4.13.2013

Amstel Gold Race: start list and more

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Teams are already there, testing their legs on the route. Amstel is a bit different this year, the finish line is the same as in the last Worlds so no more atop the last climb. Van Vliet said that will make the race opener but I'd say that will make some brave efforts vain. Why should you change a 'classic'? classic means that's always actual, it's a tradition, a monument. Ok the Amstel is the youngest of the Ardennes classics but we already collected some memories about it, about some epic victories and some great, generous tries. Frank Schleck of course, Andy Schleck caught 200 m to go. Amstel traditional finish was for strong attacks, the new one in my opinion is more for last minute  gamblers. 
Bauke Mollema
Everybody say Sagan. We will see. On paper he's the main favourite. My favourite would be Bauke Mollema but his preparation wasn't optimal. “I haven’t really raced in a couple of weeks" he said "and I am not sure exactly where I stand but in the period before that, I felt very strong. On top of that, I’ve been able to train very well the past few days. What Sep did strengthens me as well. Secretly, I am already looking to Luik-Bastenaken-Luik which is more my race but I believe I can also do well in the Amstel.“ Blanco  DS Maassen adds: “We did not have an ideal preparation in the Tour of the Basque Country, Bauke was supposed to be the leader with an eye out for the Ardennes Classics. However, he did not start the race as he was the whole week sick in bed. That’s not what you’re looking for but Sep Vanmarcke also did not have the ideal preparation for Paris-Roubaix. His second place there is a real boost for the entire team.” Tom-Jelte Slagter is also an option for team Blanco and he agrees: “The routes suits me: it somewhat comparable to the stage I took in Australia. It’s just a hundred kilometres longer and different group of riders. I am going to follow my instincts on this one. If I think I can play a role in the finish, I’ll go for it. If not, I’ll try to make myself useful to the team in another way – tagging along up front or supporting Bauke."
Amstel 2011 Andy's try

Andy Schleck isn't a favourite. He said me he's good but still lacks the basis he used to have entering the Classics' season. In Vasco he improved a lot and we are all curious - he included - to see what he can do. The Amstel will be the first serious test to understand how competitive he can be. He didn't set a goal and he's going to work for the team so in my opinion he could try to break-away and support his captain's attack or play a personal card at the finish if they arrive there without a better option. He must attacks to really see where he stands. Not to win, just to see how his body reacts. If the feedback is positive, we could see something more in Liège. Step by step, steadly and patiently. The weather is going to be quite good on Sunday, not cold like last year. Not too hot I hope because too many pollens can affect Andy's race (do you remember Fleche 2011?). 
As far as me: I'll watch in streaming, still waiting to know if I go to Liège next Friday (for the press conference) or on Saturday (just for the race). I feel very tired in these days and a little sad. Well... very sad sometimes :) ...but it's just me. I'm very busy with school, B&B, philosphy and my son's cycling. Spring is here finally, I'm back on my bike too. I should be perfectly happy but still something is missed and I have the feeling of a waste.
 

START LIST
source  http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/116790022-Amstel-Gold-Race-2013-Startlist

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