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Liege Rider Reactions

I don't usually like to cut-and-paste too much, but the interesting rider reactions are all over the internet today, so I'll compile a bunch of them on the flip:

[Thanks to cyclingnews, bicirace, and the CSC and T-Mobile websites.]

Paolo Bettini:

"I'm happy: I was alone at the end, as I feared. I spent the energy I had too soon, but if I hadn't done it myself, it's likely that Boogerd and Rodriguez would have made it to the finish. Anyway, I felt really good... so I'll see you at the Giro!"

Damiano Cunego:

"I came here with the intention to get good training in view of the Giro - I had exceptional teammates and rode a good race. The team is fundamental and I have a great team. It's okay to get third, but it would have been better if I'd won! Anyway, it's a good sign for the Giro, where there will be many riders on the same level. We will therefore see an exciting race from the beginning on - there'll be some good ones right from the start."

Patrik Sinkewitz:

"It's a little bitter to get fourth again today. After the good placings in the Basque Country, Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne I would of course have liked to get on the podium. Maybe I rode in the wind a little too soon, but I felt strong and didn't want to play tactics."

Mario Kummer, T-Mobile "strategist", revealing that the team's true goal is to be seen near the winners:

"We have shown a very strong team performance again. Our strategy worked out. At first we had two strong riders in Steffen (Wesemann) and Michael (Rogers) in the first break. In the finale we were also represented with two riders in the shape of Patrik and Matthias (Kessler)."

Ivan Basso:

"It was a good test, and the team tried to win the race in every way. Unfortunately, neither Schleck nor me were able to make the difference. The Giro? When you're able to be in the finale of a race like this one, it means that things are going well. Now I've finished racing until the Giro, so I'll see you then!"

Michael Boogerd:

"It came as a surprise to me how we got into that break, taking a few metres on top of the Côte de Sprimont, but when you get an opportunity like that, you can't hesitate. When the others caught us, I looked around and saw that everybody was very tired; I was even able to catch up with them. With that knowledge, maybe I should have spared myself for an attack on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas. But that's done for now, I'll just keep pedalling. Erik Dekker did a lot of work for me and on La Redoute, I didn't suffer."

Bjarne Riis:

"Our tactics proved right all the way through, but in the end the others were better than us. Maybe we lacked that last bit of luck as well, and with two punctures at very critical moments we didn't exactly have perfect conditions out there. But I'm not excusing anything because I think we did do well in Liège-Bastogne-Liège after all, with the whole team making an effort to keep us up front. Everyone watching the race could see we had a top motivated team with everyone ready to fight. The way we fought today is a pretty good reflection on the way we've fought in all the spring classics this year. We've stayed up front with aggressive tactics and always with several riders in the finale. This has given us two big and well deserved victories in Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold Race, and for a long time it did look like we were gonna make it today as well. That wasn't meant to be, but I'm still very satisfied with the great one day races of this month.

And not least, Chris Horner:

"I'm happy with my performance today. The team was supporting me 100 percent; Bjorn Leukemans told me that he wasn't super strong, so he helped me today. I had the legs to win here, but if I wanted to win, I needed to get in a smaller break. The problem is that you can't react to every attack, you need to gamble; maybe I should've been there with Boogerd and Rodriguez. Romandie suits me better, absolutely... A Classic is not my ideal race... I mean, I'm still ridin' good, it's just not my 100 percent preference because of the way the climbs come on; I'm not good at the shorter climbs, the stop-start racing. Here, you're going anaerobic, then you're stopping, then anaerobic again, then stopping... and that's not my best way of racing. I'm much better at going into the last climb hard for 50k and then the last climb it splits - that's what suits me best. This style doesn't suit me so well, so like at Flèche and Amstel, I was in the red so much at the bottom of the climb, then by the top, I was fine - but I had missed the move by then!"