Philippe Gilbert finished fifth at the Brabantse Pijl race and so failed to end Omega Pharma-Lotto's long spell without a win but he shrugged off the problem, insisting he was satisfied that his form is good and he is ready for Sunday's Amstel Gold Race.
Sebastien Rosseler (RadioShack) won the race after the early break of the day stayed away on the tough finishing circuit around Overijse that included four climbs on each of the five 12.7km laps. Gilbert finished 43 seconds behind but looked strong when he attacked and tried to drag a group across the gap to the early breakaway.
"I wanted to win today, otherwise I'd have stayed at home. But I went flat out, I felt good and I tested my form," he said.
"This was a ideal warm up for Amstel because there were a lot of sharp corners, some technical climbs and descents, and a very nervous style of racing that is just like it'll be on Sunday."
"When they got away I knew it'd be difficult to get them back because there were some strong riders in the move. If it was just a minute or two then maybe we would have got them back but they got eight minutes thanks to the tailwind in the first part of the race."
"My teammates worked hard to chase but the gap didn't come down, so I decided to have a go and spark a reaction, create a chase group. I went and (Thomas) Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) and (Bjorn) Leukemans (Vacansoleil) came with me. We worked well together but (Paul) Martens (Rabobank) stayed on the wheel but that's normal, he had his team leader Freire behind. That's cycling."
"There wasn't much chance of us catching them but I went flat out, so it was a quality four and half hours on the bike at race speed. This is ideal for Sunday."
Gilbert will head to the Limburg region of southern Holland on Friday to carefully study the route of the Amstel Gold Race.
"There's been a few changes and so I want to check them out and study the climb of the Cauberg, so that I'm ready for the finish," he said, clearly hoping that he can end Omega Pharma-Lotto's winless streak at Amstel Gold Race.