City of Brussels: Philippe Gilbert could not hide his disappointment after finishing eighth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday.
The 31-year-old, who was born in Verviers, in the same region that `La Doyenne` is raced, came into the race as one of two overwhelming favourites, alongside Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, who came second.
Having won this race in 2009, when Gilbert completed an Ardennes treble -- also winning the Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne -- the BMC rider was hoping to succeed in the 100th edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
But he couldn`t follow his rivals` acceleration on the final ramp in Ans at the the end of 263km of racing, instead settling for a minor placing as Australia`s Simon Gerrans won.
"I came here with the intention of winning so eighth is a disappointment," he said.
"I was lacking a bit of strength in the last few kilometres to get a result.
"But it wasn`t easy. With the tailwind it was very fast. We were always in a big group and it wasn`t possible to attack or go quicker."
Having won the Brabantse Pijl semi-classic 10 days ago and also Amstel Gold last Sunday, it has nonetheless been a successful Ardennes campaign for Gilbert, who was 10th at Wednesday`s Fleche Wallonne.
"I won two, Brabantse and Amstel Gold, but it`s obviously Liege that was the most important to me.
"So I`m not totally satisfied with my Spring campaign.
"Well done to Gerrans who is a great winner and building up an impressive resume."