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Sánchez relishing Ardennes tests

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) counts up his wins.

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) counts up his wins. (Image credit:

Euskaltel-Euskadi team leader Samuel Sánchez says that he will go into this week’s Ardennes Classics with high hopes for his team’s chances. Although slightly off the pace at Amstel Gold last weekend, Sánchez believes he and co-leader Igor Antón can have an impact in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Speaking to Cyclingnews, Sánchez described his form as "pretty good" going into his Classics campaign. "I came out of the Tour of the Basque Country well. I was a bit disappointed with the final time trial because I didn’t have a good day, but I’ll be going to Belgium with a lot of desire and expectation," he said.

"I’ve been second at Flèche, fourth in Liège. I love races like those and Amstel because racing there is pure cycling. There’s no great strategy involved, it’s just you against the rest, and them against you. In addition, they really appreciate their cycling in Belgium," said Sánchez.

Sánchez finished fourth in Flèche Wallonne two years ago and runner-up in 2006. He believes his team has a good chance of bettering those performances this year as they have two strong cards to play with Igor Antón also lining up. Last year Antón finished fourth at Flèche and sixth in Liège.

"It’s a big plus to have Igor in the team for any race as he’s come on a huge amount," Sánchez explained. "We will perhaps miss him in the team for the Tour de France, but the team needs to be split up in order to do the Giro and the Vuelta as well as the Tour, so we can’t race every event together. But I think we can be phenomenal in these [Ardennes] races."