Kolobnev finished a close second to Alexandre Vinokourov last year but was only 11th this year, while Rodriguez was further back in 26th place. Kolobnev admitted he missed the decisive attack by the Schlecks on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons.
"I wasn't very focused in the very moment when the Schleck brothers attacked. It was a fatal distraction, which conditioned my race," the Russian national champion admitted in a statement issued by the team.
"I'm sorry because I think I was in a good shape, but for a rider like me, it was important not to lose the best riders' wheel. When I lost them, it was already impossible to close that gap. I'm really sorry, I'm very disappointed with my race because I did everything to be in my best shape for this competition. I hoped to reach a better result, because my shape was good enough to do so."
Like many riders, Rodriguez was affected by the very high pollen count in the Ardennes caused by the hot weather and lack of rain in the last few days.
"For me, it was a bad day. I can't say why, but the fact is that today I felt empty, with no energy. I think I suffered the flower-dust allergy more than I expected," he said.
"It was very hot, and this created a particular weather condition which I suffered a lot. In fact, I couldn't breathe very well. In the end, when I have to change my rhythm, I couldn't because I had no energy. Anyways, congratulations to the riders who did well."
Despite the disappointing end to the Ardennes team manager Andrei Tchmil tried to stay upbeat, focusing on Rodriguez's second places to Gilbert in both the Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne.
"Congratulations to Gilbert, which once again today was extraordinary," he said.
"Unfortunately we didn't achieve a good result but with Joaquim's two second places in Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne, we head home from the Ardennes with satisfactory overall results."
Brothers have no regrets after finishing second and third
Fränk and Andy Schleck were bitterly disappointed to lose to Philippe Gilbert at Liège - Bastogne - Liège, but believed they did everything they could to try and beat him in the finale of one of the toughest editions of the race in years.
The Leopard Trek team worked hard to isolate Gilbert and then Andy lead Fränk as they made a double attack on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons. However, Gilbert was the only rider able to go with them and then made his own attack on the Cote de Saint-Nicolas to stamp his authority on the brothers and show them who was the strongest in the race.
The sprint in Ans was an easily executed formality for Gilbert, and he pulled out several metres on Fränk, who finished second and the more fatigued Andy, who was third.
"I don't think we could have done any thing differently," Fränk conceded in a video interview just after his brother had spoken to camera.
"We attacked together, which we don't normally do. He was unbeatable - the only one who could follow us (on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons) and there was nothing else we could do."
"We have no regrets and that's the most important thing. He just wasn't beatable."
French rider Jérémy Roy has finally found out the reason for his mediocre form during the last few weeks: toxoplasmosis. After having started the season perfectly with a victory at the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, the Française des Jeux sprinter saw his fitness decline for no apparent reason. On Saturday before Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Roy received the test results that confirmed he had contracted the infection.
"The cause of my long -ill-fitness has been found, and its name is toxoplasmosis," the 27-year-old tweeted. He will have to rest for a few weeks in order to recover, but still decided to race in Liège as was planned.
"I finished the Doyenne 13 minutes behind the great Phil [Gilbert - ed.], but I finished," he continued. "Now I'll rest to get better. I'll be back at the Nord Alpes Isère Tour." The French stage race is scheduled from May 12-15.
Leopard Trek move ahead of RadioShack in team ranking
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has moved to the top of the WorldTour rankings at the end of a week that saw him complete the hat-trick of Ardennes Classic victories.
The Belgian’s wins at Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège mean that he enjoys a commanding lead at head of the standings, 120 points clear of his nearest challenger and previous number one Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek).
Elsewhere in the individual standings, last year’s number one Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) moves from 27th to 11th place, although the onset at allergies at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday dented his chances of moving up still further.
While the Schleck brothers failed to make their numbers count against Gilbert in the finale of La Doyenne, their efforts were enough to see their Leopard Trek squad go top of the team rankings, with a 38-point buffer over previous leader RadioShack. Gilbert’s spate of wins has also propelled Omega Pharma-Lotto up five places to third.
The nation standings remain largely unchanged after the Ardennes, with Gilbert’s success further cementing Belgium’s number one ranking ahead of Australia. The Schleck’s efforts move Luxembourg up 16 places, knocking Great Britain into 11th place.
Countries seeking a full complement of 9 riders at the world championships must be in the top 10 of the standings on August 15th.
Rider Name (Country) Team
Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek
Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack
Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack
Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard
Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Movistar Team
Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling
Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team
André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
Daniel Martin (Irl) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek
Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
Grégory Rast (Swi) Team Radioshack
Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling
Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad
Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team
Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad
Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek
Chris Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team
Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack
Tiago Machado (Por) Team Radioshack
Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack
Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Team Radioshack
Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Procycling
Ben Hermans (Bel) Team Radioshack
Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling
Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Allan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana
Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard
Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Pro Team Astana
Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Radioshack
Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
Gatis Smukulis (Lat) HTC-Highroad
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek
Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling
Stuart O'grady (Aus) Leopard Trek
Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Leopard Trek
Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team
Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team
John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD
Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad
Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
Kenny De Haes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
Andrew Talansky (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling
Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Philippe Gilbert’s winning sprint on the Côte de Ans on Sunday brought the curtain down on what has been a spectacular Classics season. From Milan-San Remo through to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the past five weeks have seen some memorable performances, from established stars and break-out talents alike.
Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) held his nerve to take the sprint from a very elite eight-man group at the end of a pulsating edition of Milan-San Remo and that thrilling race would set the tone for the remainder of the Spring.
While Fabian Cancellara’s crushing display the following weekend at the E3 Prijs appeared to be an ominous portent of what was to come, the Swiss rider was not to have it all his own way on the cobbles, as Nick Nuyens and Johan Van Summeren took surprising but thoroughly deserved wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Becker Law Office of Madison, Wisconsin, has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Women's Pro 1/2/3 and Women's Cat 3/4 Series within the 2011 Tour of America's Dairyland presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, June 16-26.
Through the generous support of Becker Law Office's founder Don Becker, the total combined overall payouts for individual racers in the Pro Women 1/2/3 and Cat 3/4 Women race categories will increase to nearly $31,000.
Becker, an overall sponsor of the Tour of America's Dairyland in 2010, said he knew he wanted to commit to sponsoring the women's races after witnessing the women's exhibited dedication and athleticism firsthand at the Giro d'Grafton, a USA CRITS race, in 2010.
"The focus of many cycling races is often on the power of the guys, which is certainly valid. But to see these professional women and mothers out there just pouring it on and holding their own - impressive," said Becker. "I just think they deserve a little more recognition, and Becker Law Office is in a position to give it to them."
In addition to the spike in payouts, daily winners of the Pro Women 1/2/3 and Cat 3/4 Women races will receive the Becker Law Office pink cowprint Leader's Jersey on the podium.
Becker, himself an avid cross-country skier, has an extensive history in sponsoring sporting events ranging from local high school teams and recreation programs to charitable bike tours and cross-country ski races, including the American Birkebeiner.
"These athletes are tremendous role models for our youth. Such enthusiasm and passion should be rewarded," said Becker. "Becker Law Office is proud to be affiliated with Tour of America's Dairyland, and I guarantee it's going to be a fun ride for all the women who race ToAD this year… I may have a surprise or two up my cuff-linked lawyer sleeve."
In all, over $126,000 in cash and mega primes will be awarded to racers of multiple categories during the 2011 Tour of America's Dairyland presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. In its third year, Tour of America's Dairyland will feature a spectator-packed USA CRITS Series race as well as eight other criteriums, one road race, and a non-aero equipment time trial across 11 Wisconsin communities: Shorewood, Thiensville, Grafton, Waukesha, Greenbush, Schlitz Park in Downtown Milwaukee, Ripon, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Downer Avenue on Milwaukee's Eastside, and Madison, the state Capitol.
Overall 2010 Men's and Women's Pro titles went to James Stemper (Kenda 5-hour Energy p/b Geargrinder) and Sarah Caravella (Team Card).
While the Sicilian was unable to go with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Fränk and Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) when they attacked on Roche aux Faucons, he was one of the instigators of a strong chase group that formed on the Côte de Saint-Nicholas.
“Up ahead they had set a high tempo, behind I just followed my own rhythm and never went into the red,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport of his ride up Saint-Nicholas.
However, the chasers were unable to reel in Gilbert and the Schlecks, and Nibali admitted that he subsequently did not have the legs to contest the sprint for fourth place.
“I was expecting to do a little better but I arrived exhausted at the sprint,” he said.
Although overall victory at the Giro d’Italia is Nibali’s primary objective, he explained that he had also been keen to get a result at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. With La Doyenne in mind, Nibali stressed that he was not riding at 100 per cent in the Giro del Trentino during the week.
“I had some hopes for Liège, I really wanted to do well in this race,” he said. “So I tried to get here as fresh as possible. Already in Trentino I knew that I had an important appointment at the weekend and that the team would be counting on me.”
With under two weeks to the start of the Giro d’Italia, Nibali will continue his preparation by reconnoitring some of the stages in the Dolomites and last year’s Vuelta winner is pleased with his progress to date.
“I think my form is one the rise,” he said. “There isn’t long to go to the Giro…”
The Leopard Trek team left Belgium with an unprecedented string of podium places in the classics but will be remembered as the bridesmaid of the spring after failing to land a big win.
In the cobbled classics Fabian Cancellara was by far the strongest rider but the lack of team support in vital moments of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix left him isolated and vulnerable and the other teams made sure he did not win.
The Leopard Trek team was far stronger in the Ardennes and took control of the racing, but could do little to stop Philippe Gilbert securing his historic trilogy of victories in front of his Wallonne cycling fans. The likes of Jens Voigt, Jacob Fuglsang and Maxime Monfort executed a near perfect race strategy at Liege-Bastogne-Liege but Andy And Frank Schleck did not have the punch to put a 'puncheur' like Gilbert on the ropes.
Team manager Brian Nygaard was rightly proud of the consistency of his team across both the cobbled and Ardennes classics but admitted he would happily swap some of the podium places for one big victory.
"I would have liked to have traded some of those podium place in for a victory but if you look at the whole stretch of the Classics, we've been absolutely there in all of them: podium, second, third, in every single Classic. I don't think any team has ever done that," he pointed out.
"Victory would have been nice but if you have to be satisfied with finding yourself with Gilbert in the form of his life and creating history. Maybe not satisfied with the results but it's always a question of if you've done your best. And I'm absolutely convinced we did our best and our results show that."
You tip your hat and say congratulations
Leopard Trek tried to isolate Gilbert in the hope of attacking him on the final climb of the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons. He was out numbered two to one by the Schlecks but proved he was stronger than both of them.
Nygaard was happy to acknowledge that Gilbert totally deserved victory.
"It didn't work out perfectly but when Gilbert is unbeatable, you have to settle or second and third. It's not a problem. You tip your hat and say congratulations. That's all you can do," he said.
He played down the lack of attacks from the Frank and Andy on the gradual climb up to the finish in Ans, conceding his riders did not have anything left to try a worthwhile attack and knew they did not have the speed to beat Gilbert in the sprint.
"I think that it was a question of the legs, I don’t think it was a poor tactical choice. I don’t think they were playing the tactic: 'Lets see if we can beat Gilbert in the sprint'," he said.
"Andy kept it together and tried to keep it together, in case Frank had something left. But it was obvious that the legs were as they were. I don't think even Mario Cipollini would beat Gilbert on that finish line."