By Antonio J. Salmerón
After a solid showing at the Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country), Alejandro Valverde has the form to win Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, according to his Caisse d'Epargne director Eusebio Unzúe. "Valverde has demonstrated many times before that once he reaches peak form, he is capable of winning any race," Unzúe told Cyclingnews.
Of the three remaining Spring Classics, Unzúe believes that Valverde would prefer victory at Amstel over repeat wins in either Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "It would be the Amstel," he said. "Because Valverde has still not won it. The difficulty of its finale suits him very well."
Caisse d'Epargne were hoping for more success in the Basque tour but weren't expecting such a strong field at the ProTour event. "It is true that we went there to win a stage or reach the podium," continued Unzúe. "But not all these objectives could be satisfied, because our rivals were already in an advanced state of form; circumstances that had not happened before. Valverde was there purely to prepare for the Spring Classics."
Caisse d'Epargne's roster for the remaining Classics has not yet been finalised, although Unzúe expects Joaquím Rodriguez to support Valverde after his strong performance in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year.