Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) is only just beginning to get his season back on track after a crash in the team's pre-season training camp in Israel, and subsequent bout of flu kept the Dane off the bike for more than a month. Now recovered, the 26-year-old has his eyes set toward rediscovering his racing legs in time for the Ardennes classics in April.
"I'm now back on par with the rest of the boys but I just have to face the fact that I'll peak a little later than first planned," said Sørensen. "The crash was one thing, but the flu really drained me of energy and made me cough like a 'sea lion', now I'm hoping to be back to my best for Catalunya."
There is arguably extra pressure on Sorensen to step up this year after the suspension of team leader Alberto Contador, which has left Saxo Bank scrambling to make up a gulf in the team's balance of valuable UCI points.
Sorensen finished 12th overall in last year's Vuelta a Espana and is considered by team manager Bjarne Riis as a strong prospect for the team's ambitions come April, May, June and July. The climber added that he hoped the later start to the season would be beneficial to his hunt for success in La Fleche Wallone, or Liege-Bastogne-Liege in two months time.
"Liege-Bastogne-Liege is a big ambition of mine this spring. I hope to be able to better the sixth place from last year's edition of the race. I know it's going to be difficult in an extremely high quality field but when I've been able to do it before, there's a good chance I can do it again."
After the Ardennes, Sørensen will skip the Giro, before building for a bid at the Danish national championships in his hometown of Hammel before the Tour de France.