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Belgians fire early but invisible in the end

Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert (Image credit: Elmar Krings)

By Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

The Belgian riders didn't have their best day out at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Tom Stubbe from the French team Française des Jeux featured in the early breakaway but was dropped just before the TV-coverage began. Later in the race his team-mate Philippe Gilbert launched a solo attack on the Côte du Rosier with 65 kilometres to go, but he was reeled in on the Côte de la Redoute.

From then on it was game over for the Belgians and eventually Bert De Waele from the Landbouwkrediet team finished as first Belgian in 19th spot. That is a great accomplishment for De Waele, as he ended in the group that sprinted for eighth place, one minute behind the winner.

Before the start, early breakaway rider Tom Stubbe talked with Cyclingnews and said that he hadn't had great experiences with Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the past. "I've started here on two occasions but I never got further than the second feed zone," Stubbe said. "The Stockeu is such a tough climb and that's where the race has ended for me every time."

Asked about the team's tactics, Stubbe explained that Philippe Gilbert was not intended to be its leader. "He's feeling tired but of course he's got a free role. Our leader is [Benoît] Vaugrenard," said the blonde Belgian. "I've become a bit stronger so let's hope that I can keep up a bit longer this year."

Stubbe did last longer than his previous attempts but had to abandon the race nevertheless.