Amstel Gold / Fleche Wallone /Liege-Baston-Liege
Firstly sorry for the delay in my last report. To be honest, it has been quite a busy and hectic block of racing for me.
This was the first season that I raced the Ardennes classics and I think I have fallen in the love with all 3 of the races. Even though they are really demanding on the body, you actually want to push your body passed its limits and give that little bit extra. The amount of hype around these events and the fans who stand and cheers make it really worthwhile.
I started off with Amstel Gold (256km) and it went reasonably well. Although I really “blew up” 25km to go I gave it everything I had for our team leader Simon Gerrans who had a good ride by finishing with the front group. Unfortunately, Gasparatto was too strong on the day and I finished a couple minutes down absolutely shattered.
The thing with the classics is they are more stressful than any normal one day race, the roads are really narrow and the weather is often bad. Amstel was like being in an arcade game, so many left and rights, roundabouts, road furniture and 200+ riders made it pretty hectic.
Next up was Fleche Wallone and the plan was to help Michael Albasini which we did as he ended up 2nd in the race. He had an incredible day and we as a team rode well. I was not having my best day as I got sick before so got told to save my legs for Liege Baston Liege and recover in time.
In Liege Baston Liege (260km) I had a great day and I felt like I had got rid of my sickness. The main guy was Simon Gerrans again and the team gave him as much support as possible. At the 225km mark ( La Redoute) is where the race really starts for the main guys and my job was to lead out Simon Clarke and Simon Gerrans to the bottom of the climb in the first positions, once I had done that I really exploded and rode in to the finish with a small group a few minutes back again. Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted but we certainly gave it our all. Simon has had a great season so far and still rode incredible to finish where he did.
It was my first classics campaign but they are definitely races I would like to do again. After the race we travelled by bus to Switzerland to take part in the Tour of Romandie 2 days later.