By claiming his first Spring Classic victory at the 2008 Flèche Wallonne, Kim Kirchen has risen to a new level in the professional peloton. On the eve of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé caught up with the Luxemburger to talk about his recent triumph and future goals this season.
As much as Wednesday's win was a breakthrough moment in the career of Kim Kirchen, the 29 year-old insisted that experience in previous editions was important for his success. Having ridden the race in both dry and wet weather in years past, Kirchen knew exactly where the danger areas were, and which riders to follow in the finale.
"Flèche Wallonne is a fast race right from the start," he said. "For me it was good because I know the course and I know where I need to be in front. I know the descents and the tricky corners. It was very dangerous when it started to rain but I already did the race in the rain so I had some experience.
"I attacked last year [before the Mur] and it didn't work. It was a bit risky to wait and stay with guys like Rebellin for the Mur but sometimes you have to take risks. Maybe I was a little bit lucky because the three leaders [Fabian Wegmann, Alexander Efimkin and Gustav Erik Larsson] had a nice gap and it wasn't easy to get it all together."
Battling cycling's big guns up the Mur de Huy after 200 kilometres is sure to put a sting in anyone's legs, and Kirchen admitted that he's needed a few days to recover from Wednesday's effort. "Yesterday I felt a little bit tired," he said, "but today everything is fine. I think you need at least three days to recover."
To read the full interview, click here.