Fabio Aru will be present at the start of the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The Astana rider will have the leadership in his team and even if the Tour de France is his major goal for this season he wants like to be competitive in the Ardennes classics.
“The Amstel Gold Race wasn’t on my original race programme but I wanted to add it to get into the feel of the Ardennes”, the Italian told Gazzetta dello Sport. “My form is pretty good but its difficult to make any kind of comparison because I’ve never tried to peak in April. My big goal is to be 100% for the Tour de France in July. For now I’m a bit below that.”
He had to withdraw the recent Vuelta a Pais Vasco after a crash where he hurt his finger. “I had some good days but also some bad days, when I made mistakes. I wanted to test my form but I did too much. Fortunately Pais Vasco gave me a good block of hard racing. I was just disappointed not to finish because I’d never quit a stage race in my whole career, even as an amateur. It happened because of a crash but it still angers me.”
He hopes to be aggressive on Dutch roads on Sunday. “I’ve never raced here before and so I’m going to keep my feet on the groun. I’ve also never ridden the Tour de France but stage races are different and something I know about. I‘ll ride the Ardennes in the hope of success but without any stress, knowing I’ve done the work in training.”
“The Amstel Gold Race seems a pretty nervous kind of race and so suits expert riders, perhaps Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege suited me better. Fleche has an explosive finish, while Liege suits me because it’s about a fight for survival. I’ve ridden Il Lombardia three times and the Clasica San Sebastian once, the racing in the Ardennes is all new to me.”
He will keep a close eyes on Simon Gerrans, Samuel Sanchez and Michal Kwiatkowski. “Gerrans seemed on form in the Pais Vasco and he knows how to ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege because he’s won it. Samuel Sanchez of BMC looked sharp too. Valverde will also be a key rider to watch and I’m sure he’ll be on form despite not riding the Pais Vasco. I’ll also be watching Michal Kwiatkowski. He’s on form and won the Amstel Gold Race last year.”
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Amstel Gold Race ardennes Astana classics Fabio Aru Tour de France