The Spring Classics season enters its last lap with Sunday's Liège- Bastogne-Liège, the oldest of cycling’s five monuments. After convincing but unsuccessful performances at the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne, T-Mobile is now looking to the third and final round of the Ardennes Classics series to score a victory.
The German squad, which won the team classification at the other two hilly classics, have moved up to second spot in the ProTour ranking. "With our strong squad, the odds are good for Liège," said Patrik Sinkewitz, who finished in fifth in the Netherlands and Belgium respectively. For Sunday’s looping 262km trip through the steep pine-wooded valleys and high plateaux of the Ardennes, ‘Sinki’ will be accompanied once again by Matthias Kessler, Kim Kirchen, Thomas Ziegler and the two veterans Eddy Mazzoleni and Steffen Wesemann, who was a strong runner-up at the Amstel Gold Race.
Reigning ITT World Champion Mick Rogers and climbing specialist Bernhard Kohl round out the eight-man magenta roster. "Of the five biggest cycling monuments, Liège is certainly the toughest," said sports director Valerio Piva, who believes the race has come at the right time for his team. "Patrik, Steffen, Matze or Eddy Mazzoleni, too - the riders have proved that the form is just fine and we have the right option for every situation," he added.
"This is going to be the toughest race in the series," confirmed the 25 year-old Sinkewitz. "The climbs are longer, albeit not that steep. Plus, there’s no time for rest."
Matthias Kessler, who finished 12th last year after working hard for teammate and race winner Alexander Vinokourov added, "You are always at the limit and need to be constantly on the lookout, or you’ll be instantly dropped on some of the climbs."
The T-Mobile roster in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, April 23 will be: Matthias Kessler, Kim Kirchen, Bernhard Kohl, Eddy Mazzoleni, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Steffen Wesemann and Thomas Ziegler.