After a cobbled classic campaign littered with bad luck and a lack of results, Lotto Belisol will be hoping to improve on their fragile but growing momentum in the Amstel Gold Race after Tony Gallopin finished third in De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne.
The Belgian squad came into the Classics with high hopes with Andre Greipel, Jurgen Roetlands and new signing Gallopin looking to lead the line. However all three suffered crashes during the spring.
"We had a lot of bad luck but now we enter a new phase of races with new riders and new chances," team manager Marc Sergeant told Cyclingnews on the eve of Amstel.
"It started in Argentina when we lost Jelle Vanendert then we had Jurgen Van Den Broeck go down in Tirreno-Adriatico and open up his knee again. The most important was André Greipel who crashed in Gent-Wevelgem because he could have won that race.
"Then Jurgen Roetlands crashed in Flanders. It's a long list and it's always been the top riders. Tony Gallopin, he also crashed twice as well but he survived and was third in Brabançonne despite having a puncture with 5km to go. That gives us a bit of hope."
Sergeant will be looking for more than just hope from his team during the Ardennes races. The squad have not tasted victory in exactly a month and although Van Den Broeck is yet to regain his top form, Gallopin and Vanendert will be expected to return decent results.
"From the riders we have Gallopin is the fastest and if he can make the lead group then I think he can end up with a top five in Amstel. The others in Vanendert and Van den Broek, Wellens, we have a few good ones, they have to win alone."
I still think Van den Broeck still isn't 100 per cent," Sergeant added. "I think Vanendert is pretty close to it but Wellens was sick so he might not be up there in Amstel but I hope he can be a factor in Fleche."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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