Trio has high hopes for next three Classics
World champion Rui Costa, Damiano Cunego and Diego Ulissi will lead Lampre Merida at the Ardennes Classics, including Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Costa was cautiously optimistic about the upcoming trio of races.
"Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm ambitious, but also realistic," said Costa. "Opponents are strong, we'll try hard to do our best. In the Ardenne Classics, I hope to be better than in Vuelta al Pais Vasco. I worked hard to be well physically for these Classics, and I'll give my best, as I always do in every race."
"The Ardenne Classics are important races, I really love to take part in them. Me and Team Lampre-Merida will do our utmost to honor the rainbow jersey and the team's sponsors."
Cunego, on the other hand, has made the podium at all three races in the past. "I love the Ardenne Classics, and I have always managed to be competitive," said Cunego. "This year, one of the main goals was the Ardenne Classics week, that's why I worked in order to be ready to face Amstel, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege."
"In Vuelta al Pais Vasco, I had felt very good and the feedback I got was amazing, so I only ask to have luck to try to be a protagonist."
Ulissi, the third star in the Lampre-Merida Ardennes line-up, said, "My morale is very good, I want to fight on every meter to prove our team is strong: Rui Costa, Cunego and my high quality teammates can really be protagonists in the Ardennes."
"This is the fourth year I am facing the Ardenne Classics. Each season I added experience to my profile, so I think I could be ready to have a place among the top cyclists, maybe especially in Fleche Wallone."
Amstel Gold line-up on April 20: Matteo Bono, Mattia Cattaneo, Cunego, Kristijan Durasek, Nelson Oliveira, Costa, Rafael Valls, Ulissi.
Fleche Wallone line-up on April 23: Bono, Cattaneo, Cunego, Durasek, Oliveira, Costa, Valls, Ulissi.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege line-up on April 27: Bono, Cattaneo, Cunego, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Oliveira, Costa, Valls, Ulissi.
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