Albasini 7th in Liege to cap off Ardennes

Sun 23 Apr 2017

Swiss star Michael Albasini has capped off the Ardennes Classics with three top-ten finishes from as many races thanks to a seventh place in today’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege

The result, behind winner Alejandro Valverde, comes after a third place at Amstel Gold Race and fifth place at Fleche Wallonne, and shows good signs for the Tour of Romandie next week. 

“Top ten results in three Ardennes is a really good result but we were aiming for podium so there is still a little bit of disappointment,” Albasini said.

“My job was to follow (Sergio) Henao and Valverde. I followed the Henao move and was on the wheel of Valverde so tactically I did everything that we had to do.

“In the end I missed out in the finish and I couldn’t hold the wheel of Valverde. 

“I paid a little for my effort on Saint-Nicholas. I should have waited, so maybe that wasn’t the best, but again, we were there with three guys in a really strong bunch so it’s a good sign for the team.”

As a unit, ORICA-SCOTT put in a solid performance, trying mid-race to interrupt the flow of Movistar with an attack from former winner Simon Gerrans, before Czech champion Roman Kreuziger antagonised a split in the last 20km. 

Kreuziger continued to work once his group was caught in the final 10km, chasing back a late solo moves to support his teammates in Albasini and Adam Yates who were still in contention.

Then, a late move by Daniel Martin (QST) looked threatening as Valverde launched in pursuit with Albasini behind before the 36-year-old lost the wheel and battled on hard to finish in seventh. 

“We had a really good team effort today and I think we deserved a podium again,” Albasini said.

“The guys did everything right to put me in a good position and I had nothing left in the final. You always want to pay off the great teamwork and certainly seventh place doesn’t pay it off.

“But it shows we are really up there, especially with Adam who is really ready for the Giro.”

How it happened:

An early breakaway of eight riders went away in the first 15km without too much resistance from the peloton. 

With Movistar riding tempo early, and few willing to help them, the breakaway’s advantage increased to a sizeable 13minutes before a reaction came from the bunch.

In the last 100km, Gerrans tried to initiate an attack but was joined by only one rider and they failed to stay away.

As the gap reduced further, there was a strong eight-rider counter with 40km to go but they too were chased down. 

The Krueziger split in the final 20km further threatened the favourites but they chased it down and the race was all-but back together with a reduced bunch with 10km to go.

A number of solo attacks shaped the finale, before Valverde proved too strong across the line.

Liege-Bastoge-Liege - Results

1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 6:24:27
2. Daniel Martin (Quickstep) ST
3. Michal Kwiatowski (Team Sky) +0:03
7. Michael Albasini (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:03