Fortune has not so far favoured the Rabobank team this Ardennes season. The team came up short in last Sunday’s Amstel Gold and Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne proved to be no different. Spaniard Carlos Barredo crashed out and looks questionable for Liège-Bastogne-Liège this Sunday, and team leader Robert Gesink struggled to go with Gilbert on the final ascent of the Muur de Huuy.
Directeur Sportif Frans Maassen was offering no excuses for Gesink’s result.
"We had thought to get Robert close to a podium finish," Maassen said. "But he didn't have good legs today. Robert usually still can create a surprise in the end, but obviously today that wasn't possible."
Maassen was however reasonably happy with the Dutch captain.
"There is no need to panic. Don't forget that he finished 14th after all and he also rode a good race last Sunday."
Gesink did place ninth in Amstel Gold, but will have higher expectations of himself, and will hardly be satisfied with scraping into the top 10.
Rabobank nonetheless are remaining patient and hope for better results in the final Ardennes classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, this Sunday.
"Gesink is still a good racer - a day like today doesn't change that." Maassen adding that it was time to move on.
"We will look towards Liège-Bastogne-Liège now."
One of the only positives to come from Wednesday’s race was the performance of young German Paul Martens, who managed to take 10th. Maassen took encouragement from Martens’ ride but said that it was now time for the senior riders to stand up.