Jurgen Van Den Broeck heading to Amstel Gold in better form than last year
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jurgen Van Den Broeck heading to Amstel Gold in better form than last year

by Ben Atkins at 9:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race
Belgian climber “curious, but not nervous” about riding Ardennes Classics for himself for the first time

jurgen van den broeckAlthough he has ridden the Amstel Gold Race several times before, Sunday’s race will be the first time that Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) will ride the Dutch Classic for himself. His fortieth, twentieth and eighteenth places in the last three editions of the race have been achieved after working for Philippe Gilbert, who won the last two. The Belgian champion has moved on to the BMC Racing Team however, meaning that Van Den Broeck can aim at a result in the race himself.

“I’ve always worked for a leader at the Classics, so I have no idea ho well I can do,” he said at Lotto-Belisol’s pre-race press conference, according to Sporza. “Previously I’d drop off after getting [Philippe] Gilbert into the finale. I’m curious, but not really nervous.”

Although he has historically performed well in the hills of Limburg and the Ardennes, Van Den Broeck is aware that this strength does not always translate to results when previously strong domestiques are handed the mantle of leadership.

“Some riders go better if they have to work in the service of a leader, but they struggle a little if they have the opportunity to ride for themselves,” he explained. “On Sunday I’ll find out which category I am really in.”

Assuming he can handle the pressure, however, the 28-year-old is confident that he has the legs to perform. Third place in March’s Volta a Catalunya, and twelfth in the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco, show that his form is where it should be to get a result in the hilly Classics of the Ardennes.

“My condition is certainly better than last year,” he said. “In the Pais Vasco, when there were attacks on the climbs, I was able to follow to the finish. Sunday’s motto will be ‘wait, wait, wait.’”

Lotto-Belisol will certainly hope that its Ardennes Classics team can perform on Sunday, as well as in la Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège the following week. The historically powerful Belgian team drew a blank in the recent Cobbled Classics - with an admittedly inexperienced team, many of whom were sent for the experience - while rival team Omega Pharma-Quick Step was winning virtually everything.

Van Den Broeck will share the team’s leadership with Tour de France stage winner Jelle Vanendert, and Gianni Meersman, who won the Paris-Nice stage into Rodez.

Lotto-Belisol team for the Amstel Gold Race
Gaëten Bille, Francis De Greef, Brian Bulgaç, Gianni Meersman, Jurgen Van de Walle, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Jelle Vanendert and Dennis Vanendert


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