Maxime Monfort of the Leopard Trek team has been inspired by the recent race scenarios at the 2011 Spring Classics. Even though he is "just" a domestique to Fränk and Andy Schleck at the upcoming Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Belgian has ideas of his own that could perfectly fit into the overall race strategy of his team.
"Of course I'm ambitious for Liège," the climber told the Gazet van Antwerpen. "But more for my team Leopard than for myself, which is logical considering that the Schlecks are part of my squad."
Still, Monfort conceded that he could well imagine the event unfolding as surprisingly as the Tour of Flanders, won by Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank), or Paris-Roubaix taken by Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervélo). Both victories went to riders considered outsiders, racing in the shadow of the true favourites.
"You never know, Paris-Roubaix gave me some ideas. Why should I not be able to do what Vansummeren did? He had Hushovd as a leader, but he was in the early break that finally made it to the finish. That's what I dream about," admitted Montfort, who nevertheless remained realistic.
"It would be a fantastic moment, but afterwards I'd return to my spot inside the team. I know I could never become a real Classics rider."
Monfort's characteristics as a rider have made him more suited to week-long stage races and Grand Tours. He finished 11th in the 2007 Vuelta a Espana and won the 2010 Tour of Bavaria. Still, he knows that his greatest asset is that of being an excellent teammate to his leaders.
"Riders who win regularly have something more than Vansummeren and myself. We need a good portion of luck to snatch a race that favours us. I will never be on the level of someone like Gilbert, for instance."