Vanendert suggests Gilbert is not in his top form for today’s Amstel Gold Race
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Vanendert suggests Gilbert is not in his top form for today’s Amstel Gold Race

by VeloNation Press at 9:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race
2012 runner-up determined to ride well, but admits he needs to be solo to win

Jelle VanendertLast year’s second-place finisher in the Amstel Gold Race, Jelle Vanendert, knows that Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) are for many the top favourites for today’s Amstel Gold Race.

He also accepts that to be the case, but believes that Gilbert is not in the same form as when he last won in the area.

“Sagan and he are the favorites,” he said in a press conference prior to the race, according to Biciciclismo. “But Gilbert is not the same as the rider he was in the worlds, although he is good. If Gilbert was in his best form, he would make the race, but it is not the case.”

Vanendert is clearly not ruling out his rival, but believes that he is beatable today. In fact, Gilbert has had a setback in the race, being caught up in a crash and expending energy in chasing back on to the peloton. It remains to be seen if that will cost him in the finale, but the situation is not ideal.

In 2012 Vanendert finished just behind Enrico Gasparotto and was ahead of Peter Sagan, netting second in the Classic. It was a fine result, and he has based the first part of his season around trying to be in the best shape possible for today.

However he was recently ill and missed the Vuelta al Pais Vasco as a result. It means that he hasn’t raced since Tirreno-Adriatico, putting him a little in the dark as regards his form. He was feeling relatively confident prior to the start that he could be a challenger, though.

One factor he is aware of is the changes to the finish; the line comes almost two kilometres after the summit of the Caubert, replicating the finale of the world road race championships. There are also other changes to the route which will shake things up.

He’s a good climber, but not a recognised sprinter. Because of that, he will have to play things out differently if he is to hit the line first after the flatter finish.

“To win, I need to be solo,” he accepted. “Gilbert and Sagan are the favorites, but after that there are about ten riders who are able to play a role in the race. I hope to be one of them.”


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