto who was close to Damiano, and he tried until the last to
resist despite cramps he had in the final.
Damiano Cunego, Benoît Vaugrenard, Aleksandr Kolobnev and Sammy Sanchez finish
7th throu 11th. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Comment from D.S. Copeland: "I am satisfied with Cunego and all the boys,
today we ran well and always alert in the top positions. Congratulations to
Schleck who really deserved the victory with his action. Some regret for the way
it went in the final group behind the winner, being orphaned by Gasparotto
because of cramps; so we had to wait for the sprint. Despite the presence of
teams represented by several riders who had surrendered and fought for second
Hesjedal nearly cracks top ten in Liège
Team Garmin-Slipstream finished its Spring Classics campaign in a strong fashion
thanks to Ryder Hesjedal, who continued his progression up the results with an
eleventh in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Race report from Ryder Hesjedal
Sunday went perfect! The team did a great job once again repeating the same plan
as Flèche and I was very excited to better that result for support I received
all week. (Thanks guys! That was some hard biking!)
I was feeling better and better each day and I am very pleased to get through
these hard tests with improvement. To get stronger throughout the Ardennes was
my goal and puts me right on track for the racing ahead.
Irish Champion and Garmin rider Dan Martin suffers on the Redoute.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Liège is what bike racing is all about and I couldn’t be more happy with the
result. To close out the Spring Classics with my best ever placing in a monument
like Liège-Bastogne-Liège is very motivating and I can’t wait to get the Giro
started!! Maglia Rosa here we come!!
Caisse d'Epargne, Milram and Vacansoleil lead the chase.
Photo © 2009 Yoni Peeters
The best German on the day wasMilram's Fabian Wegmann, who finished as 29th in
the large chase group.
The race was first marked by a four-man escape group. 50 kilometers after the
start, Cyril Gautier (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Marcel Wyss (Cervelo TestTeam) and
Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) got away and were later joined by Hubert Dupont (AG2R La
Mondiale). At km 214, Milram captain Linus Gerdemann, together with Chris Anker
Sørensen (Saxo Bank) and Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) went in pursuit. On the
famous climb up the Redoute, the main chase group with all the favorites caught
the escapees and introduce the finale of the Doyenne.
Comments from the German ProTour team to the finale of
the Ardennes trilogy:
Fabian Wegmann, German national champion on TeamMilram:
"That was an unusual
finale today. I can't remember ever before seeing such a big group arrive
together at the finish. On the final climb I once more gave everything. After
this difficult race day I was plagued by cramps and just able to make it to the
Linus Gerdemann: "Lüttich-Bastogne-Lüttich
is the most difficult one-day race in the world. That was not easy. We could
help control the race for a long time and I was able to get into an escape
group. I am still not up to 100 percent, performance-wise. But all in all I am
satisfied with how my form is coming. That makes me feel confident for the Tour
Christian Henn, Directeur Sportif of the German
ProTour team: "Our appearance today was not nearly as bad as might
look from the results. We were very actively involved in the race happenings. In
the end there were 50 riders going up the final climb. Things were really
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