Team Sky's Froome discusses his lead up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Team Sky's Froome discusses his lead up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège

by VeloNation Press at 12:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège , Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne

The Ardennes Classics didn't start off as well as Team Sky's Chris Froome would have liked.  The British rider was in Italy expecting to fly north to The Netherlands for the start of the Amstel Gold Race, but like so many others, his flight was canceled due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland.  Rather than sit at home and watch the race on television, Froome decided to improvise.

"I headed to Florence airport but at the last minute my flight was canceled because of the volcanic ash so I headed home, jumped in the car and started a 1,300km drive to get to Amstel," he said on the Team Sky website.

"In the end it took 14-and-a-half hours and I didn't get there until after midnight. I then got up at 7am the next morning to do Amstel. It wasn't ideal but surprisingly my legs felt alright and it wasn't too bad," he said.

Three days later he went into the Flèche Wallonne under much better circumstances.  He built on Sunday's experience by covering the early break in order to give the team an easier ride to the finish.

"We'd talked about it beforehand and we felt it was important to have someone there for those breaks," he explained. "It also just takes the pressure off the team to chase, it's always a good situation having someone up the road.

"I don't think the team's display as a whole was fully reflected in the final result on Wednesday - I actually think it was one of our best performances in terms of working together as a unit.

"The whole plan was to work together, close to the front, looking after each other. It's one thing to talk about it but it's hardly ever possible."

The first-year ProTour squad has been impressive so far this year and, under the tutelage of the team's highly experienced senior sports director Scott Sunderland, they will continue to solidify with each passing race.  On the eve of the final spring Classic, Froome thinks Team Sky is poised to make something happen in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"I think tomorrow's race should be a little better suited to the riders we have here," he explained.

"We'll have to see how it pans out but I'm sure myself and everyone else will be really happy if we can ride as well as a group again as we did on Wednesday."

The Haute-Levée and Vecquée climbs have been eliminated this year due to road construction, and replaced by the Col du Maquisard and the Mont-Theux.  Froome believes the changes will make the final sequence of climbs all the more critical.

"260km on its own is never easy and then riding in the Ardennes on narrow country roads makes it an even harder test.

"I actually think this year's route will leave the guys a little bit fresher, it's not going to break up the peloton as badly as it has in previous years. There's more space to recover and for guys to get back after the initial climbs.

"Personally I think it will put more tension on the second part of the race towards the end. There are going to be more riders coming into the final 50km but that also means that those climbs are probably going to be harder as a result."

Team Sky will bring a strong line-up to the race that includes Thomas Löfqvist, Bradley Wiggins, Simon Gerrans and Lars-Peter Nordhaug.  Gerrans finished a strong sixth last year, but after a strong showing in the Vuelta a Andalucia, he hasn't had the strong performances leading up to the race as he did in 2009.


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