Caisse d'Epargne pair Valverde-Sánchez ready for Flèche Wallonne
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Caisse d'Epargne pair Valverde-Sánchez ready for Flèche Wallonne

by Bjorn Haake at 12:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Flèche Wallonne

The Caisse d'Epargne pair of Alejandro Valverde and Luis León Sánchez is getting ready for tomorrow's Flèche Wallonne. The whole team did a reconnaissance ride on Tuesday and hopes to at least get a chance to be competitive.

There were only three riders of the Spanish squad at the start line for the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday - they even needed a special UCI permission. "It is a real pity that we were unable to compete in the Amstel Gold Race," said Sánchez at a pre-race press conference. The volcano which grounded virtually all air travel in Europe over the weekend prevented most Caisse d'Epargne riders to travel to the Netherlands on time.

But the full team takes the start line tomorrow. "At least now we are in here in Liège and we need to think about Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, two of the most beautiful races on the world calendar," Sánchez said.

The travel was still quite an ordeal for most of the Spaniards. "On Sunday, we did a long workout before starting our journey by car. Now we have the desire to race tomorrow."

Sánchez thinks that the first hour will be important. "It will give us a sign how the body has recovered. I hope that all will go well and I am starting the race with the intention to be competitive, together with my teammate Alejandro Valverde."

Valverde is also ready. "We did the last 60km of the new Flèche parcours," Valverde explained. "With the second climb of the Mur de Huy just 30km from the finish and the Ereffe just eleven kilometers from the line, the race will be tougher and more open than in the past. I think that favors our team."

Sánchez is still skeptical, as other strong riders will try to eliminate the dangerous Caisse d'Epargne duo. "It won't be easy, as riders like [Philippe] Gilbert [winner of the Amstel Gold Race -ed.], [Damiano] Cunego, the Schleck brothers [Frank and Andy] and others who did well are more the favorites than we are. They already have the race rhythm of the Dutch classic in their legs," Sánchez mused. "At any rate, we will be there, pedaling over a new course that promises a nervous and selective race."


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