Despite a disappointing start to his 2010 season, Karsten Kroon believes he will be a contender in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. Kroon and his BMC remain without a win this season, but the Dutchman will draw confidence on the fact that World Champion Cadel Evans will be there to support him on Sunday.
Last year, Kroon finished second at Amstel behind Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) during the last of his four seasons with Saxo Bank. Now a part of the BMC squad, Kroon is looking forward to another strong performance at his home Classic.
"I wouldn’t call myself a favourite. There are a few guys that have proved they are already strong but I will be up there," Kroon told Cyclingnews after finishing 15th in Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday.
"I feel okay," he added. "Until now it’s been disappointing season. I’ve had few crashes and my preparation hasn’t been perfect, but I’m starting to feel better now."
Kroon’s bid to win Holland’s biggest race will be assisted by road world champion Cadel Evans, who has agreed to work for the 34-year-old on Sunday.
"Cadel had proved he’s one of the best riders already this year. He’ll be working for me but we’ll see how we both feel during the race. A few weeks ago he asked if I needed a domestique for Amstel," continued Kroon.
When asked if he will be sending Evans back to the team car to pick up bottles, the experienced Dutchman replied, "I will for sure, yeah. I have to take advantage of that."
Kroon is sitting on the back of an intense two-week block of training and used Wednesday’s race as preparation for Amstel. It’s the most important event of the season for Kroon, who lives 10 kilometres from the finish. During his time with Saxo Bank he asked Andy and Fränk Schleck to work for him in return for supporting them in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"It’s in the area where I live and I use those roads for training. It’s the biggest race in Holland so obviously it’s very important for me."
BMC might be without a win this season, but Kroon believes that the morale within the team is high and that any initial hiccups within the set-up have been resolved. Kroon was signed to bolster the team along with George Hincapie, Alessandro Ballan, Cadel Evans, Marcus Burghardt and Alexander Kristoff.
"It’s a really nice team, but it’s new so obviously we have some problems starting up. But it’s a really good group and we’ll make it work. We’re strong."