Chris Froome and Sergio Henao in Liège-Bastogne-Liège today failed to repeat team Sky’s success in Flèche Wallonne. Despite Henao placing second four days ago, the best he could manage today was 16th.
“If you look at the team we have here, a GC team, guys that aren’t accustomed to the classics,” Froome told Cycling Weekly. “Sergio was obviously our leader after coming second in Flèche. We tried to help him as much as possible, but he didn’t have the legs to go with Rodríguez.”
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Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) shot free with just over one kilometre to race. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) reacted quickly, attacked and rode solo to the win.
Froome placed 36th.
“It was tough, it wasn’t plain sailing for me,” Froome added. “I had a mechanical early on and then a puncture halfway through, which put me a little into the red coming into the last part of the race.”
Knaven replaces Portal
Not helping matters, Servais Knaven had to arrive overnight to replace DS Nicolas Portal. Portal rushed home late Friday evening, when his wife went into labour early. Though good news for Portal, it shook up the team ahead of a tough test.
“Everything has to be perfect, to be 100 per cent to win a race like this,” Knaven explained while the team’s riders prepared to go their separate ways.
“Richie [Porte] attacked on La Redoute but he banged his knee and didn’t feel so good. Lopez attacked there and rode well. In the final six kilometres we had Froomey and Sergio there but, from what I could see they just weren’t good enough to follow the best.”
Froome’s race block
Chris Froome heads to Switzerland tomorrow to defend Bradley Wiggins’ title in the Tour of Romandie, which starts Tuesday. He just came back from training at altitude in Tenerife, so instead of being a major goal, Liège-Bastogne-Liège was simply a start to a race block.
“This was part of a block of racing for Froome. Coming in to do a one-day race and going to Romandie,” Sky’s performance manager, Rod Ellingworth said.
Froome arrived last night at 7pm after enjoying a precious few days at home.
“We wanted to make sure he rested well in this last week and just do enough. He came in without too much stress around it all,” added Ellingworth.
“Having Chris around adds a lot to the group [for Liège-Bastogne-Liège]. Also, it’s a wildcard for us to see what he can do here. He didn’t get a result, which was a shame.”