By Gregor Brown in Ans
Luxembourg's Fränk Schleck left the Ardennes Classics satisfied with his run. The 28 year-old of Team CSC made the key three-man winning move in yesterday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but had no answer to the accelerations of Spain's Alejandro Valverde and Italy's Davide Rebellin, who took first and second.
Schleck matched his third place of 2007 and added to his podium spot in the Amstel Gold, where he was out-duelled by Italy's Damiano Cunego in the last metres. His chances slimmed after the summit of the Côte de Saint-Nicolas at 5.5 kilometres remaining, as he noted that "I saw that I could not drop them on the Saint-Nicolas. So, I decided not to attack into Ans and just wait for the sprint. The problem is that Valverde and Rebellin were just too strong - it was a complicated situation.
"Two podiums in one week, I walk away satisfied," he added, referring to his second place at Amstel Gold one week ago.
"Of course I wanted to win," Schleck stated. "I have to be satisfied with this week. I was second at Amstel. I was there at Flèche [Wallonne] until the cold caught my legs. We made a great race today. My brother [Andy - ed.] and I were animating the race, Andy did a great job for me today. He is a great rider with a big future."
The only blemish was perhaps the pushy behaviour from a local police officer at the finish. Schleck, who just finished third in one of the toughest one-day races, was doing his part by answering questions from journalists, all the while being hampered from behind by the officer. Schleck reacted with a swing of his hand as he turned around.