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"All the work that has been done has not been completely lost and I think that he can be very strong at Fleche," Acquadro says

Photo: Sirotti

CARLOS ALBERTO BETANCUR

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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NAIRO QUINTANA

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RIGOBERTO URAN

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SERGIO LUIS HENAO

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18.04.2014 @ 17:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Due to a knee injury, Carlos Betancur may have had a very bad preparation for his Ardennes classics campaign but it may be a bad idea to rule out a strong performance from the Colombian. His agent Giuseppe Acquadro admits that his build-up has been far from perfect but expects a strong showing from his protege at the Fleche Wallonne.

 

When he won Paris-Nice back in March, Carlos Betancur seemed to be on his way to performing strongly throughout the spring but illness and injury have ruined several big races for the strong Colombian. He fell ill during the Volta a Catalunya and knee pain combined with subsequent lack of power forced him out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

 

For a long time, his participation in the Ardennes Classics were in doubt but his Ag2r team have now confirmed that he will indeed be on the start line in the three events in the Benelux countries. Expectations for the Colombian are not great but his agent Giuseppe Acquadro claims that it may be a bad idea to rule out the rider who finished third in last year's Fleche Wallonne and fourth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

 

"He's going to ride," he said. "He is a little better, but have been weakened by his knee infection and the antibiotics. His problem is more about morale. After winning Paris-Nice, he wanted to do very well in Catalonia and the Basque Country but he failed. All the work that has been done has not been completely lost and I think that he can be very strong at Fleche."

 

Another rider under Giuseppe Acquadro's tutelage is Michal Kwiatkowski who finished 4th at Amstel and 5th at Fleche 12 months ago.

 

"I always knew his value, he just needed time to adapt to show his qualities, " Acquadro sayd. "And I think that he will be very competitive, especially in Amstel and Fleche  where last year he was fourth and fifth respectively.

 

"I think the best for him is Amstel, although he surprised us all in Fleche. He has been reassured because he has always been among the best but we must not forget that these classics are heavily influenced by luck. His form is very good and in Liege, which is a little different, he can do equally well."

 

Two of Acquadro's proteges, Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran, won't be in the Ardennes as they are preparing for the Giro d'Italia.

 

"Those two are working hard in Colombia," he said. "Nairo is fine and preparing well for the Giro. The podium is a clear objective but he will be there to win; for him it would be a first. The same can be said for Rigoberto. Last year we finished second and he will fight for the win."

 

For Sergio Henao, things are looking less bright as he has been taken off Sky's racings schedule due to abnormal blood values. He is currently in his native Colombia while Sky carry out further investigations.

 

 "Henao is now in Colombia to find out what's going on and does everything to show his team that things have been done in a correct way. In a few weeks he should be riding normally again. I am optimistic, I always am."

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