“My legs were still not bad at the finish so I’m definitely heading in the right direction.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE rode themselves onto their second Classics podium of 2015 at the Amstel Gold Race today.

The 258km race kicked off the Ardennes section of the spring campaign, another crucial cog in the recovery chain for Simon Gerrans, who had finished third at the past two editions of the Dutch race.

The Australian outfit took to the start line with a well-drilled eight-man lineup, setting Michael Matthews up for the final. Matthews mirrored the efforts of Simon’s past two results for third; world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Ettix Quick-Step) claimed the victory.

“With the group of guys we have in this race now, we have a lot of experience,” Simon said.

“Everybody knows what their job is and you can rely on everybody to do that job.

“The team rode really well, we had all bases covered so we gave Michael every opportunity to go for the win in the end.”

Despite admitting he arrived underdone due to earlier season injuries, Simon could be seen assisting his teammate right until the business end of racing on the final ascent of the Cauberg.

“It was going a little into the unknown for me this season as my first race over 200km,” Simon said.

“But my legs were still not bad at the finish so I’m definitely heading in the right direction.”

Simon returns home for a few days recovery and training before returning as the defending champion for Liège-Bastogne-Liège next Sunday.

“On Sunday I hope to again be a little bit more competitive than I was today,” Simon said.

“I think it’s going to be pretty difficult to back it up and get another win in Liège but if I keep going the way I am going now I think I’ll be a lot closer to the front.”