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Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde of Gamin-Cervelo
Garmin-Cervélo rider confident despite pollen problems
Ryder Hesjedal was suffering from allergies due to the spring pollen in Belgium, but after completing his reconnaissance of the key part of the Liège - Bastogne - Liège race route on Friday, he told Cyclingnews he is ready to race.
Hesjedal can count on the support of experienced teammates Christian Vande Velde and David Millar, although Dan Martin is struggling with a painful elbow after his crash at Flèche Wallonne. Frenchman Christophe Le Mevel is expected to share leadership and protected status at Garmin-Cervélo after finishing eighth at Flèche Wallonne.
Hesjedal finished twelfth in last year's Liège - Bastogne - Liège but is confident of doing better this year.
"We did the recon and did a great ride. The weather is holding in nice and the team is really good," he told Cyclingnews in a video interview at the official team presentation.
"It was the best recon I've ever done. I felt really good, so it's easy today and hoping it's all good on Sunday."
Hesjedal said he will be extra vigilant during the tough trio of climbs in the finale of the race. The key selection is expected to occur there, as Leopard Trek and other riders try to isolate Philippe Gilbert on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons.
"That's where it happened in the last two years and I'm going to have my eyes wide open and hope my legs are good enough to be at the front and be part of the race there. There's a lot of hard racing before that, too".
Hesjedal said he will be watching more than just Gilbert.
"There's more than Gilbert out there, if everyone tries to ride against one guy, I don't know if that's the best tactic," he said. "There are a lot of great teams in the race and a lot of riders are ready. We'll play our cards as best we can and go from there."