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"There are many, many rivals: Kwiatkowski, Valverde, Martin, Gerrans, Samuel Sanchez. Nibali will also be good. And I expect something from Philippe Gilbert, yes. He is one of the many favorites."

Photo: Sirotti

FLECHE WALLONNE

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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22.04.2015 @ 10:51 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In the Flemish spring, Katusha had lots of success courtesy of Alexander Kristoff. It is quite possible that the team will get more reason to celebrate in the Ardennes as they go into the racees with an in-form Rodriguez. Or will Rodriguez preger to shine in the grand tours later in the year?

 

Again Rodriguez has been sleeping in the famous room number 11, the room in Malpertuus in Riemst Haspengouwse where Mario Cipollini slept before he won the 2002 Worlds, where Michele Bartoli slept before he won the 1997 and 1998 Liege-Bastogne Liege, where Johan Museeuw slept before he won 1994 Amstel and where Rodriguez slept before he won the 2012 Fleche Wallonne. "In the end of rider, there are many foolish ideas," Rodriguez told Het Nieuwsblad. "And this is one of them."

 

Rodriguez now prepares for Fleche Wallonne. The finish on the Mur de Huy has Rodriguez written all over the place. "And I want to fight for the win again."

 

 

In Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Rodriguez proved that he is in excelletn condition. But he wants more than for a second win in Fleche Wallonne. It's another race that tops his list of priorities: Liège-Bastogne-Liège."There are many, many rivals: Kwiatkowski, Valverde, Martin, Gerrans, Samuel Sanchez. Nibali will also be good. And I expect something from Philippe Gilbert, yes. He is one of the many favorites. But I repeat: I was second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège (two years ago, ed.). I want to do better."

 

 

Today Rodriguez will have a little dresss rehearsal for the Tour de France which will use a part of the route of Flèche Wallonne in stage 3. It is no conincidence that Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali will all be at the start.

 

"I admit that it is difficult," he said about the Tour. "You don't have to be good for one day, you have to be super for three weeks. But I continue to believe that I can win a grand tour like the Tour. If I could choose between a fourth WourldTour win or a grand tour victory, I would prefer the latter."

 

 

For now, however, he is focused on the Fleche Wallonne and his team is not concerned by his poor showing in the Amstel Gold Race.

 

"He only came back to the front group after 10 or 15 kilometres and after all this effort he paid for it in the final. He was in the front group in the final and he started to make up positions but he paid for his efforts," sports director Jose Azevedo told Cyclingnews about the crashes that held him up in the Dutch race. "For him, Amstel is an important race and we try our best but we knew that it is not the kind of race for our kind of riders. This kind of parcours is difficult for us we don’t have riders for explosive, small climbs and also sprinters.

 

"We know that he is one of the favourites for the race. We also have to respect the others who have a chance to win but I hope that we can be fighting for it tomorrow. He’s shown that he’s in good shape and we are confident in him for this race. It is a race that suits him well, he won it three years ago and we believe that he has a chance."

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