A crash, a bike change and then a broken rear derailleur which necessitated a second bike swap spelled the end of hope for Maxime Monfort at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. The Belgian lined up for the final Ardennes classic of the week and while his RadioShack Leopard squad lacked a defined leader, he believed he had a chance for a good result. That was until his second incident located too close to the final of the 261.5km race.
"I fell stupidly in front of La Redoubte after hitting the rear wheel of a rider, said a deflated Monfort to Lavenir at the end of the race. “The I broke my derailleur so I lost a lot of time changing the bike twice. From that point, it was impossible for me to return to the front."
The RadioShack squad failed to land a result at La Doyenne, with Tony Gallopin the best of the lot in 29th place, 1:06 behind the day's winner Daniel Martin but it wasn't all bad news for the team that included a former winner in its ranks.
Andy Schleck was the team's next-best rider, coming in just 12 seconds down on his teammate Gallopin to register what is one of his best results of the 2013 season. Failing to finish a bike race has been a resurgent them for the Luxembourger but his 41st at Liège is a promising sign for the rider who has struggled to return to form after braking his pelvis in a crash at the Dauphiné last year.
For Monfort however, his double-dose of bad luck; crashing at a critical point of the race at Le Redoute and then braking his derailleur was not taken so lightly. There was no way of making it back into contention, according to the 30-year-old.
"I'm bitter because I had good legs,” said Monfort. “This is also the first time this year that I got to St. Nicolas without the feeling of having to survive on the bike. "Probably the absence of the Cote de Roche aux Faucons, as well some new ways I've been training has made the difference.
Monfort will race Tour of Belgium and the Tour de Suisse in the lead-up to the Tour de France but he isn't too concerned with readjusting his focus just yet.
"But before anything my second priority will be the birth of my new child."