Gilbert’s Treble or Why The Schlecks Will Never Win

So Philippe Gilbert won Liege-Bastogne-Liege and became the second man to win all three Ardennes Classics in the same year.  The first to do this treble was Davide Rebellin in 2004 but he was a cheat and we’ll say no more about him at the moment.  What was interesting on Sunday was the way the Schlecks messed it up again.  The Schlecks carried Gilbert to the line – what the hell were they thinking?  Did they honestly believe that they could take him on the sprint?  They had him all to themselves in the final kilometers why didn’t they work him over?  On the final climb up the Côte de Ans they did nothing and just led Gilbert to a comfortable sprint in the last 200 metres or so.

Of course it’s not the first time that the Schlecks have messed up in this manner.  In the 2008 editionof the race they let Valverde through the door to win.  There was also the business with Andy’s chain during last year’s tour which just seemed like a mistake which led to a mechanical – he just chose the wrong gear.  It looks to me that there seems to be some mental frailty that gets in the way of Schleck success.  Maybe they’re not as good as they think they are maybe they’re afflicted by an Arsenalesque inability to finish opponents off and get their hands dirty.  They were not short of resources at Saxo and not short of tactical nous with Riis at the helm yet the palmarès look surpisingly lean taking everything into account.  This is going to be a big year for the Schlecks and their shiny new team but I don’t see where the big win is going to come from?

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