What's Cool In Road Cycling

Amstel-Reactions: Crashes, Allergy and a funny pace

Amstel Gold Race is never easy. Twisting roads and shifting wind-directions. Narrow sections and a furious fight for positions. But for Tinkoff-Saxo, Amstel showed itself from its most troublesome side with Nicki Sørensen having to abandon the race due to a serious crash. Read how each rider from the team experienced the Dutch Ardennes Classic.

Roman Kreuziger:
I’m content with the race but not happy. It was a difficult final of the race with a big group arriving at the final on Cauberg. It’s not my specialty to sprint aggressively for short periods of time – I am a more durable climber and last years race therefore suited me much better. I have my focus on Liége-Bastogne-Liége, which is a race that I can do well in. And my result as 18th showed me that I’m in good condition ahead of next Sunday.

Chris Anker Sørensen:
I finished 37th today after a couple of weeks on training camp on Mount Etna. So I could easily feel that I’ve been pushing myself in high altitude for a long time. But it amazed me that every time I got dropped I managed to get back again to the front group. So I knew that I couldn’t expect a top-result here in Amstel but it was very important training and preparation ahead of Liége-Bastogne-Liége. I think it suits many of us better than the two first Ardennes Classic.

Michael Valgren:
Last year I won the U23-Liége-Bastogne-Liége, so I know that these kinds of races including Amstel Gold Race fits me and my strong sides as a rider. But it was a funny race today with a funny pace. It started out fairly fast in the first kilometers but then it slowed down a lot. We went super easy for many kilometers and the break had around 14 minutes at one point. And then some of the teams decided to increase the speed and we finished the second half of the race really fast with a ferocious pace. I was dropped and fell back to the second group. In the final round with 17 k’s to go many of the other riders not in front decided to drop out as we crossed the finish line area. But, for me, it was a big experience to ride my first WorldTour Ardennes Classic and I wanted to finish it. So I stopped for a second, thought about how nice a bath in the bus would be and then started pedaling again.

Karsten Kroon:
I love the Ardennes Classics and I have done Amstel around 12 or 13 times, so I usually have a good feeling about how the race will develop and how I will perform. And I feel strong these days, but once we left Maastricht and went into the countryside I could really feel my allergy and how it zapped much of my energy. My eyes were hurting and burning and I could feel that my breathing was affected. So now I’m hoping for a lot of rain in the next two races even though it sounds nuts. The rain removes all the pollen from the air resulting in a much stronger version of me.

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo/Bettiniphoto.

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