April 17, 2013

Despite an ill-timed puncture Dan Martin and Ryder Hesjedalrode a great race, with Martin flying up the Mur de Huy to nearly make it on the podium.

Dan Martin, Peter Stetina - Fleche Wallonne

“Today blue sky and warm temps in Belgiun is the best it can get,” said Sports Director Johnny Weltz.

“We had two team leaders for today and the other guys worked for them. The day went perfect all the way to the second last time over Mur de Huy. At the bottom of the climb on the worst moment Ryder flatted and Thomas gave him his wheel. Ryder did an impressive chase and bridged up to the favorites’ group again.”

“Then Dan flatted on a bad moment and got the wheel from Stetina and made it back to the front again. Into the last km Fabian placed Dan perfectly for the uphill finish and he was going faster and faster and needed the finish line to be another meter away to make the podium. A very nice job of the whole team today and impressive finish of Dan.”

“I’m very proud with how I myself rode and the team rode today,” said Martin.

“Nathan Haas in his first Fleche guided me around perfectly for the first 175km keeping me at the front and out of trouble. Pete Stetina was right there when I needed a wheel change and all the other guys did their bit to keep me in position.”

“I honestly would not have done anything different all day. Except the puncture, which I couldn’t believe after the bad luck of Sunday, but I kept calm and then Fabien Wegmann did an incredible job to put me into a good position at the bottom of the Muur.”

“People say I came from far back, but I raced the climb and not the riders. I did get a bit baulked at about 250m to go but again I finished strongly, just didn’t have the legs to follow on the steepest part but I think I judged my effort almost perfectly.”

“The team was excellent today,” said Hesjedal. “Thomas Dekker gave me his wheel at the bottom of the Mur and helped me out; I had to do a huge effort to get up it and have a chance to get back, and Haas was at the top and did a huge effort to help me. Dan and I had some bad luck but it is still a great result and a really good total team effort day. I feel good as I continue to build for the Giro and Sunday is looking good for us, we’re going in with confidence.”

“I’m just gutted to be so close to the podium, literally a matter of inches, but I feel good and so we can look forward with optimism to Sunday’s race, another of my favorites.”

Dan Martin - Fleche Wallonne

“I’m a year fitter and stronger so who knows what can happen. The whole team is going well and today is a big confidence boost going into La Doyenne. I believed I could do well, and the boys rode impeccably so we’ll enjoy the result tonight and then start looking forward to the next big one.”

Ryder Hesjedal - Fleche Wallonne

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