Fuglsang hangs tight in Romandie after punishing Ardennes campaign

'It wasn't easy, especially with Liège still in my legs'

A few hours after finishing tenth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) began his second race of the day as he rushed from Belgium to Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie. Barely 48-hours separated the two races, with the Dane eventually finishing 60th in the prologue.

Three days into the race, the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné winner has started to find his race rhythm. On stage 2, he finished 20th in the main bunch behind Thomas de Gendt's solo win, and on Wednesday he made the first group on stage 1 and was part of the Astana team that helped set up Omar Fraile for the stage win.

"Yesterday was a hard day. With the wind and the climbs, it wasn't easy, especially with Liège still in my legs. In the end, I felt a little bit better, so that's something and it was a nice victory for Omar and the team. We worked for him in the sprint, and it was the right decision," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews before the start of stage 2.

He has centred his season around the Tour de France in July, and his form throughout 2018 has been consistently high. He made the top ten in both Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with 16th in La Flèche Wallonne his only slight blemish. The 33-year-old's stage racing form has been as impressive with third overall in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, backed up by fourth in Ruta del Sol and 14th in a tough edition of Paris-Nice.

The six-day Tour de Romandie is Fuglsang's next pre-Tour de France marker, and although he conceded 25 seconds in the prologue, he remains a threat for the top GC placings.

"Of course, I'd like to do well. I paid a bit in the prologue because of Liège and the travel here, but we'll have to see. I try and save myself as much as possible. The uphill time trial is going to be decisive because there's no other mountaintop or uphill finish in the race. The prologue already made a difference. There could be some really aggressive racing though, so if you race smart then you might be able to create opportunities," he said.

With the Tour moving dates this year by a week due to the FIFA World Cup, Fuglsang will skip a Dauphiné defence and instead race the Tour de Suisse as his final tune-up before the Tour.

"Form-wise, I'm maybe not that far away from last year's Dauphiné. Weight-wise I'm a little bit from there. After this, I'll have a break and have some time to find that bit extra. It's all about the Tour after that, but I'll do Suisse as well. Suisse is now in the spot of the Dauphiné, in relation to the Tour. There's also the team time trial in Suisse. There was in the Dauphiné, too, but we didn't know that until recently."

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