Mitchelton-Scott has announced its team for the Amstel Gold Race with former winner Roman Kreuziger and Michael Albasini as its co-captains. Kreuziger held off the charging peloton for a solo win in 2013 while Albasini was third last year.
The complete will be completed by Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Chris Juul-Jensen, and Carlos Verona.
"Amstel has been a happy hunting group for us in the past, we have been on the podium in the race multiple times and Albasini was on the podium last year. We are going to be competitive and we have guys who can get into the breakaway and get a result," said sports director Matt White.
"It will be only the second time that the Cauberg isn't in the final of the race in the modern era.It doesn't seem much, but it changes the race a lot. Forcing guys to look to be in moves a lot early than in the past. The hardest part of Amstel is around 45 kilometres to go when four climbs come in close succession and the race winning break is likely to go in this area."
Looking at the list of favourites for the race, White suggested his team will start as outsiders considering the depth of potential winners who will line out for the Dutch one-day classic.
"For me there are two clear favourites for Sunday, Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), because both of them have shown they have incredible form and both will be confident of going to the line with nearly anyone in a sprint as well," he added. "Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is also on the start list so this also adds another dimension to the race."
Kreuziger, 31, comes into the race fresh after a break of racing post-Paris-Nice and with a number of top-20 results at the race despite the changes, the Czech rider is confident of success.
"We did the different finish last year with a short cut from the roundabout at the top before going straight to the finish, it makes the race different especially for the climbers. It makes it more interesting and makes the races start much much sooner," Kreuziger explained.
"Even without the final climb of the Cauberg, the race will be reduced and I think we will come with maximum 15 - 20 riders to the finish line. I am very motivated, looking forward to the race and putting the numbers on my back."
For Impey, Amstel Gold Race is one race, in particular, he builds his season around and with good form ahead of the Ardennes, the South African national champion is chasing his first top-ten result.
"Amstel is one of my favourite races, I have always liked it, it’s like being in an arcade game for six hours. It has so many elements to it and it isn’t so predictable which makes the race," said Impey. "You have to take your chance and I want to have a good result there. We have a strong team lining up and I’m looking forward to the start of the Ardennes."
Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of Amstel Gold Race, Sunday 15 April followed by complete race coverage, and news and reaction from Valkenburg, Limburg.
Mitchelton-Scott for Amstel Gold Race: Michael Albasini, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Daryl Impey, Chris Juul-Jensen, Roman Kreuziger and Carlos Verona.
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