Greg Henderson narrowly missed out on a podium position at the 2010 Scheldeprijs on Wednesday afternoon, but was full of praise for the work done by his Sky teammates in a chaotic finish to the Belgian race.
With the team's Mathew Hayman occupying a position in the race's early, 8-man break, Sky were spared the responsibility of chasing the early escapees. However, with the lead group caught the black-clad squad surged towards the front of the peloton with three kilometres-to-go, in attempt to set-up their designated sprinter, Henderson.
"I came strong at the finish, but I was just out of position," Henderson told Cyclingnews immediately after the finish of the race. "When I started at 200 metres to go I was just a little too far back. I mean I got up there for fourth but it was just positioning in the finale - we were forced onto the front way too early."
In a prolonged sprint, opened by Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Henderson was left with too much to do to come around race winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions), Robbie McEwen (Katusha) and Robert Förster (Milram).
"We just ran out of men. They did a fantastic job, but we're just down on guys, so when they were on the front I just moved four of five back because I knew I'd be at the front too early otherwise," he said.
"But he boys were super strong, they were committed to me, it's just a shame I didn't have the 100 per cent perfect position as I was fast enough, basically."
Henderson was named on Wednesday morning as a replacement for Edvald Boasson Hagen in Sky's squad for Paris-Roubaix. He will now support Juan Antonio Flecha, the team's captain on Sunday. But at Scheldeprijs it was the Spaniard who was playing the role of domestique, as he contributed his fair share to Henderson's lead-out train.
"Flecha just did a massive, massive pull, Sutto [Chris Sutton] had to go super early and I tried to mix in there, but I came down the barriers and had some Vacansoleil guy just take my handlebars so that cost me two or three pedal strokes," said Henderson.
Despite missing a podium spot at the Belgian semi-Classic, Henderson was satisfied with a performance that saw him finish well ahead of sprint rivals, including Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia), Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun).
"I ran fourth, it's not too bad. You look at the start list, every sprinter is here. I could have easily run 14th and had every sprinter in front of me. This race is a pure sprinters race, so you're riding here barely [exhausting] your legs and then it's absolute chaos in the last 10k's."