Maxime Monfort dreams of a victory a la Vansummeren Sunday in Liege
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Maxime Monfort dreams of a victory a la Vansummeren Sunday in Liege

by Jered Gruber at 9:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Leopard Trek rider could get the chance to ride for victory if he gets up the road early

Johan Vansummeren's win at Paris-Roubaix will always be one for the tall Belgian and his team to fondly remember, but the win is doing more than just entering into Roubaix's storied record book - it's inspiring other top riders that sit just below the top rung.

In the case of this weekend's Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Maxime Monfort, fits the profile perfectly of an x-factor rider that can shine within a team of superstars.

The native of Bastogne, which lies at the southern tip of La Doyenne's figure eight route, is first and foremost excited about his home race and about his vaunted teammates's chances in the spring's final Monument.

"I'm definitely ambitious for Liege-Bastogne-Liege," says the Luxembourger to the Gazet van Antwerpen. "More for my Leopard team than myself though. That makes sense with the Schlecks in your team."

After taking care of that point of business, the tone of trusty teammate of stars like Andy and Fränk Schleck allows himself a moment to see a scenario where it could be his own arms raised aloft Sunday afternoon in Ans.

"But you know, Paris-Roubaix gave me an idea. Why not try to do what Vansummeren managed. Hushovd was the leader, but in the end, the break took it. I dream of that."

It will likely take a stellar effort from a rider like Monfort or Voigt or Wegmann to topple the current king, Philippe Gilbert. A head to head duel with Gilbert will almost certainly end in failure for any of the favorites, but a strong team, in the vein of Garmin-Cervelo, could derail Gilbert's hopes of winning all three Ardennes Classics…and the Brabantse Pijl.

Even if the Bayern Rundfahrt winner's dream were to come true, he says it wouldn't change anything for him - he'd still be a hard working teammate.

"My dream is a long way off. It would be a great moment, but then I would take my familiar place within the squad again. I realize that I will never be a rider for the Classics."

While a repeat of the scenario that saw Vansummeren to glory in Hell seems unlikely, a victory from a rider like Monfort would be the result of a perfectly executed team plan from Leopard Trek, which has to involve putting solid riders up the road and putting pressure on Gilbert.


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