“Looking on the bright side today, I had good sensations, my form is obviously pretty close to where it needs to be and I fell off twice, didn’t break anything, just lost a fair bit of skin.”
Simon Gerrans returned to Liège today as the defending champion of the fourth monument of the season, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The 34-year-old lined up in the final Ardennes classic with good memories and in the concluding stages of his comeback from a series of early season injuries.
“I was really looking forward to the race,” Simon said. “There wasn’t a huge expectation coming into it because obviously I have had such a rocky start to the season.”
“But my form has been coming on really well over the past few weeks so I was looking forward to testing my legs. I was actually quietly confident that I could be around the mark at the end of the day.”
Unfortunately for the defending champion, he would not find out, his day cut short but yet another crash. Make that two.
“The race was unfolding pretty well,” Simon said. “We were riding really well as a team, the guys were doing a fantastic job of covering the breaks, supporting me and keeping me up the front where I needed to be and the sensations were good.”
“I was with Daryl (Impey) and we were pretty well placed leading into La Redoute; we were right where we needed to be to make a move to get to the front for the start of the climb. Just as the descent started a crash happened at the front of the bunch somewhere. It was unavoidable; we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and had nowhere to go, so got tangled up.
“Both Daryl and I hit the ground, were both in a little bit of shock and tried to piece together what happened so we really didn’t bounce up too quickly. That pretty much put us out of contention for the race, from that point on the day was basically over which was disappointing.”
Changing to a spare bike Simon continued to ride towards support staff in order to be taken to the finish line when trouble struck again.
“I got up and got going again on my spare bike, because my race bike was un-rideable, and I was just rolling down the hill and on the very first corner I hit, I fell off again,” Simon explained.
“That came completely by surprise, I wasn’t going fast, I wasn’t taking any risks but obviously I had brand new tyres on my spare bike and next thing I knew I was sliding down the road again.
“That was the icing on the cake really, what was a bad day turned worse.”
Questioned about his bad luck this year the 2012 Milan – San Remo champion remained upbeat, thankful he is still on track for Romandie and the Giro d’Italia over the next few weeks.
“I am just wondering how much more bad luck I can have this season,” Gerrans said light-heartedly. “As much as this season is not really going my way so far, hopefully it’ll turn around pretty soon.”
“Looking on the bright side today, I had good sensations, my form is obviously pretty close to where it needs to be and I fell off twice, didn’t break anything, just lost a fair bit of skin.
“I am going to be pretty sore for the first few days of Romandie or for the most part of next week I imagine, until I grow some skin back, but I’ll still be on the start line and hopefully I won’t be too disadvantaged by my injuries.”