Sergio Henao gave Sky its best classic result so far this season, placing second in Flèche Wallonne today in Belgium. The Colombian followed the attacks on the Mur de Huy and shot ahead, only falling short to Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
“He deliberately tried to be patient and tried to wait,” team principal, David Brailsford told Cycling Weekly. “Moreno, to be fair, once he went, he went. He was pretty impressive, congratulations to him.”
Mat Hayman had the best result before today, placing third in Dwars door Vlaanderen last month.
Henao has been red-hot. In the last week, he won a stage and third overall in the Tour of the Basque Country.
In the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, he placed sixth. Sky decided today he was the leader.
“Sergio did well, he has great condition after the Basque Country,” the team’s other Colombian, Rigoberto Urán told Cycling Weekly.
“Sergio, Richie and I were there to play our cards. We saw Sergio was strongest and talked about it, deciding to work for him give the hard, short climb.”
Henao marked his rivals on the Mur de Huy. An early attack by Colombian Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) faded and left the win open to one of the riders from the chase group. World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) stretched out the group. Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) followed and placed team-mate Moreno for the win.
“Sergio, the way he’s been riding… On something steep, Sergio can really accelerate on that type of climb. He was best suited,” Brailsford continued.
“We stuck to the plan, the guys backed Sergio. We knew we’d be in the mix given the recent race results. It went to form, I think it was just that little bit… There’s not that big of a difference between winning and running second.”
Chris Froome will reinforce Sky’s classics team for Liège-Bastogne-Liège and try to help it go one better, to win its first big classic.
“Sergio’s great for these classics, also in Liège he could do well,” Urán added.
“Liège is completely different, 250km, longer. You have to race well, but we’ll have a strong team.”
Brailsford is not sure yet who will be the leader, the Colombians, Porte or Froome.
“It’s a different line-up, a different team,” Brailsford explained. “We’ll sit down and come up with a plan to play to our strengths.”