Second in last year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège despite crashing out of Amstel Gold the Sunday before, 2012 Flèche Wallone winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) says he is in top form for the forthcoming Ardennes Classics.
Rodriguez was not best pleased that his flight to Belgium out of Spain was delayed by three hours on Friday, however, but on arrival the recent winner of the Volta a Catalunya told the Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure that he was “in great shape” following a spell of training at altitude in the Canaries.
“I’m expecting a lot from this part of the season, Liège is my number one goal of 2014,” Rodriguez added. “Of course a week earlier my form won’t be any worse, and if I can win Amstel, I will not let the occasion pass me by.”
Rodriguez finished in second place at Amstel Gold Race in 2011, beaten by the on-form Philippe Gilbert as he was at Flèche Wallonne three days later. The Catalan claimed a maiden classic victory at Flèche Wallonne the following year, but was beaten by Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) in a thrilling finale at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last season.
Rodriguez will be joined in Katusha’s line-up for Amstel Gold Race by Dani Moreno, winner of Flèche Wallone last year. Moreno was elevated to the role of team leader for that race following Rodriguez’s setback at Amstel last year, and the pair should again form a dangerous double act in the finale in Valkenburg on Sunday.