Video: Brian Nygaard – ‘Gilbert was too strong’
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Video: Brian Nygaard – ‘Gilbert was too strong’

by Shane Stokes at 2:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Liège-Bastogne-Liège , Video
Leopard Trek manager believes there was nothing his riders could have done

Brian NygaardIf the accounts of cycling fans and bloggers on Twitter are an accurate gauge of public opinion, many of those watching Liège-Bastogne-Liège today were left scratching their heads afterwards by how things played out. Andy and Frank Schleck went clear inside the final 22 kilometres of the race, breaking free with Philippe Gilbert and going on to fight out the win with the Belgian.

Two against one is normally a big advantage, but the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider was able to handle their challenge without major difficulty, dropping Andy Schleck briefly on the run in towards the finish in Ans, and easily winning the sprint.

The question was why, with two riders in a three-man move, did the Schleck brothers not attack in the finale? Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard spoke to VeloNation shortly after the finish, and explained that Gilbert was simply going too well.

“It was the final that we expected, we were able to isolate Gilbert as we had hoped to,” he said. “They attacked at the exact same moment as they had planned, but Gilbert was too strong today. Even with two guys from the same team, he was still the strongest…a big Chapeau.”

Nygaard spent the last half hour of the race watching it on screens in the small press enclosure 100 metres after the finish line. It was a tense wait, with he and several other team staff members studying the action intensely. They were anticipating a move by one or other of the brothers, but a move didn’t come. In the sprint to the line, Gilbert had no problems at all in taking the gallop.

The Leopard Trek officials appeared a little deflated at that point in time, but several minutes later, Nygaard accepted that it was a hugely difficult task to beat Gilbert. “I’m convinced he was on the limit, because that was the moment, wasn’t it?” he said afterwards, when asked why Frank Schleck didn’t attack close to the line.

It’s clear from his reaction that he is satisfied with how his riders performed, and also impressed by the strength of Gilbert. The Belgian rider has ended his Classics campaign now, while the two brothers will continue to build. They appear to be on course to make a real tilt at the Tour de France title and so, with that in mind, Nygaard has reason to be content with the day’s result.


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