Following his second-place finish last year, Tom Pidcock takes to Sunday's Amstel Gold Race as one of the main favourites, perhaps only behind 2019 winner and home favourite Mathieu van der Poel.
However, the Briton's chances of moving up to the top step of the podium look to have taken a hit after he admitted that he has been suffering with illness in the lead-up to the race.
"I've been ill this week, which has been very frustrating in the least," he said. "I tried everything to stay healthy, but it just seems a bit like pot luck at the moment.
"But I'm on the start line and I'll do my best today," he concluded.
The 22-year-old missed March's Strade Bianche with a stomach problem and then withdrew midway through Milan-San Remo with the same issue after being dropped from the peloton on the Capi climbs.
He returned to action a week later at Gent-Wevelgem and placed third at Dwars door Vlaanderen before a 14th place at the Tour of Flanders last week. Pidcock had suggested that the 272km distance at Flanders might be a factor for him at the race following his illness, with the 254km and 33 hills at Amstel Gold Race also throwing up a question mark before he revealed his recent illness.
Despite the illness, Pidcock said he'd try to enjoy the day's racing, though whether he'll be in the mix for the top places on the final trio of climbs – the Cauberg, Geulhemmerberg, and Bemelberg – remains to be seen.
"This is a really nice race," he said. "I love riding around here. I love the race here. It's kind of new for me because we didn't do this course last year. So, I can use the experience of the other guys and try and enjoy it."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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