For years, BMC sports director Valerio Piva’s hotel near Liège has been a favourite location for teams to stay during the Ardennes Classics with one reason amongst the more superstitious for choosing it being that its ‘lucky room 11’ has had many winners of the three races as its guests.
Room 11’s list of successful guests ranges from Dani Moreno last year in Flèche Wallone all the way back to Mario Cipollini in 2002, prior to triumphing in the Worlds at nearby Zolder, double Liège-Bastogne-Liège victor Michele Bartoli in the 1990s and fellow Italian Moreno Argentin, who won La Doyenne four times.
Last year Moreno told Cyclingnews after winning Flèche Wallonne: “I’m not usually superstitious but I’m getting that way, I think we’re going to end up buying the room.” It’s perhaps not by chance, then, that with Katusha staying in the same hotel, he and ‘Purito’ Rodriguez are once again in room 11.
After moving to BMC from Katusha as a director, Piva said “my team’s not staying there this year” – Katusha and Cannondale having opted to do so – “so it’s Moreno and Purito who’ve got the room again. Purito was in there in 2012, too, when he won Fleche.”
However, Piva was uncertain if the room’s good luck would continue into 2014, speculating “We’ve had the room refurbished and repainted over the winter, so maybe the luck will have finally dried up now!” Come a week on Sunday, there will be a more definitive answer to his theory.