Astana empty handed, Fuglsang surprised by Martin
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) was at least one rider surprised that Garmin Sharp's Dan Martin rode away with the win on Sunday at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"Hesjedal yeah," the Danish rider admitted to Cyclingnews in Ans. "Daniel Martin is a surprise but in the end they stayed calm. You really didn't see them the whole day and in the end, chapeau."
Astana had entered the 261.5km Ardennes Classic with the entire podium from 2012 and hopes were high, with Vincenzo Nibali parachuted in from the Giro del Trentino to join winner Maxim Iglinskiy and third place Enrico Gasparotto. Fuglsang admitted that there was an overriding feeling of disappointment in the team bus.
"But in the end everybody tried their best and everybody gave everything," he explained. "Of course it would have been very difficult to repeat what happened last year - okay it was across two different teams but still, no matter what it's difficult to win at Liege. There's only one winner and 200 losers."
The thought within the Astana camp was that the defining move of the race would come a little later than what it eventually did. With that in mind, Fuglsang attacked from the La Redoute with Sky's David Lopez and Movistar's Rui Costa.
"Everybody seemed like they had good legs," said Fuglsang. "For us not to get taken with our pants down, I wanted to try from La Redoute and see... unfortunately it didn't work out. Then before the second last climb I had to change the bike because of a mechanical."
Inglinsky would be the team's best performer in 21st place.
Encouragingly for Fuglsang, despite having to chase to get back to the peloton following his mechanical, he believes his form is heading in the right direction with the Tour de France front of mind.
"I was still able to stay with the peloton, even though I had to eat myself," he admitted. "All in all, the shape was there. The shape is there."