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"I have my focus on Liége-Bastogne-Liége, which is a race that I can do well in. And my result as 18th showed me that I’m in good condition ahead of next Sunday," Kreuziger says

Photo: Jacinto Vidarte

AMSTEL GOLD RACE

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CHRIS ANKER SØRENSEN

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KARSTEN KROON

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MICHAEL VALGREN

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NICKI SØRENSEN

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ROMAN KREUZIGER

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20.04.2014 @ 22:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Roman Kreuziger lined up as the defending champion in today's Amstel Gold Race but a final sprint up the Cauberg didn't suit the Tinkoff-Saxo captain's skills. Having felt good all day and taken 18th at the end, however, the Czech is now looking forward to Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

 

Amstel Gold Race is never easy. Twisting roads and shifting wind-directions. Narrow sections and a furious fight for positions. But for Tinkoff-Saxo, Amstel showed itself from its most troublesome side with Nicki Sørensen having to abandon the race due to a serious crash.

 

The team's captain was defending champion Roman Kreuziger but the race didn't pan out as the strong Czech had hoped.

 

"I’m content with the race but not happy," he said. "It was a difficult final of the race with a big group arriving at the final on Cauberg. It’s not my specialty to sprint aggressively for short periods of time – I am a more durable climber and last years race therefore suited me much better.

 

"I have my focus on Liége-Bastogne-Liége, which is a race that I can do well in. And my result as 18th showed me that I’m in good condition ahead of next Sunday."

 

"I finished 37th today after a couple of weeks on training camp on Mount Etna," Chris Anker Sørensen said. "So I could easily feel that I’ve been pushing myself in high altitude for a long time.

 

"But it amazed me that every time I got dropped I managed to get back again to the front group. So I knew that I couldn’t expect a top-result here in Amstel but it was very important training and preparation ahead of Liége-Bastogne-Liége. I think it suits many of us better than the two first Ardennes Classics."

 

"Last year I won the U23-Liége-Bastogne-Liége, so I know that these kinds of races including Amstel Gold Race fits me and my strong sides as a rider," Michael Valgren said. "But it was a funny race today with a funny pace. It started out fairly fast in the first kilometers but then it slowed down a lot. We went super easy for many kilometers and the break had around 14 minutes at one point.

 

"And then some of the teams decided to increase the speed and we finished the second half of the race really fast with a ferocious pace. I was dropped and fell back to the second group.

 

"In the final lap with 17 k’s to go many of the other riders not in front decided to drop out as we crossed the finish line area. But, for me, it was a big experience to ride my first WorldTour Ardennes Classic and I wanted to finish it. So I stopped for a second, thought about how nice a bath in the bus would be and then started pedaling again."

 

"I love the Ardennes Classics and I have done Amstel around 12 or 13 times, so I usually have a good feeling about how the race will develop and how I will perform," Karsten Kroon said. "And I feel strong these days, but once we left Maastricht and went into the countryside I could really feel my allergy and how it zapped much of my energy.

 

"My eyes were hurting and burning and I could feel that my breathing was affected. So now I’m hoping for a lot of rain in the next two races even though it sounds nuts. The rain removes all the pollen from the air resulting in a much stronger version of me."

 

“The guys did an excellent job to support Roman and make sure he remained strong for the finale where he was covered by Chris (Anker Sørensen) until the foot of Cauberg," sports director Tristan Hoffman said. "But as the race had developed into a very punchy finale, Gilbert was the one with the biggest power.

 

"Unfortunately, Nicki was in a big crash and because his elbow swell up, he was taken to the hospital for further examination but nothing was broken. He is, however, not able to start Fleche Wallone on Wednesday.

 

"Chris was also showing good form but he hasn’t been in any races for a while so he has to find the rhythm of the pack again before we can be expecting any results from him."

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