Mario Aerts was the last Belgian winner of the Fleche Wallonne in 2002. Last Sunday the Davitamon-Lotto rider was the best Belgian in the Amstel Gold Race, finishing 26th. He is convinced that the Ardennes classics are more his type of races.
"In the Gold Race all those climbs are hardly longer than a few hundred meters," Aerts is quoted saying in the Belgian press. "A hectic, especially explosive situation. That's why the Ardennes classics are different; it causes a different type of racing.
"I'm going to start with full power in the legs," he told HLN. Thanks to the care of the team's physio David Bombeke, Aerts' left leg is completely free of the pain that troubled him last Sunday. "But it will be hard in any case. The explosiveness which I could use to go on the Mur de Huy three, four years ago is gone. I'll have to anticipate and make sure I get away before the last climb. Because I know it's a lost cause if I arrive there in the company of guys like Schleck, Bettini, Rebellin, Di Luca or Basso."
His teammate Bjorn Leukemans claims to have had super legs in Amstel, but a shortage of "fast" sugars didn't allow him to show those in the finale. "It's a shame. Because no-one had gotten away from me on the Eyserbosweg otherwise.
"I'll see how I feel (today). It should go better today, and the knowledge that nothing is wrong with my form gives me confidence. L-B-L more important? No, if I can win Fleche Wallonne, I won't let it go."