Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez says he is confident of a top result at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and that his Amstel Gold injury - very heavy bruising on his upper thigh from a crash - that left him slightly on the backfoot on Wednesday’s Fleche Wallonne is barely an issue now.
“The pressure on the team to get a result has lowered anyway, we’ve got a really good win already this week after Dani [Moreno] took Fleche Wallonne but I’m really motivated to try and get a good result here,” Rodriguez, second in the 2009 Liege-Bastogne-Liege behind Andy Schleck, said at Saturday’s team presentation.
“I’ve always worked well with Dani” - his room-mate and friend as well as team-mate - “and although he’s taken a big step forward at Fleche that’s not going to change.”
His injury, he says, “is much better but not 100 percent recovered, the bruise has come out and we’ve done the whole 100 kilometres reconnaissance of the last part of Liege” - from just after the Cote de Wanne, immediately before the Stockeu, the first really difficult Liege climb - “without any problems.”
“With the weather being so much better and the change of climb” - Roche aux Faucons has been replaced by the Cote de Colonster - “it’s going to be a very fast race. That new ascent is not half as hard as the Roche aux Faucons.”
However, Rodriguez refuses to automatically accept the very popular idea that there will definitely be 50 riders in the front group at the foot of the Cote de Saint Nicolas as a result of the route change.
“You can’t say that, this is Liege-Bastogne-Liege, it’s a very hard race and anything can happen. There are a lot of people out there who like to make predictions about bike races, but most of the time they’re wrong.”