Defending Paris-Roubaix champion Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) recons key sections of the route.
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Leopard Trek rider promises not to ride against Gilbert
Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) will ride the Amstel Gold Race for the first time since 2004 but insisted in a personal column in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad he feels "As feel as free as a bird" and not under pressure to get a result.
Cancellara is part of a powerful Leopard Trek team that is expected to be captained by Andy and Frank Schleck with key support from Jens Voigt, Fabian Wegmann, Jakob Fuglsang and Maxime Monfort.
"It is 2004 since I was at the start," Cancellara said.
"I'll be heading to Maastricht feeling very differently. The massive pressure that has been on my shoulders for weeks has gone. I feel reborn alongside the Schlecks."
"After Roubaix I flicked a switch in my head. I wasn't even bothered about training for five and half hours at 11 degrees. I'm a happy Fabian."
"On Saturday to refresh my mind I'll ride the last 40km of the route. Of course I know the Eyserbosweg, the Keutenberg and the Cauberg. But do I know them in the right order? Nope."
Cancellara said Philippe Gilbert is the huge favourite for a second consecutive victory at the Amstel Gold Race and suggested he could be the 'Cancellara of the Ardennes' and be marked out of the race by his main rivals. However he promised not to race negatively against Gilbert to stop him winning.
"I'm curious to see how Gilbert will deal with the pressure. After the Brabantse Pijl, he's become the Cancellara of the Ardennes. The way Gilbert won on Wednesday, reminded me of my victory in the E3," he said.
"Like me in E3, he had fewer rivals in Overijse that he will face on Sunday. But he shouldn't be afraid of me riding on his wheel. That's not my style of racing. I actually wish him the best of luck."
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