HTC-Highroad hoping to mix it up in Flèche Wallonne
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Monday, April 18, 2011

HTC-Highroad hoping to mix it up in Flèche Wallonne

by Ben Atkins at 4:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Flèche Wallonne
American team doesn’t want it to come down to a race up the Mur de Huy

michael albasiniHTC-Highroad is hoping to mix things up in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, to decide the race with long range attacks, rather than wait for the usual race up the Mur de Huy. The American team acknowledges that it doesn’t have a rider that can compete with the best on the up-to-25% slopes of the final climb to the finish and so hopes that the race can be won in a different way.

"We've got a strong squad of all-rounders, but we haven't really got a rider to make the all-out, uphill acceleration on the Mur that so often makes a difference in this race," explained HTC-Highroad sports director Valerio Piva, "So we'll adapt our strategy and we'll be looking for breaks from much further out.

"Each of the climbs earlier on offers a great opportunity for moves to form,” he added, “and we'll want our riders to make the most of them."

Should the team be unable to prevent the almost inevitable race up the Mur, the plan will changed and will work to support Michael Albasini. The Swiss rider finished tenth in last year’s race, in a small group of riders 11 seconds behind race winner Cadel Evans, and he represents HTC-Highroad’s best shot at a result this time around.

"Michael has good form but he was very unlucky at the Amstel Gold Race,” said Piva, “he punctured just before there was a big crash in the last hour and the road got blocked.

"He got back on again to the main group, but at that point in the race you always pay a high price for any extra effort and he couldn't quite stay up there at the end.

"Hopefully, though, Wednesday's race will have a different outcome."

HTC-Highroad for la Flèche Wallonne:
Michael Albasini, Caleb Fairly, Patrick Gretsch, Craig Lewis, Tony Martin, Marco Pinotti, Kanstantsin Sivtsov and Tejay Van Garderen.


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