In recent years, winning several of the three Ardennes Classics has become a common theme, with Davide Rebellin's historic triple in 2004 and Danilo Di Luca's Amstel-Flèche double last year. This week, Alejandro Valverde continued the trend with victories in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the latter the first ever for a Spanish rider. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé attended the post-race press conference in Ans.
Cyclingnews: How difficult was it to motivate yourself for today's race?
Alejandro Valverde: This 'doble' is really like a dream to me, but obviously, it is more complicated than just dreaming it. My main advantage was that I did not have to worry about winning a classic after my victory in Huy, so I entered the finale very relaxed.
CN: You didn't react to any attacks - why was that?
AV: My teammate Rodriguez rode up front so it wasn't up to me to lead the chase; thanks to Joaquin's work, I could spare all my energy. Furthermore, when Bettini went after them, Joaquin was still our leader, as he could still win the race because he is very fast at the finish line. Team CSC had to chase to get back on those guys; that was good for me.
CN: Does this double classics victory allow you to go at ease to your next goals, the Tour de France and maybe the overall ProTour rankings?
AV: These are my next targets; that's true. The ProTour is very important but I am not going to change my program to gather more points in the overall ProTour rankings. Obviously, I want to do very well in the Tour de France; now I can go there with a tranquillity and serenity that I couldn't have if I didn't win one of these two races.
Click here for the full interview.