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"You never know how you are in Amstel, but I felt pretty good and I really look forward to the next two races in the Ardennes. Now, in my vision, the most important is to recover and rest before Fleche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne...

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo






19.04.2015 @ 21:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tinkoff-Saxo finished outside the top ten at Amstel Gold Race but with a good sensation ahead of the remaining Ardennes Classics, as team captains Roman Kreuziger and Michael Valgren proved capable in the undulating terrain. 2013-winner Kreuziger finished 14th in the first group after a post-Cauberg sprint decision won by Michal Kwiatkowski.
After the conclusion of the Dutch classic, team leader Roman Kreuziger says that his shape was where it should be.
“Amstel is a race that I personally like and it was nice to be there in the final. When you have four weeks without racing, it’s nice to get a confirmation that the shape is good. You never know how you are in Amstel, but I felt pretty good and I really look forward to the next two races in the Ardennes. Now, in my vision, the most important is to recover and rest before Fleche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège”, says Roman Kreuziger before adding:
“I had a puncture going into the final part of the race at a critical time but my teammates brought me back quickly. I was there in the final group after Cauberg but against guys like Valverde and Kwiatkowski it’s difficult. Valgren was a bit too far back at the bottom of Cauberg, but he can become the guy that can win a race like this. It’s important that he raced as co-leader in order to get experience from a difficult race like this”.

With 258 kilometers, 34 climbs and more than 4,000 altitude meters, Amstel Gold Race took its usual toll on the riders. Before the race finale on Cauberg, Tinkoff-Saxo had five riders in the decimated peloton, where Chris Anker Sørensen and Manuele Boaro successfully brought back the final breakaway.
Up Cauberg, however, the field exploded and regrouped in an 18-man front group, where Kwiatkowski proved the fastest with Kreuziger finishing 14th. According to team sports director Sean Yates, improvements could have been made in the finale while the race revealed a mounting shape. 
“Amstel showed that the condition of our guys is good and I think that Roman did a really fine race. There was not much he could do in the sprint, as he’s not the explosive kind of rider but he led by example and showed that he is where he should be. Valgren was just too far back at the bottom of Cauberg, otherwise he would have been there in the front group. He had the legs to follow and he could have done a good result in the sprint”, explains Sean Yates.
“However, the idea with putting Michael as the co-leader was to give him the experience.  So after today, he knows that if you ride for more than 250km and you’re not at the front in the finale, you don’t cash in on all of your work”.
“Ultimately, the team did a good race and Chris and Manuele put in a good effort at the end and committed to the team strategy. We now know that the guys are in good shape and we look forward to Fleche and Liège”, adds Sean Yates.

Young Danish champion Michael Valgren finished 22nd after making his way up the dismantling peloton on Cauberg.  Crossing the finish line, he explains that this year’s Amstel Gold Race was a step in the right direction.
“Amstel is a very chaotic race, it’s up and down and left and right all the time, which makes it really difficult to control and stay together. It’s simply a fight for positioning all the time. I had to piss four times, so it was difficult to stick to the front, but I managed to move forward in the last part of the race, expect the last time up Cauberg”, notes Michael Valgren.
“I had good legs and my sensations were better than they have been for a while. So today is naturally a source of motivation for me, as it’s a big improvement from last year. The team rode really well for Roman and me and in terms of the effort made, I think we can be satisfied”.
The Ardennes Classics continue Wednesday, as the riders face Flèche Wallonne and the dreaded Mur de Huy. 



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