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“Today, we had two captains, Nicki Sørensen and me, and with Karsten Kroon as our GPS we were in a good position to achieve our goal. The whole team did an excellent job out there, I was fully prepared for the finale and I was...

Photo: Sirotti




14.04.2013 @ 17:53 Posted by Frederik Palle Pedersen

Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) took a hugely impressive solo win in today's Amstel Gold Race when he held off a very strong chasing trio of Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge). Having been able to rely on the detailed route knowledge of veteran teammate Karsten Krooon, he was well-positioned all day and ready to show off his good legs in the final.


Team Saxo-Tinkoff have entered races like the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Tirreno-Adriatico as major favourites but have been unable to bring home the goods in any of their main spring targets. Today the team was in the complete opposite situation as no one really expected anything from the team in the first of the Ardennes classics, the Amstel Gold Race.


Without any pre-race attention from the media, the team, however, knew that they had some cards to play. And when Roman Kreuziger attacked on the penultimate passage of the Cauberg climb with 18km remaining, it was evident that the Czech was extremely strong.


Having joined an earlier chase group and caught the sole remnant of the day's long escape, Mikel Astarloza, he left his companions with a gutsy attack with 7km remaining. Despite the frantic chase by the peloton and the strong accelerations by Philippe Gilbert, Alejandro Valverde and Simon Gerrans, nobody ever caught the Czech again and he finally took a big win for the Danish team which had only won a single race all season.


Kreuziger was full of praise of his teammates and was especially keen to point out the role of Karsten Kroon. With the race being held on narrow, winding roads, positioning and pre-race knowledge is crucial and Kroon's experience came in handy throughout the day.


“Today, we had two captains, Nicki Sørensen and me, and with Karsten Kroon as our GPS we were in a good position to achieve our goal," Kreuziger said. "The whole team did an excellent job out there, I was fully prepared for the finale and I was feeling strong all the way. On the final climb of Cauberg, I just looked down and pedalled without thinking so much. I'm really happy about this win and it goes to the whole team for a job well done.”


However, Kreuziger is an ambitious athlete and he plans to use his good condition in the remaining two Ardennes classics. Hence, there is little room for celebration tonight.


”Maybe, we'll have a glas of champagne tonight but there's a tough week ahead of us and we have to focus on our job,” he said.


Having endured a hard time, sports director Philippe Mauduit was delighted to see his team end a long drought - and even in one of the biggest classics.


”It's one of those days where everything just come together perfectly", he said. "The rider had each been given an assignment and everyone has done his job. Right before Roman goes in the first break, the riders are told to be attentive as the teams were all losing riders and a chase was hard to establish. Roman does this race perfectly and attacks at a time and a place which everyone around him knows is crucial but no one had the legs to follow him and he's going solo to the finish line taking one of the most beautiful wins this spring."


Roman Kreuziger gets a chance to further extend his classics palmares when he lines up in Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne.



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