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Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) talks to the press
Sky confident of improvement through the Ardennes
While everyone outside the Omega Pharma-Lotto team bus celebrated Philippe Gilbert's victory at Amstel Gold Race with hugs and big smiles, the mood just a little further down the road at the Team Sky bus was a little more sombre.
With Edvald Boasson Hagen out of action due to injury and Bradley Wiggins unable to make it to the Netherlands due to transport problems, the team had hoped Simon Gerrans and Kjell Carlström could get a result.
Gerrans finished seventh in last year's race but has been fighting to re-find his form after crashing out of the Critérium International last month. He and Carlström both failed to go with the decisive split that formed when Andy Schleck attacked with just over 25 kilometres-to-go.
"I was much better than Wednesday at Brabantse Pijl, but I was not good in the last 30 kilometres. I sort of got popped on the Eyserbosweg, but up until that point I wasn't going too badly. I hope to get better throughout the week," Gerrans said on the Team Sky website.
Senior directeur sportif Scott Sunderland identified one possible reason for Gerrans' difficult day.
"The boys were working for Simon who was right up there with about 25 kilometres to the finish, but when Andy Schleck put the hammer down he just didn't have it. We're not 100 per cent sure what the reason was and we'll take a look at it to try and find the cause," Sunderland said.
"It was about five degrees hotter than it had been which sort of caught everyone by surprise and might have been a factor. But everybody had to cope with that and Philippe Gilbert obviously managed best of all. We're not too disappointed though and I'm very confident the riders will bounce back much stronger first on Wednesday [at Flèche Wallone] and also next Sunday [at Liège-Bastogne-Liège]."
Team Principal Dave Brailsford was at Amstel Gold Race and knew how to take a bad day on the chin.
"We set out with a plan, as we always do. The guys rode to that plan and rode well, but even though it is a little bit disappointing to miss that final split, we will live to fight another day and it's not a problem," he said.
"The guys were in the right place at the right time until the late attacks went, but unfortunately Simon could not go with them today. He is in good shape though and there are a lot of chances ahead to impress."