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"Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan are on top of the list of favourites and then about ten riders follow that can play a role. I hope to be one of them."

Photo: Sirotti






13.04.2013 @ 08:24 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Lotto Belisol counts on Jelle Vanendert as leader in the Amstel Gold Race. The Limburger had to leave the Vuelta al País Vasco because of an inflammation of the oesophagus, but those problems are over now. In 2012 Vanendert came second in the race.


Yesterday afternoon Vanendert and manager Marc Sergeant talked to the press in Maastricht, the place where the Amstel starts.


“In the Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday we rode well as a team, with Kenny Dehaes we made the race,” explained Sergeant. “Several of our riders rode in the picture, like Tim Wellens. The team is ready to help Jelle Vanendert in the Walloon Classics. When Jelle had to quit in the Vuelta al País Vasco, we were worried, but soon it was clear that with the right diagnosis and treatment it would soon be over. And that’s what happened. Jelle is ready for the Amstel.”


Vanendert agreed with that assessment. “Having to quit a race is never fun, you want to finish. Especially when many big races are yet to come. Although there are changes to the course, it stays the Amstel we know. The fact that the finish is 1,800 m further up on the road may have an influence on the outcome. We’ll probably get to the foot of the Cauberg with many more riders and the race will be closed longer. There are more large and long roads, where you can see the escapees. This and the wind make it difficult to anticipate. Last year Oscar Freire almost proved it is possible, if he had had a rider with him, he might have succeeded.”


“After my second place last year I don’t take to the start any differently; the motivation is the same and the opponents are the same. To be able to win the Amstel I have to arrive solo. Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan are on top of the list of favourites and then about ten riders follow that can play a role. I hope to be one of them. Gilbert isn’t the same as when he won the world championship, but he’s in a good condition. With a super condition he makes the race himself, now that isn’t really the case.”


“Last year I set few good results after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I did my work for the team, but I couldn’t realize my own ambitions. The Tour de France was disappointing for me. This year my goal is still to ride the final of the Walloon Classics and I am aiming for a place in top 10. Depending on the developments in the race the difference between becoming fifth or twentieth can be small, though.”


Lotto Belisol line-up for Amstel Gold Race:

Dirk Bellemakers, Gaëtan Bille, Brian Bulgaç, Bart De Clercq, Jurgen Van de Walle, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert en Jelle Vanendert.


On Sunday you can follow the action from Amstel Gold Race live here on starting at 14.30



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