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“Gasparotto, Fuglsang, Nibali and Iglinsky - the winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012 - are all possible candidates. BMC are very strong collectively, too, but we’ve definitely got our options,” Z...

Photo: Sirotti












20.04.2014 @ 10:00 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Astana team will hope to use their strength in numbers as they line up at the hectic Dutch classic event with a formidable roster, consisting of three podium finishers from previous editions of Ardennes one-day races, Enrico Gasparotto, Maxim Iglinsky and Vincenzo Nibali.


Gasparotto didn’t impress with his disposition earlier this year, but it also wasn’t the case in the 2012 season, when he has won the Amstel Gold Race and continued with respectable eleventh and third places taken in the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.


Astana sports director Stefano Zanini is convinced about the chances of the 32-year old Italian since he usually performs very well in the Ardennes classics, but he also insists that Gasparotto is only one of the several cards the Kazakh team can play throughout the week of racing in the countries of Benelux.


“[Gasparotto] has got the legs and the head and we’ve got a very strong team,” Zanini told Cyclingnews.


“Gasparotto, [Jakob] Fuglsang, [Vincenzo] Nibali and [Maxim] Iglinsky - the winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012 - are all possible candidates. BMC are very strong collectively, too, but we’ve definitely got our options.”


Apart from his victory in the Amstel Gold Race in 2012, the 32-year old Italian finished third in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege the same year and in the Dutch classic two seasons earlier.


Changed finale of the Ardennes opener certainly will not work in Gasparotto’s favor, but Zanini believes that such situation will make up for a more open spectacle and let his team to enter the competition with more versatile roster.


“We’ve got Bozic, too, who can handle that kind of finale very well.”


Indeed, the Amstel’s finale should suit well the Slovenian national champion and, in opposite to Gasparotto, Bozic has showed great disposition in the classics this season, finishing third in Dwars door Vlaanderen and seventh in E3 Harelbeke.


Nibali is perfectly suited to the Liege-Bastogne-Liege course and finished runner-up in the Ardennes monument in 2012, but is regarded a joker in Astana roster for the Amstel Gold Race, expected to invent something just like he did in this year’s Milano-Sanremo.


“Last year’s Amstel was a game of poker, with a lot of waiting around and people ended up taking gambles, like [Roman] Kreuziger [Tinkoff-Saxo], and one of them won” Zanini says, “I’m hoping for a much more open race, particularly if it’s a lot windier. Then we’ll be on the attack.”



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