GreenEdge leader chasing his next targets, the Ardennes Classics
Simon Gerrans heads into Sunday's Amstel Gold Race as one of the favourites, but the GreenEdge rider is unconcerned about being marked out of the 256.5 kilometre Dutch classic.
Gerrans has already won two WorldTour events in 2012, kicking off the season by taking victory in the Santos Tour Down Under for the second time, and then outkicking Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) at Milan-San Remo.
Having recorded a seventh (2009) and then third place last season, it's no surprise that the 31-year-old has made his ambitions clear about Amstel Gold Race as he bids to become only the second Australian to win the event, following his mentor, Phil Anderson (1983). Gerrans will then sit out Flèche Wallone in order to be fresh for Liège-Bastogne-Liège where he's finished 12th the last two years after finishing sixth in 2009.
"We have a really competitive team at the Ardennes but we're by no means the favourites," Gerrans told Cyclingnews. "There's a couple of teams there that are really powerhouse teams that have several leaders."
The Milan-San Remo winner will lead GreenEdge on Sunday, racing alongside compatriots Matt Wilson, Wes Sulzberger, Simon Clarke, Vuelta Ciclista a Pais Vasco stage winner Daryl Impey, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya winner Michael Albasini and Jens Mouris – but Gerrans doesn't believe the team will be viewed as a major threat.
"We can sort of go away, do our race quietly and at the end of the day I think we'll be right up there and amongst the results," he mused. "I don't think we'll be marked out by any means.
"The races are so selective," he continued. "It's generally the guys who have the best legs at the end of the day that get the results. You can mark guys out, it's always handy to have the numbers and possibilities towards the end of the race, but they're pretty honest races."
In 2011 Gerrans, down on form, may not have had the kick to go with a storming Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) on the Cauberg but he was strong enough to stay ahead of Jacob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and make it onto the podium.
No doubt that with form on his side in 2012, Gerrans will be hoping to be the rider taking the initiative when it comes to the final ascent of the Cauberg.
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