Joaquim Rodríguez uncertain for Flèche Wallonne defence after Amstel Gold crash
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Joaquim Rodríguez uncertain for Flèche Wallonne defence after Amstel Gold crash

by Ben Atkins at 2:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Injury
 
Thigh contusion for Catalan rider could call a halt to Ardennes campaign

joaquim rodriguezJoaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) is now uncertain whether he is to start Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne after a crash in the Amstel Gold Race today. The Catalan rider came down in a crash with 43km to go and sustained a “strong contusion at the left femoral biceps muscle,” according to his team, and may not be fit to defend the race that he won 12 months ago.

“Purito” finished second in the 2011 edition of Amstel Gold, but was unable to finish today’s race after his crash. He was taken to hospital in Maastricht - the Limburg,Netherlands city where the race began - where scans identified the contusion. Katusha’s medical staff will now decide on the Spanish rider’s recovery time, and whether he will be fit in time to defend his Flèche title.

Should the injury be deemed serious enough, he also faces missing Liège-Bastogne-Liège next Sunday, meaning he would take nothing from this season’s Ardennes Classics.

So far this season Rodríguez’ result’s have been very similar to those of 2012, with stage victories in the Tour of Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico, and an overall second place in the Volta a Catalunya, his home race. These races were carrying the WorldTour champion towards his first major targets of the season, in the Ardennes Classics, where he was expecting to perform at a similar level to last year.

Last year’s Flèche Wallonne saw Rodríguez outpace the rest of the race favourites in the fierce climb of the Mur de Huy to the finish. Should be be any less than 100% fit after today’s crash, the Catalan would be highly unlikely to be able to repeat this. Should he miss Wednesday’s race, he may be fit for Liège on Sunday, but the less fearsome finish makes it a race which suits him less well.

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