Andy Schleck admitted he was not feeling good during Flèche Wallonne and so opted to sacrifice his own chances in order to help his brother Fränk try and take on Philippe Gilbert on the Mur de Huy.
However Gilbert was again too explosive and too strong for them on the climb to the finish, leaving Leopard Trek the crumbs of a placing in the top ten. Fränk Schleck finished seventh, while Andy was 44th after easing up in the final part of the climb.
"On the next to last climb I didn’t feel very good. I'm not sure if it the weather, but I had red eyes and some breathing problems. So I decided work for the team and did the best I could for Frank in the final kilometre," he explained after the race.
"I chased before the finish because there were two riders in front. Then I dropped Fränk off on Gilbert's wheel at 500 metres to go and watched them go with about 300 metres to go."
Andy lamented about the unusual way Flèche Wallonne had unfolded but insisted he was not looking to make excuses.
"The race was not like a Classic. It was more like an Italian race where the breakaway can get a 17 minute gap after only a few kilometers," he said. "Then only three teams were chasing the break. I prefer when the speed is high since the start. But I was not on a good day so I don't want to find excuses."
Gilbert is now set for an Ardennes hat-trick or even a rarer four-race winning streak if Flèche Brabançonne is included, while Leopard Trek is still looking for its first Classic win. But Schleck refused to be down beat about his and the team's chances at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"I'm very in confident for Sunday despite what has happened," he insisted. "Gilbert is the big favourite but perhaps we can take advantage of the situation. It'll be a different race on Sunday."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.