By Anthony Tan & Brecht Decaluwé
German Jörg Jaksche told Cyclingnews at the start of the race he was hopeful of a good performance after being struck by illness earlier in the season. "In Tirreno, I was second [overall], then I was a little bit sick so I didn't race; now, I've started racing again, so I'm at the point of getting back in shape. I hope I'm in shape for this race, but I'm good, I'm content," he said.
"I think together we have a strong team, so we have some possibilities to do well; it's always the race and the legs that decide the classement, so we have to see how everyone feels, how the race is developing and then decide," said Jaksche on the team's chances.
"It's always difficult to predict the race because it's often based on a matter of seconds and the different tactics of the teams. Anything can happen. [The strategy's] mainly just to stay in the front; if you feel good, you have to wait, wait, wait and then attack at the right moment - like in every race!" he smiled.
As it turned out, Liberty Seguros-Würth was one of the best-represented teams in the final kilometres with Jaksche, Kashechkin, Etxebarria and Vinokourov all there, but for one reason or another, none the boys decked in navy blue and white made the top ten, with Andrey Kashechkin their best-placed rider in 11th spot.
Jaksche was in the front group right up until five kilometres to go, but ended up in 44th after Paolo Bettini's acceleration on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas shelled a number of contenders, including himself. "I worked hard on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas until Bettini accelerated, then it was over for me. I'm happy about my performance today, because I feel my fitness level is going to the right direction," he said, whose next appointment is the Tour de Romandie, starting tomorrow.
"Ya, I think I can do good. As I said, I was sick, but now I've recovered from my illness and I think I can do well; I'll try, we will see."